A football term that refers a penalty incurred when a player makes intentional and aggressive physical contact with a referee before, after or during a play.
The penalty for striking an official is fifteen yards and the
player responsible is typically ejected from the game. While the
penalty indicates that striking (hitting) or pushing an official
will incur the penalty, any aggressive physical contact by a player
with a referee is often grounds for the penalty being called. Like
certain penalties such as unsportsmanlike conduct, judgment with
regards to the penalty is the domain of the umpiring crew.
The penalty exists as a necessary protection for referees who are often caught in the middle of plays or in close proximity to players following a potentially controversial call.