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Thread: Offences/penalties question

  1. #1
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    Default Offences/penalties question

    This week I was refereeing at an internal club end of season sabre competition. While I am primarily a foilist I am often asked to referee sabre within the club at training sessions and generally feel comfortable doing so.

    For whatever reason, one fencer seemed particularly worked up about the competition and expressed this by swearing throughout. As we are generally a pretty mild mannered club both I and our other referees felt a little out of their depth in dealing with the following incidents and I would like some opinions/clarification on what you would do in the following instances:

    1. Fencer swears loudly after a point is adjudged against him.

    2. After being warned by referee for swearing on piste, fencer responds with "F**k is not a swear word" and continues to swear loudly during the bout.

    3. Fencer arrives on piste before the start of the bout, looks at referee and says "I don't want to be refereed by a f**king foilist".

    Having looked over the penalties sheet my interpretation would be:

    1. Offence under 3.6 anti sporting behaviour, yellow card.

    2. Second offence under 3.6, black card.

    3. Offence under 4.5, offence against sportsmanship, black card.

    Would you agree with that interpretation?

    The next part of the question is that given this was an internal club competition would you issue a black card or would you deal with the offences differently?

    Many thanks for your responses. Hopefully it's not something that arises again at the club but I would. like to know where the line lies if it should.

  2. #2
    Paul Sibert Foilling Around's Avatar
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    Hi Goldilocks,

    The most appropriate punishment is probably a punch in the face. (kidding)

    Refereeing problems are legion in clubs. I don't know if you know this fencer, but I would suggest that this is unlikely to be one off, they are probably known for it.

    The formality of the Black Card system is likely to make it worse.

    Had that happened at UoN where I coach, I would have taken the fencer to one side and had a chat with them.

    The fact that you are posting and discussing black cards, makes me wonder whether you approached the refereeing in this situation in the right way. You refer to being warned by the referee which sounds very formal and can put people's backs up. My reaction to the first swearing would be "come on mate its only the club comp and I'm doing my best, just calm it down at bit".

    If that did not help then I would make it more formal

    If it becomes a big thing on the night, then you have to go through the committee or the AU.

    There needs to be an acceptance by both sides in an internal competition that things are not going to be perfect and both fencers and referee need to approach it in that vein.

    We had a number of cases where inexperienced referees officiated at out club comps this year. No-one fell out about it even though not all the decisions were perfect.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Foilling Around View Post

    The most appropriate punishment is probably a punch in the face. (kidding)

    If it becomes a big thing on the night, then you have to go through the committee or the AU.

    There needs to be an acceptance by both sides in an internal competition that things are not going to be perfect.
    Goldilocks no one has to put up with antisocial behaviour within a sport, especially when it's during an internal Club competition where it should have been a fun night for all.
    Someone from the Club committee should have dealt with this idiot, like FA said a quick quiet word first and if this advice was not taken to heart by the individual then I'm sure no one would have been particularly perturbed with his exclusion from the fun evening.

    But I like FA's first suggestion (obviously also kidding)

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    Sorry, should have clarified that not everything was directed at one person and also that a quiet word was had when it first started. Normally a "could you please stop swearing mate" is all that is needed. In this case however he seemed to outright refute that he was doing anything wrong and considered it the same as guys shouting incoherently either in celebration or frustration. That's why I asked firstly about the actual reading of the rules and secondly about what you would do in the internal situation.

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    In a club competition the dynamics are completely different than in a formal event, but the letter of the rules absolutely intends that a competitor reacting in such a way does not complete the competition.

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    Paul Sibert Foilling Around's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Goldilocks View Post
    Sorry, should have clarified that not everything was directed at one person and also that a quiet word was had when it first started. Normally a "could you please stop swearing mate" is all that is needed. In this case however he seemed to outright refute that he was doing anything wrong and considered it the same as guys shouting incoherently either in celebration or frustration. That's why I asked firstly about the actual reading of the rules and secondly about what you would do in the internal situation.
    If someone swears in frustration, especially at themselves then that is one thing. Not good, but I do it sometimes. If they swear as part of a sentence to you. "Are you f'ing kidding me" that is a next level. Then if they swear directly at you or about you is the most serious. And referring to you as an f'ing foillist is about you.

    First, you would would be perfectly within your rights to issue a black card. There is an implication that the competition is being run under BFA rules even though nothing was probably explicitly stated.

    Anything else is just advice because we don't know the people and personalities involved.

    If one of my UoN lot swore, were warned and then exploded again, they would leave the Salle there and then.

    And to clarify, my comment about accepting that things are not going to be perfect was meant to apply to the refereeing, not to the standard of behaviour. I always start my sabre refereeing by reminding them that I will always be fair, but I may not always be right!!
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    If it's an internal club competition then it's certainly not worth issuing any kind of formal repremand. The most you should do is just ask him to stop swearing if it bothers you that much.

    People swear on piste in frustration, it's not uncommon and you shouldn't take it to heart. The fact that you have done so shows inexperience in the sport and weak will.

    If the attitude gets to the stage where you are uncomfortable refereeing then just walk away. The person in question clearly doesn't want to be refereed by you and you don't want to put up with the swearing so just let them wait for another person to come along.

    As for talks of issuing a black card: I've literally never seen one given and to give one in an internal club competition for anything less than physical assault on the referee would be ridiculous.

    The upshot: If you don't feel comfortable reffereeing sabre then don't do it. If you do feel comfortable then just roll with the attititudes.

    Don't turn into a refereeing jobsworth (we all know them)!

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    Quote Originally Posted by FencingMove View Post
    As for talks of issuing a black card: I've literally never seen one given and to give one in an internal club competition for anything less than physical assault on the referee would be ridiculous.
    I think in an internal club comp, the coach should step in and do something if the fencer won't stop yelling/swearing.

    I have seen a black card issued at sabre, it's usually for petulant, dangerous throwing of equipment. I've also seen a number of occasions where they should have been issued but weren't. One of the biggest problem with self-refereed fencing is that there's far less likelihood that bad behaviour will be punished properly, and it becomes the norm to behave like this. No wonder we struggle to get referees if they're disrespected so frequently.

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    Senior Member ChrisHeaps's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FencingMove View Post
    The fact that you have done so shows inexperience in the sport and weak will.

    If the attitude gets to the stage where you are uncomfortable refereeing then just walk away.
    Uncalled for!

    The idiot swearing at people was trying to intimidate inexperienced referees and you suggest letting him get away with it?

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    At an internal competition, all it takes is for one of the senior fencers to take the guy aside and say, "Look, you're being a D!ck. Pack it in."

    End of problem.

    However Fencingmove's response is a bit more troubling.


    "If it's an internal club competition then it's certainly not worth issuing any kind of formal repremand."
    Agreed

    "The most you should do is just ask him to stop swearing if it bothers you that much."
    It may be bothering other people as well and should be stopped.

    "People swear on piste in frustration, it's not uncommon and you shouldn't take it to heart."
    Only because they're allowed to get away with it. Clamp down on it and it won't happen. Simple.

    "The fact that you have done so shows inexperience in the sport and weak will."
    Complete BS.

    "If the attitude gets to the stage where you are uncomfortable refereeing then just walk away. The person in question clearly doesn't want to be refereed by you and you don't want to put up with the swearing so just let them wait for another person to come along."
    This is identifying the referee as the problem. It isn't. It's the fencer in question. Deal with the problem.

    "As for talks of issuing a black card: I've literally never seen one given and to give one in an internal club competition for anything less than physical assault on the referee would be ridiculous."
    Agreed. At an internal competition a black card shouldn't be issued. One of the coaches, senior fencers, whoever organized the competition should (after he's been told to stop) go over and say, "Get out, and come back when you've learnt how to behave."

    "The upshot: If you don't feel comfortable reffereeing sabre then don't do it. If you do feel comfortable then just roll with the attititudes."
    You're an idiot.

    "Don't turn into a refereeing jobsworth (we all know them)!"
    You're an idiot
    JohnL

  11. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by JohnL View Post
    At an internal competition, all it takes is for one of the senior fencers to take the guy aside and say, "Look, you're being a D!ck. Pack it in."

    End of problem.

    However Fencingmove's response is a bit more troubling.


    "If it's an internal club competition then it's certainly not worth issuing any kind of formal repremand."
    Agreed

    "The most you should do is just ask him to stop swearing if it bothers you that much."
    It may be bothering other people as well and should be stopped.

    "People swear on piste in frustration, it's not uncommon and you shouldn't take it to heart."
    Only because they're allowed to get away with it. Clamp down on it and it won't happen. Simple.

    "The fact that you have done so shows inexperience in the sport and weak will."
    Complete BS.

    "If the attitude gets to the stage where you are uncomfortable refereeing then just walk away. The person in question clearly doesn't want to be refereed by you and you don't want to put up with the swearing so just let them wait for another person to come along."
    This is identifying the referee as the problem. It isn't. It's the fencer in question. Deal with the problem.

    "As for talks of issuing a black card: I've literally never seen one given and to give one in an internal club competition for anything less than physical assault on the referee would be ridiculous."
    Agreed. At an internal competition a black card shouldn't be issued. One of the coaches, senior fencers, whoever organized the competition should (after he's been told to stop) go over and say, "Get out, and come back when you've learnt how to behave."

    "The upshot: If you don't feel comfortable reffereeing sabre then don't do it. If you do feel comfortable then just roll with the attititudes."
    You're an idiot.

    "Don't turn into a refereeing jobsworth (we all know them)!"
    You're an idiot

    Ok, Ok some of my above comment may have been a little over the top. It's just the idea of someone carding a fencer for swearing at a club competition makes my blood boil. We all have nights when we are frustrated at ourselves and I just don't think that the club is the environment to respond to that with fromality.

    I agree in that I think the best way to approach this kind of thing is to have a quiet word or frankly for the other clubmates just to tell the guy he is being a bit of a nob.

    My back is just up that someone has spent their free time researching how many cards they can give out for it rather than settling the problem in the proper way.

    At my club certainly, if you repremanded everyone who shouted and swore of an evening you would have nobody left to fence with.

    I don't necessarily think that emotion needs to be cleared out of training sessions. Certainly swearing and throwing a tantrum on the piste needs to be clamped down on but at training it's inevitable that people will have outbursts of emotion. The key is to deal with it in the right way not to figure out a way you can ban them from the competition.

    I have had many occasions to apologise for outbursts on piste. Usually it's in the heat of the moment in a highly competitive bout and after the adrenaline has settled down people come to their senses and do the decent thing.

    I hope this has cleared things up.

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    Quote Originally Posted by FencingMove View Post
    My back is just up that someone has spent their free time researching how many cards they can give out for it rather than settling the problem in the proper way.

    At my club certainly, if you repremanded everyone who shouted and swore of an evening you would have nobody left to fence with.
    1) This is not what happened.
    2) I'm glad that I'm not at your club.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sabeares View Post
    1) This is not what happened.
    2) I'm glad that I'm not at your club.
    Me too.

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    Senior Member max's Avatar
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    In my opinion, you clamp down on this type of behaviour at your club and then they won't embarrass you at competitions.
    A problem shared is one more person to laugh at you.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Goldilocks View Post
    Fencer arrives on piste before the start of the bout, looks at referee and says "I don't want to be refereed by a f**king foilist".
    Could have been worse ... Could have been a f**king epeeist (kidding)

    I agree that you want to snuff out this kind of behavior as soon as possible. In 2010 Tomasso Lari of Italy would have just won a Silver medal at the World Junior Championships...Except after the match, he swore at the referee. He was black carded, stripped of his World Championship medal, which was given to the 3rd placed fencer with the higher seeding and there was a single bronze medallist. Bet his coach was happy with him.

    Agree with what others have said, that in a club setting, you just need a coach or someone respected to have a word with him.
    Savvy!

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    Senior Member kalivor's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Goldilocks View Post
    Having looked over the penalties sheet my interpretation would be:

    1. Offence under 3.6 anti sporting behaviour, yellow card.

    2. Second offence under 3.6, black card.

    3. Offence under 4.5, offence against sportsmanship, black card.

    Would you agree with that interpretation?

    The next part of the question is that given this was an internal club competition would you issue a black card or would you deal with the offences differently?
    In a formal competition environment, the referee has a few options:
    * A quiet word to defuse the situation
    * Apply 3.6 - anti-sporting behaviour (Yellow-Black)
    * Apply 3.1 - disturbing order (Red-Black)
    * Apply 4.5 - offence against sportsmanship (Black)

    Typically, I'd not card for #1. It usually just takes a word - if it's a group of adults, people probably aren't much bothered by a single outburst, and typically this is self-directed anger or disappointment, and not meant as an attempt to be discourteous or disruptive. Though I appreciate that this particular scenario may be different.

    Still, as a fencer in situation #1, I wouldn't be surprised by a yellow or red card. I've received them before, and it's amazing what it does for your self control.

    I'd consider #2 to be clearly disturbing order (Group 3 Red), and #3 is clearly an offense against sportsmanship and immediate black card. (Probably accompanied by the words "good news!")

    In an internal club tournament, of course, it's a different story - club rules and norms apply to things like swearing and sportsmanship. If somebody is playing outside those boundaries, and refuse to cooperate, the coach/club leadership need to step in.

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