Case Study: The Coach’s Bill of Rights

The ridiculous display by Arsene Wenger and Jose Mourinho brings to mind the role and “rights” of managers – and more broadly – team officials – within the Laws of the Game.

Neither of the words “coach” or “team official” appear in the Laws of the Game proper.  This gives us a clear indication of how the IFAB view the the role of team officials.

It is only within the “Interpretations of the Laws of the Game and Guideline for Referees” that we find any reference to team officials, and then there are only three.

The USSF Publication “Advice to Referees” mentions coaches on a total of 4 pages.

Beyond being “fun facts”, these statistics tell us that the framers of the Laws believe coaches have a very limited role within the game and its administration.

I’ve taken the liberty of assembling these references into a Coach’s Bill of Rights.  I hope you find this helpful in remembering the role of team officials and your management of them during the course of a match.

Of course, referees are obligated to deal with coaches in a respectful and professional manner at all times, including and especially when coaches fail to behave in a responsible manner.

The Coach’s Bill of Rights

  1. Coaches have the right to provide tactical advice to their [own] players, including positive remarks and encouragement
  2. Coaches have the right to remain in their technical area at all times, except when given permission by the referee to enter the field of play to assist an injured player
  3. Coaches have the right to behave in a responsible manner at all times
  4. Coaches have the right to leave the field and its immediate environment if dismissed by the referee
  5. At lower levels of play, the home coach has the right to ensure that the referee’s requirements for a safe playing field are met

Believe it or not, this list incorporates all of the relevant references to coaches or team officials within the LOTG and supporting documentation.

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