Negative Behaviour Guidelines

The Townsville Touch Referees Association Inc, in partnership with Townsville Touch Football, have implemented the following guidelines for referees dealing with negative behaviour directed towards them or their decision from players and Team Officials (coaches, managers, etc.).

Referees must ensure that they adhere to these guidelines and remain consistent in their application.

For queries regarding these guidelines, or dealing with negative behaviour, please contact the TTRA via email - - or in person on game day.

Guidelines for Dealing with Negative Behaviour Towards Referees

EffectiveImmediately from 15 June 2023
ApprovedTownsville Touch Football & Townsville Touch Referees Association
Next Review1 January 2023
ReleaseMemorandum, 15/06/2023
AttachmentsAn Open Letter to our Touch Football Community 
  1. “Negative behaviour towards referees” includes (but is not limited to) the following:
    • Arguing, or repeatedly disagreeing with referee decisions.
    • Abusing or yelling at referees in any way, particularly from the interchange area.
    • Calling for, demanding, or attempting to influence a decision (i.e. calling for penalties, etc.).
    • Swearing or condescending language/remarks/actions directed towards or about referees and/or their decisions.
  2. When conducting the pre-match meeting with captains, referees should pre-warn captains of the stronger stance now being taken on negative behaviour towards referees from players and officials and remind them that in-game warnings will not be given before consequences are issued.
    1. Captains should also be reminded that they are responsible for the conduct of their players and all Team Officials present, and that (as Captain) they may be the person who receives a consequence on behalf of their team.
  3. During a match, negative behaviour that is directed towards a referee by a player or Team Official is to be dealt with immediately, and no prior warning will be required.
  4. The first instance should result in a Penalty (at a minimum) being awarded against the offending team unless the offense is deemed by the referee to be severe enough to warrant further action.
  5. For repeated incidents, or if an incident is severe enough to warrant it, a more severe consequence from the Escalation Pathway should be utilised instead (or alongside) a Penalty, as appropriate.
  6. The Escalation Pathway remains the same:
    1. Penalty (minimum)
    2. Penalty + Forced Interchange (if the offense is by a player on the field)
    3. Penalty + Sin-Bin
    4. Penalty + Dismissal
  7. Repeated offenses of negative behaviour towards a referee by the same team should result in the consequence being escalated to at least the next step.

    Example:         If TEAM A has already been penalised for disputing a referee’s decision, and later in the same match a different player from TEAM A makes a condescending remark about a referee or decision, the second player should (at a minimum) be sent for a Forced Interchange.

    For clarity, if this situation was to occur and then followed later by an offense from TEAM B (the opposing team), the offending person should only be penalised, unless the offense is severe enough to warrant further action. This is because this person is the first in TEAM B to offend.
  8. Where a Team Official (coach, manager, etc.) displays negative behaviour towards a referee, the following options are available to referees:
    1. Penalty (minimum)
    2. Penalty + Captain sent for a Forced Interchange
    3. Penalty + Captain sent to the Sin-Bin
    4. Penalty + Dismiss the offending Team Official from the match
  9. Where a referee in unable to determine which player or Team Official caused the offense, the consequence can instead be imposed onto the Captain of the offending team.
  10. Where an Off-Field Referee becomes aware of negative behaviour displayed by a player or Team Official, either on the field or in the Interchange Area, they should verbally inform the On-Field Referee as soon as possible so that the offense can be dealt with.
    1. Naturally, a reasonable display of frustration can be permitted, however if at any time the referee feels that the behaviour or action is: inappropriate, contrary to the playing rules, or directed in a negative manner towards a referee; then the referee should take appropriate action.
    2. Instances where a referee should take action include where a player or Team Official is heard loudly using foul language, etc.
  11. For avoidance of doubt, where a Penalty cannot be awarded because an offense occurs after a Try is scored but before play is restarted, or the offence occurs during the half-time break, the offending player or Team Official shall still be liable to further action if the offence is deemed to be severe enough by the referee.
  12. Referees should report repeated incidents of negative behaviour so that teams or individuals can have their behaviour be monitored or dealt with. The report can be made online via, or in person to one of the TTRA’s Management Committee.