How do I spend a match with a touchline ban?

When I get a touchline ban as a manager, the players and staff become very tense (players generally like and prefer the manager to tell them things and not the assistants). The assistants move into the limelight, which many of them are not accustomed to, and as human beings they all react in different ways, but it often creates nerves.

For example, the assistants who normally watch the match sat down, suddenly find themselves standing up and shouting for the whole match. This is proof of what I said earlier, the tension takes over and, depending on the person, will often affect what happens in the match.

Restrictions for managers with bans

In recent years FIFA, UEFA, CONMEBOL (the South American Football Confederation) and each country’s federation have heightened the rules and restrictions for managers with touchline bans. I think in some countries they don’t even allow them to go to the stadium, which in my opinion is a bit over the top.

Here in Chile the rules are clear, and you must abide by them. They are pretty straightforward: the manager cannot enter the changing rooms and must not be in contact with the substitute bench, not even at half time, and obviously can’t give any type of instruction to the players during the match. I say this because you could still sit in the stands and shout directly to the players without speaking to the bench during the game, but you are not allowed to do this either.

My touchline ban against La Serena

For the last game, we arrived at the stadium and instead of going to the changing rooms I went straight to a box normally used by the radio commentators, which was small but comfortable. I was pretty bored for the first hour and a half. I couldn’t do anything, so time went pretty slowly. There was a TV in there so I could watch another match that was going on, I also spoke to my wife on the phone and that was about it.

Then when the match kicks off, everything changes and you can’t do everything you’d normally be doing, and although you trust your staff, it’s so difficult not being able to participate, help out and above all make decisions.

Thankfully we won, it wasn’t easy for us, and it wasn’t easy for me watching it from up in the stands. However, everything returns to normality and as always there is much to learn from every game. I must learn from this and make sure I don’t get another ban so that I can watch the match from my preferred position, on the touchline, making the big calls.