I'd like to hear opinions on this scenario.
U-9 USYSA game. Visitor's coach has the player passes but is late getting to the game. The ref starts the game anyway. When visiting coach arrives, within the grace period, he sees what is happening and pulls his team off the field. After some discussion, the coaches agree to restart the game, but the ref refuses.
What is your opinion of:
A. The home team coach's actions
B. The visiting team coach's actions
C. The ref's actions.
Now, what do you think the final result should be, and why?
The referee never should have started the game. Never. Every fact sheet I've seen and at every recert class it's been made crystal clear "NO PASS, NO PLAY, NO EXCEPTION".
That being said, the visiting coach who was late probably didn't want to risk liability of some sort (too many lawyers floating around, y'know) and I understand, since there's no game and perhaps he had a personal liability fear. His assistant, or whomever it was that allowed his team to take the field, was very wrong as well and was hoping to pull a fast one. What would have happened if the coach got a flat tire and never showed up at all? Then what?
I didn't see a reason to comment at all about the home coach, other than he should not have allowed his team to take the field. They were within the grace period, so they could not have said "no game" and decided to have a non-league friendly (without the assigned referee, who is not supposed to be involved with that).
The referee is to blame here for not waiting at least until the grace period expired before doing anything. If he had doubts, he should have called his assignor for guidance.
This sounds like a bad situation that each party could have done something to avoid. Let's hope they all learn from it and we never hear about anything like this again.
I agree that, if the passes are required by the league authority, then the match shouldn't begin until the passes have been verified.
In our State, the rule was (may have changed) that if a player was missing his pass, he didn't play; but if the entire team had no passes, then the match could be played and the Referee was to report the issue to the league. Recreational leagues exist for player enjoyment, and rankings take a back seat.
Once the match begins, if a team leaves the field and refuses to resume play in a reasonable period, then the Referee declares it to be an Abandoned Match. According to ATR 5.12, the match is to be replayed unless the competition rules state otherwise.
You asked for comment on 3 individuals.
A. Home team coach. I see no error here on his part. His worst sin, if any, is in agreeing to restart the match IF it had been declared Abandoned. Since this IS NOT a forfeit situation, he is not giving up a win by agreeing to let the kids play.
B. Visiting team coach. Virtually all error lies here. Don't be late, and don't pull the team from the field during a game.
Honestly, I didn't understand the reason from the scenario as to why he would pull his team in the first place. "what is happening" is a soccer game. Why is that a problem? I don't see a liability issue.
C. Referee. If the rule required passes, he should not have started the match without them. He should have waited the prescribed waiting period.
If he has declared the match Abandoned, then he is correct in not restarting it. The match is now in the hands of the League, not his. The role of the Referee whose has declared an Abandoned Match is to write a full report, not go back and try to un-abandon the match.
If the Referee has NOT abandoned the match, and the players are willing to resume play, that should have happened. To be clear, restarting the match from the beginning is not an option.
In either case, I would probably have issued a caution to the Team Captain for leaving the field without permission. At U-9 I would not have added a 2nd Caution for Dissent if the Captain refused to bring his team back on. The Visiting coach does need the equivalent of a Caution, including a report on his behavior.
The outcome of an Abandioned Match is determined by replaying the match in its entirety, with date and place determined by the league.