Buffer: something or someone that helps protect from harm
”The fourth official acts as a buffer for the referee.”
Lenient: not as severe or strong in punishment or judgment as would be expected
”The referee was lenient towards Jurgen Klopp.”
Berate: to criticize or speak in an angry manner to someone
”If you berate the 4th official, you run the risk of getting a red card.”
'It's 90 minutes of hell': How it really feels to be a fourth official - The Athletic
Abused by managers, manipulated by coaches - why being a fourth official is one of the worst jobs in football...