Referee Assault: Time to Take Abuse Against Sports Officials Seriously

Some parts of our sports crazed society think that when a person puts on that referee shirt or umpire gear that somehow the rules of civility vanish because the referee is "fair game." Tragically, referees have actually been killed in the United States recently. Part of the problem, no doubt, is the lack of respect for referees shown by many professional soccer players in the United States. (Just watch any Major League Soccer game.)

That shouldn't be the case and it is a shame when we see adults engaged in abusive and sometime criminal conduct against a sports official.

When a referee is physically assaulted or has his property (i.e. his car) damaged, two distinct legal actions arise:

  1. The defendant has commited a crime. If reported to the police, the incident will result in an arrest, a mug shot and a trial date. The defendant faces penalties, including jail time. This action is brought on behalf of the state against the defendant. A local prosecutor will handle the trial. A judge may order reimbursement of medical bills after a criminal trial.
  2. A civil action. When one person physically assaults another, he may be obligated to pay money damages, including damages for bills, pain and suffering, disfigurement, loss of wages and punitive damages.

Our office represents Virginia referees and umpires who are assaulted during the course of their work as a sports official. Ben Glass is a United States Soccer Federation certified referee and first took up the whistle over 40 years ago!

BenGlassLaw has represented many local referees in civil claims against players, coaches and spectators. When representing referees our team, led by Mr. Glass, will not only pursue very aggressive legal tacticts, but we will also unleash a publicity campaign designed to raise public awareness about referee assault and work to ensure that all local leagues know of the incident and the assailant so that future assaults will be reduced.

If you have been assaulted while refereeing, you can contact our office for a free consultation at (703)584-7277.

Additionally, if you have video of any referee assault or act of intimidation, we'd love to help you make it go viral. The referees on your local fields will thank you.