2004 Part 4

Your question:
Upon reading one of your answers in the “Past Questions” section I am prompted to ask the following: Do the administrators of a (youth) tournament have the ability to change their competion rules to allow the referee to display disciplinary cards to non-players (especially coaches)?I have become an advocate of displaying the cards when a coach is disciplined so as to demonstrate to all the others in attendance that the discipline has been applied. Federation rules allow this and we have found it to be effective in communicating the fact of the discipline to the other coaches (who usually know, already), the players and substitutes, the opposing side (coaches, players, subs) and – most importantly – the spectators.

So, if a USSF-sanctioned tournament has this leeway I would appreciate hearing about it. I would suggest to the administrators for whom I work as Assignor to consider implementing such a rule. I would word is something as follows: “Should the referee determine that disciplinary action is to be taken against a non-player, the referee may, at his/her discretion, elect to display the appropriately colored card if, in the opinion of the referee, such a display will serve the interest of the match in terms of man-management, spectator control, or any other beneficial aspect of the game.”

OK – I guess it’s a two-part questionŠ
If this modification is permitted, would you be in favor of or opposed to such a rule?

USSF answer (January 3, 2005):
Under the Laws of the Game, cards may be displayed only to players and named substitutes and players who have been replaced, and not to any non-players. Unfortunately, some competitions have seen fit to include the possibility of showing the card to non-players (coaches or assistants or managers, etc.).

Our personal opinion is that the practice of showing the card to non-players is non-productive and leads to confusion when referees work in other competitions. This emphasizes the necessity for officials to be fully aware of the rules of every competition in which they work‹and to remember that they need not work for any competition whose rules are contrary to the Laws of the Game.

One wonders how the display of a colored card to a coach or spectator would be any more effective in managing that person’s behavior than the other tricks in the referee’s tool kit. We have inspected the cards closely‹they have no magic in them beyond the referee’s own skills and talents, which can be exercised very well without them. After all, the cards themselves are a fairly recent phenomenon and were intended primarily to be used in situations where players did not speak the same language as the referee.

Your question:
As a new ref, I want to know who tosses the coin. Referees have explained to me that it is the visiting team, and other referees have said it is the home team. This isn¹t the type of advice that helps a newbie. Can you clarify?

USSF answer (December 29, 2004):
The only thing the Laws tell us is that a coin is tossed. Traditionally, the referee conducts the toss and does the actual toss of the coin. Again traditionally, the referee allows the visiting team to call the toss, but there is nothing written in stone (or any other substance) on this matter.

Given the silliness that can occur, even before a game, it is a brave (or foolish) referee who allows the players to even handle the coin.

Your question:
The flagpost [corner type], commonly called the corner flag, are placed “at each corner” of the field. I believe and always understood that that these flagpost(s) are NOT on the field of play, but just touching the outer edge at the intersection of the touch line and the goal line.

Question: Are the corner flagposts of a soccer field on the field of play?

USSF answer (December 22, 2004):
Yes, and they are regarded as a part of the field of play. If the ball hits one of the corner posts and remains on the field, it is still in play.

Your question:
On December 3, 2004 you gave this answer as to what “national tournaments” are: “These would be the National Championships of an organization, such as the finals for the US Youth Soccer Championships (formerly the Snickers Cup) or the USASA National Cup Finals. It also would include the final championships of the Super Y League and US Club Soccer. Such games are assigned at the national level, not locally.”

1. This brings back a question I had when I was assigned to the Y League Finals. Many of the local refs dropped at the last minute because of rescheduling in their men’s league. The assignors sent out an e-mail to all reminding everyone of the above priority policy. Only the U-17s played 90s. Does the priority apply to the younger ages?

2. In general, when are you released from an availability you gave a tournament/league? Ex: If they haven’t told you they’ll be using you within 72 hours of when the matches are and another assignor calls you can you take those games with no more obligation to the first assignor?

3. On a drop kick/punt by the keeper: After the keeper releases it from their hands, but before they kick it, a forward who was not previously preventing them from releasing the ball jumps in front of them and blocks it. Is there an offense?

USSF answer (December 21, 2004):
1. The policy says 90-minute matches, so that would not apply to the younger age groups, but then you would not need the same level of referee for the younger age groups so you should have more available. The assignment priority policy is to protect referees from being disciplined if they turn back a game to take one of the listed matches.

2. You may work for whomever you want as an independent contractor. If your availability changes before you have received an assignment from a particular assignor when you have told them you are available, you should immediately notify that assignor that you are no longer available on that day. Your plans could change in a number of ways after you have turned in availability, so you are always free to say that you cannot accept an assignment; however, common courtesy would dictate that if you accept an assignment for a free weekend, then you notify any other assignors that you are no longer available for those dates.

3. No, provided that the ball has hit the ground and the opponent plays the ball and not the goalkeeper.

Your question:
This situation arose in a tournament match: Team A is trailing by one goal late in the match. In an effort to push forward and equalize, Team A substitutes a field player for the goalkeeper. The field player is not dressed as a goalkeeper but as a field player, and the referee team does not catch it. Forty seconds later, Team A equalizes, with the improperly attired goalkeeper on the field. The improperly attired goalkeeper did not touch the ball at any time. The referee realizes the error prior to the kickoff. Does the goal count?
I am assuming that the improperly attired goalkeeper is to be cautioned and that the restart would be a goalkick for Team A’s opponents.

USSF answer (December 16, 2004):
We are a bit confused, but willing to proceed. Let’s take it in order: Do you mean that (1) a player already on the field has exchanged positions with the goalkeeper, or that (2) the team has inserted a new player, dressed like the other field players and removed the goalkeeper altogether, without the permission of the referee? Or do you really and truly mean that (3) the refereeing team was so “unobservant” that they allowed a substitution to take place, but did not realize that the new player entering the game, not wearing the appropriate uniform, was replacing the goalkeeper? And please tell us, if the referee and assistant referees missed the lack of appropriate uniform, how would they know which was the new goalkeeper??

(1) If it was simply a swap of positions, then the correct action is to wait until the next stoppage and caution both players for unsporting behavior. The goal is scored and the restart is a kick-off.

(2) If a new “player” has entered as goalkeeper and the original goalkeeper has left the field (both without permission of the referee), we have a different kettle of fish: Caution and yellow card to the new “goalkeeper” for entering the field without the referee’s permission. Caution and yellow card to the goalkeeper for leaving the field without the referee’s permission. No goal. Restart with a goal kick.

(3) If it was a true substitution in which the goalkeeper left the field and someone came on without the distinctive jersey, then there was no one on the field designated as a keeper. In this case, despite the fact that it was the referee’s fault, because Team A was not playing with a goalkeeper they have been playing in violation of Law 3 and no goal can be scored. The player must be cautioned and shown the yellow card for unsporting behavior and the game restarted with a goal kick.

Your question:
This fall I have seen many goals at almost every field that were made by the local cities and counties—by welding together pipes ——-replaced—-on every field that I refereed at.

Has there been any legal directives sent out by the States to make sure all recreation goal equipment that is not manufactured by a certified manufacturer be immediately replaced by one that is?

At the high school fields, this is no issue.. when you inspect the goals you can see the tags of the manufacturer— and all are well made.

Have any lawyers across the country made some killings on settlements against towns where injuries have occured to players that were involved in collisions with goal posts that were not made by recognized manufacturers of sporting goods equipment?

Just want to know if you came across if the USSF has any comments on this?

USSF answer (December 9, 2004):
We are not aware of any special directives sent out by the various state associations, by U. S. Soccer, or by the IFAB/FIFA regarding goals, other than the normal requirement of Law 1 that the goals, the field, and all equipment and appurtenances be safe.

Your question:
Is it permitted for a referee to wear a neat, solid black unadorned baseball cap while officiating a USSF match, in addition to the approved uniform? From what I can tell, there is nothing in the Laws of the Game, or the Referee Administrative Handbook that specifically prohibits me from wearing one, but also nothing that specifcally allows it either. I wear prescription glasses when I officiate, and when rain occurs, this gives me problems because of water on the lenses making it very difficult to see. The ball cap helps mitigate this problem.

USSF answer (December 8, 2004):
The USSF policy on sunglasses (and hats) was last published in the October 1999 issue of Fair Play, our referee magazine:
Q. May referees wear caps and sunglasses?
A. With regard to caps, the policy of the United States Soccer Federation was stated in the Spring 1994 issue of Fair Play magazine: “Under normal circumstances, it is not acceptable for a game official to wear headgear, and it would never be seen on a high level regional, national or international competition. However, there may be rare circumstances in local competitions where head protection or sun visors might sensibly be tolerated for the good of the game, e.g. early morning or late afternoon games with sun in the officials’ line of sight causing vision difficulties; understaffed situations where an official with sensitive skin might be pressed into service for multiple games under strong sunlight or a referee who wears glasses needing shielding from rain.” Sunglasses would be subject to the same considerations. In addition, we ask referees to remember that sunglasses have the unfortunate side effect of suggesting that the referee or assistant referee is severely visually impaired and should not be working the game. They also limit communication between the officials and the players by providing a barrier against eye-to-eye contact. Sunglasses, if worn, should be removed prior to any verbal communication with players.

This policy has not changed.

Your question:
Why do we have optional halfway line flagposts?

USSF answer (December 6, 2004):
The optional halfway line flagposts are a relic of the dim, distant past when there were no lines on the field and the teams needed guidance to orient themselves.

Your question:
I just attended a re-certification course in [my state] yesterday. When they came to the kicks from the penalty mark review, I just thought of a situation that may occur after the two teams just completed a very aggressive and what may call a “dirty” game.

As the players that were on the pitch when the 2nd extra time ended… all come into the center circle to get ready to take the kicks.. several players say some choice words..and then an all out fight breaks out. The substitutes for each team all come off the benches to join the fight…

The only thing I see the Ref and the AR’s can go is write down the numbers of the players involved…and if someone has a cell phone to call 911 for assistance.

When things get settled down.. the AR’s and Referee compare their notes… I would RED card all players who threw punches.. that were in the center circle when play ended… as of the substitutes who came off the bench.. I would give RED cards to those who made physical contact with the opponents and Yellow cards to those who just came onto the field without permission.

Then, if say there are only 4 players on each side that could qualify to take the kicks… does the rule of at least 7 apply? …and thus the taking of the kicks are abandoned.

Your comments on this please..and how you would approach it.

USSF answer (December 6, 2004):
We cannot speak to how the individual referee should deal with the various players (and substitutes who enter the field), as that is strictly a matter of judgment. The correct decision would be based on the actions of the players and the substitutes. (A full report of whatever measures the referee takes in this situation must be included in the match report, whether it is match termination or not.)

As we all know, the usual requirement for a game to continue is at least seven players on the field (or, at the end of regulation time, off the field for treatment or equipment repair). However, this requirement has no bearing on the number of players for kicks from the penalty mark, as that process is not part of the regular game. A team may continue kicks from the penalty mark with as few as one player remaining on the field.

This is documented in the IFAB/FIFA Questions and Answers on the Laws of the Game (2004) under Law 14, Q&A L:
L) During the taking of kicks from the penalty mark, a team has fewer than seven players. Should the referee abandon the kicks from the penalty mark?
No. Kicks from the penalty mark are not part of the match

Your question:
I have a questions concerning a definition in the Referee Administrative Handbook. Page 39 indicates the priority for assignments. Number 10 is National Tournaments (Adult and Youth matches – must be 90 min. in length). The question is to be a National Tournament is it assigned locally or by the National Office?

USSF answer (December 3, 2004):
These would be the National Championships of an organization, such as the finals for the US Youth Soccer Championships (formerly the Snickers Cup) or the USASA National Cup Finals. It also would include the final championships of the Super Y League and US Club Soccer. Such games are assigned at the national level, not locally.

Your question:
Is there EVER an occasion when it is permissable for an UNCERTIFIED individual to be placed on the field as a center or AR (for any age group in any play situation),  wearing an official referee uniform and a current referee badge? If so, under what circumstances and if not, what are the consequences to the assignor and/or individual misrepresenting his qualifications?

If this is in fact an offense, what are the consequences to the individual loaning his “badge” out to anyone knowing they are not certified?

Is it ever permissable to “loan” your badge to anyone after being told “mine was stolen, damaged, cannot find it – can I borrow yours”. Is their any responsibility to the individual legitimately holding a current badge to verify such comment?

Is there ever a situation where an UNCERTIFIED individual can work as a center or AR during ANY play situation wearing an official uniform without displaying a badge?

What are the requirements to CERTIFIED referees (any class) to safe guard their badge?

These questions are a little redundant, but wanted to make sure I covered all possible scenarios.

USSF answer (November 29, 2004):
No, an unregistered referee may not wear the U. S. Soccer Federation referee badge. The referee who “lends” such a person a badge is not doing anyone a favor, but is participating in fraud.

According to  Section 1 of US Soccer Policy 531-8, Assignment of Game Officials (Former Rule 3040), unregistered persons are not permitted to officiate games played under the aegis of US Soccer.
“Section 1. Registration Required Prior to Assignment
“No one shall officiate as a referee or assistant referee in any match under the sanction or jurisdiction (direct or indirect) of the United States Soccer Federation who is not registered with the Federation for the current year unless that person is a visiting foreign referee who has been properly accredited by his or her national association.”

However, according to Section 2 of Policy 531-8,
“Section 2. Unregistered Referee in Emergency
“If, because of unforeseen circumstances, a currently registered referee is unable to officiate or does not appear for an assigned match, a person may then be designated at match time to act as referee in the emergency for that one match.”

No referee should ever loan the referee badge or uniform to an unauthorized person to wear in a game. This would be a violation of Item 12 of the Referee Code of Ethics:
“I consider it a privilege to be a part of the United States Soccer Federation and my actions will reflect credit upon that organization and its affiliates.”

Your question:
Are there any sources where I can learn what is pushing and what is not pushing from a foul perspective and when the interpretation according to an official is the determining factor?

I coach in a recreational U10 & U12 age group and of course the exact technical method of a legal charge and when it is excessive is a cause for great contention among officials, coaches, players and parents/spectators.  The issue gets more complex when you add the natural tendencies of players to protect or defend themselves or in an attempt to retain/gain possession of the ball.

I am specifically looking for:
A) the definition of a legal/illegal shoulder charge
B) the extent the arms may or may not be used
C) relative to pre-contact, contact and post-contact.

A couple of common examples would be:
A player has possession of the ball and is in movement down the field and notes a defender closing down.
1) Both players make legal shoulder contact (not with excessive violence); both players near side arms are not involved. At some point after legal shoulder contact one player lifts their arm bent 90 degrees at the elbow pushing/lifting/moving the other player away.  The defender or original attacker may or may not retain/gain possession of the ball after the arm movement.  I am interested in both situations.
2) Prior to legal shoulder charge contact the attacker notes the defender closing down and plays the ball to an outside foot to retain possession and assumes a wider stance while lifting the arms bent 90 degrees at the elbow. The defender makes contact, the attacker does not extend the forearm or hands but maintains the elbows out.
3) Same situation as #2, but after the defender makes contact with the attacker¹s arms/bodyŠthe defender lifts their arms in the same manner, but under the attackers arms causing the attacker to lose balance.
4) Two players going after a 50/50 ball make legal shoulder contact and fight for position to gain the ballŠ.in the struggle their near side arms are used to gain an advantage in front of the other player.  How much latitude should be allowed or is it mainly the official¹s interpretation of natural movement vs trying to gain an advantage, guessing at the intent, etcŠto determine if a foul has occurred?

There are of course endless possibilities of combinations.

I can not seem to find clear definitions of what is permitted or not and/or guidelines used to determine a foul, or the extent contact is allowed for age specific groups. (i.e. rec vs select vs high school, college, professional) Any guidelines or example references would be greatly appreciated. I try to start each season by giving examples of what a foul is or is notŠalong with a little Œconduct¹ talk for the parents. But in this caseŠI am not EXACTLY sure on how to interpret the gray areas related to the use of the arms when the intent of the player may not be obvious.

USSF answer (November 28, 2004):
It is a pleasure to hear from a coach who wants his players to play the game correctly. We join with you in hoping that the referees call the game correctly. These guidelines are what referees are taught to call, but some of us become lazy or complacent as we move along in life, and we tend to think we know it all and don’t have to review.

A) There is no other sort of charge than a “shoulder charge”; no hips, no hands, no holds or pushes. A fair charge is shoulder to shoulder, elbows (on the contact side) against the body, with each player having at least one foot on the ground and both attempting to gain control of the ball. The amount of force allowed is relative to the age and experience of the players, but should never be excessive. This is as defined by the referee on the game, not some book definition, adjusted as necessary for the age and experience of the players and what has happened or is happening in this particular game on this particular day at this particular moment. It all boils down to what is best for the referee’s management and the players’ full enjoyment of the game.

Although often overlooked by spectators, it is important to remember that a player’s natural endowments (speed, strength, height, heft, etc.) may be superior to that of the opponent who is competing with that player for the ball. As a completely natural result, the opponent may not only be bested in the challenge but may in fact wind up on the ground‹with no foul having been committed. The mere fact that a player fails in a challenge and falls or is knocked down is what the game is all about (and why coaches must choose carefully in determining which player marks which opponent). Referees do not handicap players by saddling them with artificial responsibilities to be easy on an opponent simply because they are better physically endowed in some way.

Fair charges include actions which do not strictly meet the “shoulder-to-shoulder” requirement when this is not possible because of disparities in height or body type (a common occurrence in youth matches in the early teenage range where growth spurts differ greatly on an individual level within the age group). Additionally, a fair charge can be directed toward the back of the shoulder if the opponent is shielding the ball, provided it is not done dangerously and never to the spinal area.

B) The arms may not be used at all, other than for balance‹which does not include pushing off or holding the opponent.

C) There is no change prior to, during, or after contact.

You should be able to determine the answers to subquestions 1)-3) from the information above.

Your question:
A free kick has been awarded either direct or indirect. The kicking team asks the referee to enforce the ” ten yard rule.” Does the kicking team then have to wait for a whistle to take the kick?

USSF answer (November 24, 2004):
Yes, the team must wait for the whistle or whatever other signal the referee has instructed them to expect. They have asked the referee for a “ceremonial” free kick, and so must put up with the entire ritual.

Your question:
If a shot on goal deflects off the keeper’s hands to an opponent in an offside position, the flag should go up. But if the keeper bobbles the ball, or makes the save and then bobbles the ball, and the player in the offside position pounces on it, is this a new play (no flag) or a continuation of the shot-on-goal play (flag goes up)?

USSF answer (November 20, 2004):
You are correct in your first statement. However, if the ‘keeper bobbles the ball, he or she has not established control or possession and the player in the offside position who becomes actively involved should be called offside. If the ‘keeper establishes possession and then bobbles the ball, there is no offside. It is a matter of timing and degree, and the intelligent referee (or assistant referee) will be able to figure it out.

Your question:
I addressed the subject question you answered in the Update of February 3, 2004. Specifically, I asked whether it was an offense for a player to grab a goal post to gain a tactical advantage. Your answer, in part, was, “As long as the defender does not use the goal post to support himself or keep his arm on it to bar an opponent from getting through, there is no offense.”

At our Soccer Referee Association meeting last night, the following game situation was posed and discussed:  A corner kick is taken. A defender grabs the goal post and uses it to vault himself up to head the ball away. The defender successfully heads the ball away which otherwise would have entered the upper corner of the goal. The defender does not move the goal itself, does not interfere with an attacker in front of the goal, and does not otherwise commit an offense.

In discussing this game situation, I brought up the Ask a Referee Q & A which I cited above in stating that I believed that the defender’s action constituted misconduct (USB) and should be cautioned and the game restarted with an IFK for the attacking team.

However, another member thought that if the ball was, in the referee’s judgment, headed into the goal but for the defender heading it away, that such conduct constituted a Sending-Off Offense (denying an obvious goal scoring opportunity to an opponent moving toward the goal by committing an offense punishable by a free kick or penalty kick) and that the defender should be sent off and a penalty kick awarded.

As to this opinion, two of the three elements of this Sending-Off Offense apparently have been satisfied in that there was an obvious goal scoring opportunity and the commission of an offense punishable by a free kick.

However, the issue is whether or not the element of this Sending-Off Offense requiring that an obvious goal scoring opportunity be denied _to an opponent moving toward the goal_ has been met. In other words, can the attacker taking the corner kick be considered as “moving toward the goal?” As a related question, in terms of the analysis of this element of this Sending-Off Offense, in identifying the attacker moving toward the goal, must it be the attacker who last touched the ball prior to the offense?

USSF answer (November 20, 2004):
A very interesting question and a point we had not considered before. Thank you for this opportunity.

On the one hand, the Law requires that the opponent, not the ball, be moving toward the goal for there to have been a denial of a goal or an obvious goalscoring opportunity through an offense punishable by a free kick or a penalty kick. Therefore, despite the fact that the defender committed unsporting behavior by using the goal post as an artificial support, which is an offense punishable by a free kick, the defender has not denied the opposing kicker a goal or an obvious goalscoring opportunity within the meaning of the Law through this unsporting act.

On the other hand, the Law does not require that the player denied the goal or goalscoring opportunity must have been the last to play the ball, nor that any player on that team have been the last to play the ball. In this case, if the defender had to raise himself high enough to head the ball away through the use of the goal post, it is unlikely that an opponent might have raised himself high enough without that aid to play the ball.

The decision in cases like this must rest with the referee on the spot, as only that referee can judge whether conditions were correct.

Your question:
Defense plays ball back to goalie, goalie picks up ball,this is an indirect because it is inside 18. The ball is closer to the goal than 10 yd. Where could the defenders stand?

USSF answer (November 11, 2004):
No nearer to the ball than the nearest spot on the goal line, between the goal posts, yet still on the field.

Your question:
I have two questions:
1.A defender plays the ball deliberately with their foot from their own penalty area to the side of the goal, possibly with the intention of sending the ball out of the penalty area to avoid a situation with an offensive player and incurring a corner kick. But then the goalkeeper runs and catches the ball within the penalty area to the side of the goal. I assert that Paragraph 12.20 of “Advice to Referees” clearly indicates this should be an IFK, but other “senior” referees assert that no infraction has occurred, and to whistle an infraction is against the “Spirit of the Laws” since the ball was not played to the goalkeeper.

2. The goal line between the goal posts is offset forward from the goal posts. I have seen this be as little as 1-2 inches to as much as 1-2 feet,and wascaused by an untrained line painter avoiding the goal posts. I assert that a goal should be judged in close situations either by the referee or the ARby the goal posts, not the goal line, even if the offset is only an inch. And I assert that the opposing team captains and coaches should be informed of this guideline prior to the start of the game. Are these assertions correct?

USSF answer (November 10, 2004):
1. The decision on whether kicked passes to the goalkeeper are deliberate or not always rests with the referee on the spot. While we do not necessarily agree with the “senior referees,” it is safe to say that this possible infringement may be ignored if it is truly trifling.

2. Marking the field is the responsibility of the home team. Any problems should be included in the referee’s match report. If the goal lines are off by as much as you suggest, the game should not be started until the situation has been remedied in one way or another, possibly by removing the false line and replacing it with a correct one. If all else fails, play the game, but remember that to be scored as a goal, the ball must cross the goal line BETWEEN THE GOAL POSTS AND BENEATH THE CROSSBAR, not 1-2 inches or 1-2 feet out from them.

Your question:
I was watching a U13 Girls game yesterday and the following occurred. White was attacking Blue’s goal when a Blue player handled the ball in the box. The CR did not immediately call the foul, but after a few seconds, the ball was kicked over the end line, at which time the CR called the handling foul and gave White a PK. White subsequently scored resulting in a 1-1 tie. Blue’s coach began screaming that the CR couldn’t call the foul that late, and even got into a verbal confrontation with a White parent over it. Note that he did not dispute the foul, just the timing of the call.

What was the correct conclusion to this situation?

USSF answer (November 9, 2004):
It is usually unwise to play the advantage in the penalty area. That said, the referee may invoke the advantage clause and, if the advantage is not realized within the brief time span of 2-3 seconds, may call it back and award the free kick for the foul or misconduct.

In fact, the referee may have done just fine. Here is what we advise advanced-level referees to do when the defense commits a foul inside the penalty area: wait the 2-3 seconds and see what happens immediately thereafter. If the ball goes immediately into the net, the gods of soccer have proven themselves just; if it doesn’t, call the foul and restart with the penalty kick.

Don’t pay much attention to screaming coaches or let them influence anything you do. Most coaches don’t know very much about the Laws of the Game and how referees are supposed to make decisions, but they are happy to try to influence calls all the same. [But see item below dated November 7, where the coach is right and the referee wrong.]

Your question:
With 1:45 left in the game Team A pulled their keeper and put another player on (without goal keeper apparel) the referee noted the change and then Team A threw the ball in play. The AR was waving his flag for about 15 seconds and then finally put it down and let the play go on, Team A then scored about 15 seconds after the AR put his flag down. The player substituted in on the play never came within 30 yards of the ball and had no effect on the play. (They had 5 refs for this game 3 reffing and 1 on each teams side.) they disallowed the goal, put the time of the throw in back on the clock and started with a throw in from the original throw in with 1:45 on the clock and then that was that.

Is this the correct action? I know this what would be done if there was an extra player on Team A, but I wasn’t sure what the action was if the team did not play with a goalkeeper.

USSF answer (November 8, 2004):
Five referees on a game? What kind of rules are these? This game cannot have been played under the aegis of the United States Soccer Federation, as it did not follow the Laws of the Game. And those referees who were there did not follow the Laws of the Game, so we can only suppose that this game was not affiliated with USSF or USYS. (Perhaps some sort of high school game?)

The Laws of the Game call for one referee and two assistant referees, aided at the higher levels of play by a fourth official. Only American football uses a platoon of referees.

Under the Laws of the Game no team may play without a goalkeeper. The goalkeeper does not need to be on the field if a goal is scored, but must be part of the team. (See answer of October 13, 2004: “THE GOALKEEPER DOES NOT NEED TO BE STANDING OR EVEN IN THE PENALTY AREA.”) Furthermore, we do NOT roll back game events and time on the clock to some point at which the team presumably was “whole”– we simply resolve the situation and then move onward.

The conduct of this game should be reported to the competition authority and to the state soccer association(s).

Your question:
Can you bear a bit more discussion on this issue? [See item below dated November 2, 2004.]

With the change to the restart following the discovery of the extra player immediately after the scoring of an apparent goal by the offending team, it seems the IFAB is trying to say the offending team will be penalized as if the discovery was made instantaneously before the ball entered the goal.

Now let me pose my scenarios:

We have the subject situation, and the “oversized” team is awarded a PK, at which time the presence of the extraneous player is discovered. Do we negate the foul leading to the PK, and conduct a drop ball, or continue with the PK?

We have the subject situation, and the “correctly-sized” team is cited for a foul which in normal circumstances would subject the foulling player to being Sent Off for denying an Obvious Goal Scoring Opportunity. (For simplicity, let’s say it wasn’t VC or SFP in and of itself.) Now the extra player on the fouled team is discovered which meant the Opportunity was not really there, as the goal would have disallowed on this new ruling. Do we “un-Send-Off” the foulling player?

These kinds of questions keep me up nights!

USSF answer (November 8, 2004):
The answer to the first question is that it depends on whether or not the extraneous player was the one who was fouled. If so, the act was misconduct, not a foul, so no penalty kick can be awarded. The extraneous player is cautioned and shown the yellow card for entering the field without the referee’s permission. The game is restarted with a dropped ball at the place where the ball was when the misconduct occurred. If the extraneous player was not the one who was fouled, then the penalty kick may proceed after the extraneous player is cautioned and removed from the game.

The second situation is resolved in a similar manner, except that there can be no send-off for denying an obvious goalscoring opportunity. In that case, the opponent who committed the “foul” on the extraneous player may still be sent off for violent conduct if the actual act was committed with excessive force.

Your question:
In a recent game, the goalie collected the ball and ran to the 18 to punt. When he punted the ball he was across the line. I called the foul. The coach questioned the call at the half saying that he believes that the goalie can toss the ball over the 18 and then make contact(punt). That is how he coaches his goalies to get an extra step. I didn’t see the toss over the line and even if he did-would that be considered a second touch?

USSF answer (November 7, 2004):
Yes, the coach is correct. The goalkeeper may release the ball before leaving the penalty area and then kick the ball while outside the area. The goalkeeper is allowed to kick the ball outside the penalty area, provided he does not carry the ball over the line–but even crossing the line while releasing the ball is a very trivial offense, particularly if the goalkeeper is clearly putting the ball back into play for everyone.

The term “second touch” does not apply in this situation.

Your question:
As the coach for a U-18 Girls team I attempt to teach them proper time management of the situations they face during matches. If they are leading and a ball goes out of bounds, they take their time to get the ball and take the restart. If we are losing and the ball goes out of bounds on us, they run to the ball, set it up for the opposing team so the other team can take a faster restart. I see these tactics used at every level, it is part of the game. We have received stern warnings from the officials to get the ball in play as quick as possible. We have also seen yellow cards issued for kicking the ball “too far” out of play allowing our team to get numbers back and recover their shape defensively. My point is; if the other team wants the game to flow continuously, they should not have kicked the ball out of bounds. If they think we are taking too much time on our restart, they have the option of spending their energy to chase the ball and set it up for us to restart. It makes no sense for my players to run to the ball wasting their energy, while the other team is standing and recovering their breath, to get the ball back in play quickly allowing more time for the opposing team to score on us. If the official thinks that we are wasting time he has the discretion to add time to the end of the match.

My questions are: (1) Is this a cautionable offense? (2) Does the official have the right to speak sternly to my players? (3) Is this not a tactic used at all levels? (4) What law covers kicking the ball “too far” out of bounds (5) What law dictates that players must jog to recover a ball kicked out of bounds by the opposing team?

USSF answer (November 4, 2004):
(1) It can be a cautionable offense if the player does not react quickly to the referee’s instructions to get the ball back into play.
(2) Yes, if it is deserved.
(3) Yes, and it should be punished at all levels if it goes beyond allowable limits–which are set by the individual referee, based on this moment in this game on this day. There is no standard for all referees in this matter. (4 and 5) As you suggest, the referee should simply add time if a team kicks the ball too far out of play. The referee should also make allowances for the distance that the team with the restart has to cover to retrieve the ball. However, if the referee determines that the team with the restart is exceeding a reasonable limit in getting the ball back into play, the referee may caution the player for delaying the restart of play–although this is usually preceded by a warning.

Your question:
There is a team that my daughter has played against for 2 to three years that has consistently thrown elbows off the ball and do it in a way that conceals it away from the center referee. The first time I heard my daughter complain to me my first thought was that they were playing hard and she was just upset about it. I watched closely and observed what she was complaining about. During a game about a year ago I asked the side referee to please watch these girls throwing elbows into the side of our girls and he actually acknowledged that is what he saw but deferred to the center ref (he told me that was the center refs call). Unfortunately when the foul was acknowledged but disregarded it did not sit well with me. The team my daughter plays on is a fair team that wins as many as they lose and the coach emphasizes fair play and good sportsmanship. That was important to me. I understand that their is only one center ref and can not see what all 22 kids are doing at each moment of the game. My concern has never been with the outcome of this game but with the safety of these kids. How can I approach this before something happens to one of our kids or one of the kids on the other teams?

USSF answer (November 3, 2004):
There would seem to be two courses of action open to you. The first is to write a letter to the league (or whatever the competition is), noting the behavior of the other team. The second is to write a letter to the State Referee Administrator about the referees who have done these games. (You will have to include full details as to date, place, teams, etc.). Approaching an individual referee would be of absolutely no use .

In addition, you have either misunderstood what the “side referee”‹actually called the assistant referee‹said or the “side referee” misunderstood his proper role. That role is NOT to routinely defer to the referee on all decisions about fouls, but to assist the referee (in accordance with Law 6) by signaling offenses not seen by the referee for which the referee would likely have stopped play had he seen them. At minimum, the assistant referee can also bring to the referee’s attention individual instances of behavior or patterns of behavior which he has observed but for which he did not signal.

Your question:
Player from Team A shoots. Keeper from Team B gains possession of the ball on the ground between the posts near the goal line and stands up. The Referee looks to the AR who has maintained position near the goal line and asks the AR “was that a goal?” The AR answers “no” and shakes his head. The Referee allows the Keeper from team B to continue play.

After 60 to 90 seconds the coach from Team A confronts the AR and tells the AR that a goal was scored. The AR signals the Referee and indicates that a goal was scored and the Referee stops play, indicates a goal was scored and restarts with a kickoff.

Setting aside the illegal interference by Team A’s coach, is there a provision in the Law that allows a Referee stop play to award a goal once he has allowed play to continue in this, or any manner?

USSF answer (November 3, 2004):
Under the Laws of the Game, the referee is entitled to change a decision as long as there has been no intervening restart. However, in this case the decision was unwarranted and foolish. The referee and the assistant referee had already agreed that there was no goal and the referee allowed play to continue. The referee has no authority to solicit or accept the opinion of an outside party, particularly one who is vitally interested in the outcome of the game.

Your question:
My question involves substitution for the cautioned(yellow card) player. What is the rule for USSF youth games? I believe the player cannot be substituted unless it occurs during a substitution opportunity. Suppose I caution a player for a reckless foul, the restart being a direct free kick for the opposing team. A player cannot substitute for him under USSF youth rules; however under FIFA, the team may sub for him and under High school rules, he must leave the field and the team may or may not sub depending on their preference. Am I correct?

USSF answer (November 3, 2004):
The rule for youth games is exactly the same as for the rest of the world‹a player may be substituted at any stoppage of play. That rule is sometimes modified by local rules of competition to restrict the number of opportunities for substitution. There is also a rule that no player may be forced to leave the field because of being cautioned. That rule may not be modified by any competition.

And you are in error about “USSF youth rules,” which are actually those of US Youth Soccer. The USYS rules call for competitions to follow the Laws of the Game on substitution, with the single modification that, after having been substituted out, players may enter once again as substitutes later in the game. Again, some local rules of competition fail to follow this guidance from USYS.

You are probably thinking about what used to be considered the “standard youth exceptions” from the Referee Administrative Handbook, which will soon be removed from that book. You are correct with regard to high school rules.

Your question:
Regarding this question and answer on the “current topics” page: Is the answer the same if the ball deflects off the keeper’s teammate (instead of an opponent)?
A teammate deliberately kicks the ball, with his foot to his own keeper. On the way to the keeper, the ball deflects off an opponent. May the keeper now legally handle the ball?

Answer (October 5, 2004):
In this case, the goalkeeper may handle the ball legally. Under the Law it is the actual handling that constitutes the offense, not the pass. In this case, the opponent’s deflection has negated the original deliberate kick to the goalkeeper. END OF QUOTE

USSF answer (November 2, 2004):
Yes, the answer would be the same.

Your question:
I have just become aware of an apparent contradiction between the IFAB 2004 Q&A document, and the Entry Level Course content. I draw your particular attention to Q&A Questions 7 and 8 under Law 3. In this scenario, we are presented with an evident contradiction to the Entry Level Course transparencies 3-19 and 3-20. I am referring to the situation in which a team’s status of playing with an unauthorized (even an “extra”) person is discovered either during play or after an apparent goal. Still in force is the fact that the extraneous person will be Cautioned and asked to leave the field of play, and in the second instance, the goal will not be allowed.

The issue becomes the restart, which, as we have been teaching it, would be an IFK to the opposing team, or in the second instance, a goal kick by that team. This Q&A document would have us instead conduct a drop-ball in both cases, at the spot where the ball was, if play was stopped for the discovery; or, if after the apparent goal, on the goal-area line parallel to the goalline, nearest to where the ball entered the goal. On the face of it, this seems a rather advantageous treatment for a team caught trying to cheat, and somewhat “arbitrary” in the specification of the placement. (It also violates one of my favorite Law parameters, in that once something has happened, nothing subsequent to that occurence will change the restart. In this case, the ball going over the goalline, not ultimately resulting in a goal, thereby leading to a goalkick, made sense.)

Has the Federation decided on how to treat this apparent discontinuity? As we enter the off-season, with the attendent high number of Entry Level Courses, having this difference between published IFAB data and information on the USSF website is worrisome.

USSF answer (November 2, 2004):
What you point out is not an “apparent contradiction,” it’s an evolving interpretation by the IFAB. The entry-level course materials predate FIFA’s issuance of the IFAB’s new version of its Q&A. It is incumbent on referees, instructors, and assessors to remain current on the Laws of the Game, along with all current interpretations, instructions, and guidelines. The new IFAB Q&A has been available on the FIFA website since the middle of this year.

As for the restart itself, the IFAB appears to have decided to standardize the restart whenever “extra” persons are discovered on the field of play-whether that extra person is a player who has returned without the referee’s permission, a substitute who has entered without the referee’s permission, or an outside agent (i.e., anyone else) -no matter what happens afterward. The placement of the restart is a practical issue. All dropped balls are where the ball was when play was stopped: if the ball was off the field (thus appearing to have stopped play), the IFAB guideline suggests that the dropped ball take place where the ball left the field. If this results in the restart being inside the goal area, then we have another rule that kicks in-that the restart be moved up to the top of the goal area on the six yard line closest to where the restart would otherwise have been.

Your question:
Regarding the question and answer of October 5, 2004: Is the answer the same if the ball deflects off the keeper’s teammate (instead of an opponent) when the ball is kicked to the goalkeeper?

USSF answer (October 29, 2004):
Yes, the answer would be the same.

Your question:
In a recent match the defender, under great pressure, deliberately passes the ball back to his keeper with his knee. The ball was bouncing by him and he ³helped² it along by using his knee. The referee called for the indirect as soon as the referee handled it. I was always taught that the pass back to the keeper ³foul² has to be with the foot and the foot is defined as ankle down. Please clarify.

USSF answer (October 29, 2004):
If, in the opinion of the referee, the player deliberately kicked the ball to the goalkeeper or to a place where the goalkeeper could easily play it, the requirements of the Law have been met as soon as the goalkeeper handles the ball. We should add that “kicking” the ball with the knee would not truly fall within the realm of kicking, so this situation would not appear to be an infringement.

Your question:
In a recent youth match (U-12 recreational), one of the assistant coaches was observed wearing a warmup jacket with a conspicuous “National Referee Program” logo on the front. We have always advised our referees that, when they are at a field on the sidelines as a coach, they should not be wearing anything that calls attention to the fact that they are a referee. When a note was sent to the coach after the match requesting that they not come attired in this manner in the future, this individual, who indicated that they were a “national referee” requested that we cite an official source where this guidance is published. I know that the fellow referees I work with usually have two warmup jackets with them – one with referee insignia when working as an official, and one without, when on the sidelines in any other capacity. Is there guidance documented anywhere? Or is our practice to request referees acting as coaches not wear referee related attire another myth that has trickled down through the years?

USSF answer (October 27, 2004):
Referees should exercise common sense and not wear their uniform or other clothes that identify them as referees when they are coaching or watching a game. Wearing such clothing as a spectator invites comment and cries out for spectators or others to question the non-working referee on the calls of the officials on the field. Wearing such clothing as a coach could be considered a form of gamesmanship.

Your question:
I was an AR in an U19 game yesterday and the following happened and I need your opinion: The attacking teams right wing was in front of me and getting ready to shoot on goal and shot when she was charged and fouled. I raised my flag to indicate a foul and before the center blew his whistle the ball was in flight towards and goal and subsequently went in the goal. The goalie stopped when she heard the whistle and made no attempt to stop the goal.

The question is, since the ball was already in flight should the goal have been counted?

USSF answer (October 27, 2004):
No, it should not. The referee’s whistle stops play immediately. In actual fact, play stops as soon as the referee decides to punish an infringement, even if the whistle has not yet been blown.

The real question here is how and why the refereeing team got itself into this situation in the first place. You should not have raised the flag unless the foul clearly fell within the “out of the view of the referee” criterion (which seems highly unlikely if the fouled player had the ball at the time and was preparing a shot on goal). The referee should not be too quick to whistle immediately after the AR raises the flag, etc., etc. And your scenario also suggests that the referee was not in proper position at the moment you flagged for the foul. Many mistakes here that need to be considered and rectified.

Your question:
A question arose the other day, in a class, to which you might enlighten us. In the recent USSF memorandum “Kicks From the Penalty Mark (updated)”, at the end of the memorandum, there is a list of the actions of the kicker that are to be considered unsporting behavior. In Particular, theat “he makes any motion of the hand or arm which is clearly intended to misdirect the attention of the goalkeeper” seems clearly to discourage any “feinting” that is intended to draw the keeper off his line before the ball is put into play. It would be beneficial to see an example(s) of a feint by the kicker that the current interpretation of the laws intends referees to allow.

USSF answer (October 27, 2004):
The principle behind the prohibition on some forms of feinting is that of wasting time.  Referees should watch for the sorts of feinting described in the position paper of October 14, 2004, but should not consider all deceptive maneuvers to be a violation of Law 14 or of the guidelines on kicks from the penalty mark in the Additional Instructions. They should ensure that the run to the ball is initiated from behind the ball and the kicker is not using deception to delay unnecessarily the taking of the kick. The referee is the sole judge of what constitutes unsporting behavior during penalty kicks or kicks from the penalty mark.

Any caution of the kicker for any of the prohibited activities (e. g., running past the ball and then backing up, making hand/arm gestures to deceive, making a long convoluted run to the ball) would be written up as unsporting behavior.

Your question:
Youth competitions usually have unlimited substitutions, so the composition of a team often changes during a half and almost certainly between halves.  If a referee determines there are too many players on the pitch (for whatever reason), how do we single out one in particular to receive the caution? To use the example from the previous extra player question, if a player is sent off in the first half and, after the start of the second half the referee discovers 11 players, who gets the card?  Should we remember the last substitution and caution that player? Or, should we caution who ever leaves the field?

USSF answer (October 27, 2004):
It would be nice if this could be one of those serendipitous moments when the referee could select which ever player had offended the Spirit of the Game the most during the previous portion of the game. Alas, that is not to be. The referee will allow the captain to select the player to be removed. (The captain may wish to consult with the coach, but the referee will NOT do so.)

Incidents like this make a clear case for not starting the second half without confirming with each assistant referee (AR) that they have checked for the appropriate number of players at their ends of the field. Without a clear indication that this was done intentionally for an unfair advantage, a caution should be a last resort since the officials (the referee and at least one AR) are also culpable.

Your question:
Just this past weekend, I was reffing the final game of a U12 classic tournament so of course the parents and coaches were very into the game. Anyway, I was an assistant referee and on almost every singal call the center ref would call it the other way. This extended all the way until a penalty kick which cost one team the game. After the game, me, my friend who was the other AR, and the center walked off the field together to avoid getting beat. On our way off the field, the parents were screaming at us and once we were in the parking lot, a man started following me and my friend, this is after the center left. During the game, one coach was dismissed and the other was on the verge of being dismissed.

I was wondering what I should do in the future if this situation arises and also what I should do about the center who completely contradicted all of my calls. Thank you for your time

USSF answer (October 27, 2004):
We understand your concern about the poor calls, but it is not your job to correct the referee. The task of the assistant referee is spelled out in the title of the position: a-s-s-i-s-t. Nowhere in the Laws does it say anything about “insist.” Do the best you can under the circumstances and then submit a report of your own to the assignor and the state referee administration. You will have done your duty to the referee program and to the game. The state referee administration will take it from there.

We also share your concern about being confronted by spectators, coaches, or players after the match is over, particularly where they appear to be pursuing you. That can be very disconcerting. Being in the company of others in these circumstances is a good idea, but the tournament managers also have an obligation to see to the safety of the officials. Should a similar situation arise again (heaven forfend!), you might consider seeking out whatever tournament officials (field marshal, referee tent, etc.) are nearby and make it clear that you expect their assistance. If it is not given wholeheartedly, you should also consider notifying your local assignor or referee association regarding the problem.

Your question:
What is the correct call after the following play: Player takes goal kick. Ball only goes five yards or so. Player then picks up ball and retakes goal kick. Since ball did not leave penalty area, can player retake goal kick or is it a hand ball and penalty kick is awarded to other team. If goal kick can be retaken, can player be cautioned for time wasting?

USSF answer (October 27, 2004):
The ball is out of play on a goal kick. That means that no foul can be committed until the ball is back in play. You do not have the power or the authority to overturn the Laws of the Game and call deliberate handling and then award a penalty kick. The kick must be retaken. If it suits the referee’s game-management needs, the player might be cautioned for delaying the restart of play or unsporting behavior, depending on the circumstances, and shown the yellow card. (There is no caution for “time wasting.”) However, to do this, the referee must be convinced that the delay was for the purpose of gaining an unfair tactical advantage and, second, that the referee had warned the player first to get the ball back into play correctly.

Your question:
The situation is that a goalkeeper runs to the edge of the penalty box to kick the ball. A linesman calls ‘hands’ for an indirect kick saying the kick was outside the penalty box. Our video seemed to show that contact with the ball was completed before the penalty box line.

The question is, when is a goalkeeper kick considered a hand ball? Is the designation where the ball is located when in contact with the hand or foot, where the player ends up after the kick or some other consideration? If the penalty relies on the position of the ball, does the ball have to be completely out of the box or in the box?

USSF answer (October 26, 2004):
First things first: If the referee were to agree with the assistant referee (not linesman) on the infringement, the correct restart would be a direct free kick for deliberate handling, not an indirect free kick.

Now to the situation itself: No matter what your video shows–and videos are not admissible evidence in the referee’s decision-making process–the assistant referee was probably overzealous and a bit quick on the trigger in flagging this possible infringement. Especially at the youth level, the intelligent referee will allow the play to continue and warn the goalkeeper about keeping better track of where the lines are.

Under the letter of the Law, if the goalkeeper’s hand and the ball are together, outside the penalty area line, then the goalkeeper has deliberately handled the ball outside the penalty area. Under the Spirit of the Law, however, this is probably a trifling infringement, one that could be dealt with verbally, as indicated above.

Your question:
My family belongs to [an AYSO region]. The question I have is: In division U10 girls when a ball has been kicked to score a goal and the goalie is attempting to stop (her position was over the ball with her back on top and her arm around the ball..you could see she was attempting to turn around is the opponent allowed to continue play to score.. what took place was in my mind awful..the opponent kicked our teams goalie in the head not once but twice and the referee said nothing as the game was within seconds of ending. After the whistle was blown and game called the goalie approached the referee crying hysterically and told the referee she was kicked in the head twice. The referee’s response was,” well, the ball was still in play.” The child who happened to be mine came over to tell me this. I see no AYSO philosophy in letting a little 9yr girl being told this by a Director/Referee/Parent. My question is was this referee correct in his call?

USSF answer (October 26, 2004):
An official AYSO source responds: “As described, this really is an unfortunate incident. The official AYSO policy as stated in AYSO Rules & Regulations reads as follows: “It is the duty of referees to protect the goalkeeper against dangerous play.” If the incident happened as described, i.e. the goalkeeper lying on the ball with her arm around the ball, I believe the referee made an error in judgment. We teach that one finger on a stationary ball is the equivalent of keeper possession. In this case, the keeper clearly had possession, and the ball no longer should have been played. That the game shortly ended was not an excuse for the referee to have not taken action. In AYSO we try to avoid giving cards to kids at the U10 level, but a foul against the attacker should have been called, and the referee should have given a stern warning to the attacker. If nothing else, he/she should have spoken with the attacking player’s coach and reported the incident to the regional commissioner.”

Your question:
While acting as an AR during an AYSO U19 Boys match, I signaled for a corner kick to be taken on my side of the field. The side awarded the kick was ahead by two goals with less than three minutes to play.

The player taking the kick placed the ball completely outside of the restraining arc. I directed him to place the ball on the line. He replied that he did not have to place the ball on the line because the circumference of the ball would intersect an imaginary vertical plane as in judging a ball in or out play. I repeated my direction for him to place the ball on the line. He responded that I was wrong and that the ball was in contact with the plane of the line.

I signaled to the CR and advised him of the players dissent and delay of the game. The CR gave the dissenting player a yellow card and after the player continued his dissent to the CR he was then shown a second yellow card for persistent dissent and was ejected for 2 cautions.

The coaches and parents are unhappy about this incident and I have promised to inquire with USSF to find the correct interpretation. I have quoted Law 17 and claim that the ball shall be placed so that it rests on the ground at any point inside the corner arc or on any part of the lines which enclose the corner arc. I also pointed out that this player was wasting time late in a game in which his team held a 2 goal lead and that it was up to the AR to decide when the ball was ready for restart, not the player.

Even if I am mistaken about placement, there is no question about the dissent and action taken thereafter.

USSF answer (October 21, 2004):
It has been clearly stated by the International F. A. Board, the makers of the Laws of the Game, that the ball must physically touch the lines demarcating the corner arc.

The rule the player in your incident refers to applies only to balls being either in play or out of play. In those situations, the ball must simply break the vertical plane of the line to be in play and need not touch the line physically. This does not apply to the corner kick. You will find a diagram on corner kick placement in the IFAB/FIFA publication “Questions and Answers on the Laws of the Game, which can be downloaded from www.fifa.com.

Your question:
According to FIFA and the United States Soccer Federation, in what instances or situations could the final result of a game be changed after the game has concluded or could there even be instances or situations where the game would need to be replayed?

USSF answer (October 20, 2004):
There are no circumstances in which the result of a game could be changed after the game has concluded. Any replay would have to be ordered by the competition authority.

Your question:
When more than one ball is supplied for the game, is their any guidance on uniformity of pressure between balls? The following occurred the past weekend:

USSF answer (October 20, 2004):
The players may substitute only a ball that has been approved by the referee. In turn, the referee should ensure that all balls meet the standards imposed in Law 2–and are as uniform as possible. The referee should check the balls as often as seems necessary, but should not waste a lot of time doing so.

Your question:
A question on what is a valid reason for official delays in games where traffic problems prevent visitors from reaching a game site.

SITUATION: A team (U15/Div. 2) has a game about 40 mins. away this weekend, and visiting parents set out for the game site 90 mins. before game time.

Trouble is, there’s a horrible accident that snarls traffic (out of Washington, DC) for 4.5 hours, beginning almost at the time of departure. Many families make it to the site (using torturous back routes) though not all, yet those that can, arrive at about game time. Team fielded is not the full 11-man side.

ISSUE: Center ref insists that — in this league (Nat. Capital Soccer League) — while he CAN offer 15 min. delays, the rules also allow him to start with 7 on a side. In short, he’s ready to play 7 v. 11 if he has to, regardless of the obvious delays that day on Route 95, the major artery from Washington, DC to Richmond, VA.

Isn’t it “sporting” (and good judgment) for the center to allow both teams to be at full strength, when — given all evidence — both teams would be fully represented IF IT WEREN’T FOR THE TRAFFIC OBSTACLES?

As a center ref myself, I believe center refs should lean backwards to avoid giving an advantage to 1 team — whenever there are good reasons to do so. That did not happen.

Can a center ref ignore ALL evidence for delaying a start (this was the last game on that field)? If the answer remains “YES, always” then referee rules should be changed to reflect the reality of congested metro areas. (For now, I’m ignoring the fact that the resulting 7 v. 11 games jumble the results of games and standings.)

What’s the correct “call” here?

USSF answer (October 20, 2004):
The “correct call” here is to follow the rules of the competition (league/cup/tournament/whatever). In this case NCSL has allowed for a 15-minute grace period. The referee has no authority to delay games beyond what is called for in the rules of the competition.

Your question:
It is my understanding that stepping on top of the ball during a indirect free kick and then having another player take the kick is not sufficient enough to be considered movement. What happens if a team does this and sends the ball over the goal line, but not in the goal? Do you allow them a re-kick or does the defending team get a goal kick? If they do this and the ball goes in the goal without touching anyone else would you also consider it a goal kick?

USSF answer (October 20, 2004):
The restart depends on who was taking the indirect free kick and from where.

If the kick was by the defending team within its own penalty area, the ball must come back for a retake if it did not leave the penalty area and enter the rest of the field.

If the kick was taken by the opposing team with the opponent’s penalty area and the ball enters the goal, the correct restart is a goal kick.

If the kick was taken by either team outside either penalty area, the correct restart is either a goal kick or a corner kick, depending on whose goal line it went over, whether or not it entered the goal. The usual rules for CKs and GKs apply here: If it goes directly into my goal (or over the goal line) from my kick, it’s a corner kick; if it goes into the other team’s goal (or over the goal line) directly from my kick, it’s a goal kick.

Your question:
Are there any regulations or requirements to the specific timepiece or instrument to keep time by the referee? example: is a standard mechanical watch, hour, minute, and second hand, acceptable?

USSF answer (October 20, 2004):
The standard wristwatch is acceptable only if the referee remains alert to the time of the kick-off, the amount of time required for each half (and any periods of extra time) by the competition, and to the amount of time necessary to replace time lost. Of course, the same could be said for stopwatches.

Your question:
Q1 In last weekend’s match, my player (youth U14 boy) was shown a yellow card for dissent (walking away from the ref. after an offside call). When the player showed his emotion by turning his head and extending his hands at his waist, the ref. showed him a red card and sent him off. Should the ref. have shown a second yellow before red?

Q2 After my player was sent off, I was required to play one man down for the remainder of the half and the game. Which rule governs this action?

USSF answer (October 18, 2004):
Surely there is more to the story than this. Simply walking away from the referee after being called offside and then spreading one’s arms at waist level would not merit a caution or a second caution and send-off.

If the referee were to give a caution for the second offense, then the referee must show first the yellow card and then the red card. But referees must remember that there would be no need to show the second yellow card if the player’s second act of misconduct (whatever it was) was a red card offense on its own terms. Nothing else happened prior to this? There is either a lot left out or the referee was having a very bad day.

As to playing short, that is and always has been the Law–even though it is no longer written in the Laws of the Game. It was dropped in 1997 because the authors of the Laws, the International Football Association Board, determined that “everyone” knew that.

Your question:
On a cross in front of the opponent’s goal, the attacker trapped the ball with his chest and volleyed the ball into the goal for an apparent goal. The referee disallowed the goal for handling. This was his explanation: the attacker definitely trapped the ball using his chest only (it never touched his arm at any time per the ref) but, when trapping the ball the player swung his arm around while turning his torso to keep the ball in front of him (otherwise it would have gone off his chest past the goal) and because he used his arm to control the ball, this is handling. Is this handling?????

USSF answer (October 18, 2004):
Yes, those referees are becoming more and more inventive. If, as the referee said, the ball never touched the player’s arm, then there was no deliberate handling–or handling of any sort at all. Using one’s arm to control one’s balance is perfectly legal.

Your question:
Is a ball kicked while rolling from within the goal area OK? The law spells out that the ball MUST be stationary on free kicks, and implies it on corner by using the word “placed”. However it does use language like this for goal kicks.

USSF answer (October 18, 2004):
There are many things unsaid in the Laws of the Game, the most important of them being that a player who has been sent off may not be replaced–but we all know it is true. [See item above.] The same is true of the ball being stationary at a goal kick.

Nowhere does it state specifically that the ball must be stationary for goal kicks, but it is implied in Law 17 for corner kicks (and in Law 14 for penalty kicks). The specific statements in Laws 8 and 13 that the ball be stationary for the start and restart of play and free kicks also imply that the ball must be stationary for all kick restarts.

Law 8
* the ball is stationary on the center mark
* the ball is in play when it is kicked and moves forward

Law 13
Types of Free Kicks //snip//
For both direct and indirect free kicks, the ball must be stationary when the kick is taken and the kicker does not touch the ball a second time until it has touched another player.

Law 14
Position of the Ball and the Players
The ball:
* is placed on the penalty mark

Law 16
* the ball is kicked from any point within the goal area by a player of the defending team
[the inference here being that if the ball was at “any point” it was stationary]

Law 17
* the ball is placed inside the corner arc at the nearest corner flagpost [the inference here (and in Law 14) is that if the ball is “placed,” it is stationary]
* the ball is in play when it is kicked and moves

There is the additional logical argument that, if the ball must be kicked and moved to be in play, it must follow that it is not moving prior to being kicked–otherwise the requirement to be moved makes no sense. Therefore, we can state unequivocally that in all cases of a kick restart, the ball must be stationary before being kicked. It is not in play until it has been kicked and moves (forward in the case of kick-off and penalty kick).

Your question:
A situation involving an AR and a Coach came about a while ago. The AR felt as if dissent were being shown to him by the coach, and decided that after the game was over in the parking lot, to show a red card. First off, is this red card valid? Secondly, the referee in the middle was still on the field preparing himself for the next match. Somehow, this red card was written into the game report and the coach was suspended for the following match. Is this a correct punishment according to the laws of FIFA? I know that at no time can an AR show cards, but can recommend them. But how is it the coach was still suspended though he was not officially given a card.

USSF answer (October 16, 2004):
Under the Laws of the Game, no one other than players and substitutes by be shown any card. However, if the rules of the competition require it, team officials may also be cautioned or dismissed and shown the appropriate card. No assistant referee (AR) may discipline or show a card to anyone, anywhere, at any time.

Nevertheless, while the AR cannot caution or send off or show any type of card to anyone, the AR may submit a separate report to the appropriate authorities. This may be what happened in this case. We cannot account for the acts of disciplinary committees or of rogue ARs.

And the final straw is that any official showed a card after the game was over. That is forbidden by the Laws of the Game. The referee (or AR) may only note the details and file a report.

Your question:
I’ve read the memorandum on second cautions several times and am more confused than before. The way I read the memorandum it says, in effect, “(1) Caution (show the yellow card) a player if he/she deserves it. (2) If the player would normally deserve a caution (yellow card) but it would be his/her second caution don’t give it unless the offense deserves a send off (red card) since the second caution results in the send off. It goes on to say that before giving a second caution the referee should use escalating warnings.

To me this gives a player with one caution almost carte blanche to commit cautionable offenses as long as they are not, in and of themselves, worthy of a send off. The idea of using increasingly severe admonitions and warnings after the first caution has been given is like repeatedly telling a child not to do something but never taking action. It will not prevent the undesirable behavior.

Can you help me interpret this memorandum’s advise more clearly – right now I think it will lead to less control and more on the field foul play.

USSF answer (October 14, 2004):
You are misreading both the intent and the spirit of the guidance.  It is saying that, because a second caution will result in the player being sent off, the second caution should be given when, in the opinion of the referee, it is truly a cautionable offense (in other words, you would have given a first caution for the misconduct) and the misconduct clearly continues a pattern of behavior of that player despite the prior notice of the first caution that a continuation would result in the player being sent from the field.

It is this second condition that you are misunderstanding.  In circumstances where the behavior of the player does not represent such a continuation, the referee should attempt to manage the player using other techniques short of a caution.

Your question:
I was sure that when a player on the field gets a 2nd yellow, the player has to leave and the team plays down a man. A more experienced referee told me that a substitute can enter the match to replace a player after a 2nd yellow card.

Does a team have to play a man down after a player receives a 2nd yellow card?

USSF answer (October 14, 2004):
Either the “more experienced referee” has been using illegal substances or he or she is thinking of high school rules. Under the Laws of the Game, a player who is sent off and shown the red card for any reason, including receiving a second caution, may not be replaced. Under high school rules, the second caution/yellow card is considered to be a “soft red card” and the player may be replaced.

Your question:
Team A 3, Team B 1, at minute 65 of a 70 minute match officiated by a relatively new CR.

At minute 65, Team B’s attacker with the ball gets behind Team A’s sweeper with a clear goal scoring opportunity, with only the GK to beat. The Team A sweeper catches up just enough to the Team B attacker to grab (foolishly!) the attacker’s shirt and simply restrains him just outside the PA. The CR inexplicably does not promptly issue a RC (and not even a YC) but awards a DFK to Team B. Play restarts with Team B taking its DFK and naturally enough Team B pathetically botches the opportunity, ball going out for a goal kick. Play restarts again and continues without incident, including a few throw-ins (i.e., other restarts), to 69:47. CR blows whistle. Team A 3, Team B 1.

Now, coaches and parents of Team B storm the field, with one Team B parent yelling expletives, grabbing the CR’s shirt sleeve, flipping off a Team A mom and later the balance of the Team A parents, and finally gets ejected by a much more experienced AR, who then assumes control as the CR appears bewitched and bewildered. Team A huddles at its bench. Coaches and parents of Team B continue to argue on opposite side of pitch with AR and CR. Team A’s manager overhears enough to warn Team A’s coach that the match just might be restarted. Team A’s coach has the offending Team A sweeper put on an orange sub vest and asks another Team A player to get ready to come in. The AR now marches over to Team A’s bench, about 10 minutes after the CR’s whistle and 15 minutes after Team A’s sweeper committed the obvious foul, where AR issues a red card for the obvious foul of minute 65 to Team A’s sweeper, sitting at the bench and wearing the orange sub vest. AR then announces he will resume play for an additional five minutes. Team A’s coach now proceeds to argue vehemently but is restrained by Team A’s manager (who has no other licensed coach to continue the match) in the nick of time. The game is in fact restarted again for five minutes, team A playing with 10 men, with no incident, no score, in that time frame. Second (“last”) whistle, this time by the AR. Score is same, Team A 3, Team B 1.

Question: Should the red card to Team A’s sweeper stand? If so what on earth does it mean in Law 5 that “The referee may only change a decision on realising that it is incorrect or, at his discretion, on the advice of an assistant referee, provided that he has not restarted play”? PROVIDED THAT HE HAS NOT RESTARTED PLAY?

CR in his match report apparently has stated that his first whistle (at 69:47) was merely a suspension of play and that AR’s last whistle marked the end of the match. Does that really matter, whether is was meant to be a match-ending whistle or a suspension of play?

Assume for the moment that the replacement of the CR by the AR was justified by CR’s emotional inability to continue or because of consideration for the safety of the players and fans. Let’s put that issue aside. It really was a smart move. The Team B fans were in the process of losing it.

USSF answer (October 14, 2004):
Ah, those inventive referees! (We usually praise the coaches for being inventive, but in this case it is the referees‹or actually the assistant referee.)

Once the game has been restarted, as described in your question, the referee may no longer caution or send off any player for an act committed before that restart. Indeed, the International F. A. Board, the folks who make the Laws of the Game, have sent a very strong message this year that referees are to ensure that no game is restarted without such punishment taking place.

If full time has not been played, and this would appear to be the case from your question, then someone else may assume control of the game‹with the permission of the referee, who then either retires from the field or takes over the position of the official who replaced him or her. (It is not clear from your question as to whether the assistant referee had the referee’s permission to take over control of the match, but, while this could be a significant event on its own, it has no bearing on the question at hand.) If the AR did indeed take over control of the game, he or she has no authority or power to send off a player for an act that occurred before the last restart.

It would be interesting to read the referee’s match report to see how this was justified. And also to see if the facts were reported in full.

Your question:
My son was the referee in a game where a player struck the ball and her shoe came off, flying to the side of the play. The second time it came off it flew into the goal. My son did not indicate a foul but warned the coach at halftime to secure her shoes. I suggested that if the shoe comes off and goes away from the play, a warning would be sufficient at the next stoppage of play. If the shoe comes off and is part of the play or endangers another player, he should have stopped play, cautioned the player (and coach since it was a youth game of 6 and 7 yr olds) and awarded the opposing team an indirect free kick due to a dangerous play. If the ball had scored, it should not count.

USSF answer (October 14, 2004):
The correct answer is none of the above.

As defined in the USSF publication “Advice to Referees on the Laws of the Game” (ATR) and clear from the perspective of the Spirit of the Game, a foul is an unfair or unsafe action committed by a player against an opponent or the opposing team, on the field of play, while the ball is in play. (ATR 12.1) What you describe was certainly not a foul, nor could it be characterized as misconduct, the only possibility for cautioning a player.

The problem of losing a shoe is recognized in the IFAB’s Questions and Answers on the Laws of the Game (Q&A), published for the IFAB by FIFA. Under Law 4, Q&A 10, it states:
10. A player accidentally loses his footwear and immediately scores a goal. Is this permitted?
Yes. The player did not intentionally play barefoot, because he lost his footwear by accident.

Normally the act of losing a shoe on the field of play is neither an unsafe nor an unfair action by the player who does this. The player need not leave the field to replace the shoe and should certainly not be punished by the referee unless he or she does not replace the shoe as quickly as possible. Even if the kicker’s shoe had been removed by an opponent tackling for the ball, there would be no punishment for either player.

Your question:
Fairly early in the second half of a boys high school match with the score 1-1 between the #1 ranked team in our state against a struggling smaller school with at losing record, the ref called a foul against the smaller school near mid field.

At that time, the coach of the top ranked team called the ref over and the two proceeded to have an extended conversation for between two and three minutes, off the field, near the center line. The boys even started play again and the ref called it back during this down time.  The opposing coach eventually positioned himself nearby, but never entered into the two man huddle.

Throughout the match, the #1 team dominated play in and around the penalty box. With 32 seconds left on the scoreboard clock, the ref called a foul on the small team while in the penalty box, a pk was taken and now the score was 2-1 for the #1 team.

The last offensive thrust by the small team was negated by a hand ball call with about 17 seconds to go. No stoppage time was given so the game was soon over.

After reviewing the rules of soccer, I have been unable to find a section that describes the ref’s relationship with a coach during a match. I have never seen a meeting of this length during a match.

I described the game environment to further enhance the uneasy situation this meeting presented to the fans and players.

With all the action in the penalty box throughout the game, calling a foul with 32 seconds to go just didn’t “smell” right, and while I did see the hand ball, I saw many others that also fit the bill earlier on that did not get the call.

So my questions are:
1) Can a ref have an extended conference off the field with one coach during a match?
2) In the interest of a fair played game and using ‘common sense’ is it in the games best interest to call a PK with seconds remaining in a close game?
3) Is stoppage time used in high school soccer? (If so, that private meeting really added fuel to the fire)

As a disclaimer, I don’t have any sons playing for either team, I just wanted to see the #1 high school team play.

USSF answer (October 13, 2004):
1) We cannot speak to high school rules, but tradition and common practice dictate that referees should not spend time socializing or otherwise lingering to chat with coaches or any other people not directly associated with the game. And coaches are not directly associated with the game; their work should be done in the days and weeks preceding the game, not during it. The referee who socializes (or appears to socialize) gives the impression, rightly or wrongly, that there will be some bias. The business of the referee is to get on with the game and call it properly.

2) We respond to your question about the penalty kick with another: “Is it in the best interest” not to call a foul that occurred at any moment of the game? Of course the answer is no. If they are not trifling or doubtful, all fouls must be called, no matter when they take place.

3) There is “stoppage time” but only if signaled by the referee. The high school rules call for the official time to be kept by a timekeeper (if there is a stadium clock, in working order, visible to the field). If the clock is not operated properly, the referee can (at a stoppage) order the clock to be corrected. However, the stadium clock is otherwise official. It stops for various things but socializing with a coach is not one of them. Unless the stoppage had been caused by a card being given, an injury, or the taking of a penalty kick, the clock should not have stopped.

Your question:
With this question, why did not you talk about the position of the goalkeeper? inside the goal box, inside the penalty box but outside the goal box, outside the Penalty box?

USSF answer (October 13, 2004):
The answer in question (dated September 28, 2004) said:
Law 3 requires that each team must have a goalkeeper, but there is no requirement that the goalkeeper always be on the field of play or in an upright position. While we generally give goalkeepers the benefit of the doubt in case of injury–to wit, they do not have to leave the field when being treated for injury–neither are referees required to stop the game for anything other than serious injury. However, some consideration must be given for the age and skill level of the players. The intelligent referee will apply common sense to each individual situation.

The direct answer to your question is that it makes no difference where the goalkeeper is.

That is a fact of life that cannot be changed. If you saw the English Premier League game last week between Man. City and Bolton (I wish to heck I had recorded it), you would have seen that the referee, Uriah Rennie, allowed the goalkeeper to remain down on the field for about a minute before doing anything about it. The goalkeeper was out almost 18 yards from his goal, flat on the ground, having fallen down through no fault of an opponent. Why would the referee not stop the game? Because the goalkeeper was not seriously injured and there was no reason, under either the Letter of the Law or the Spirit of the Game, for him to do so.

Where did he get his authority to do that? From principles established in the Laws and in one of the major documents published by the International F. A. Board, the people who make and change the Laws of the Game. The major document is the “Questions and Answers on the Laws of the Game.” (See Law 3, Q&As 19 and 20.) The goalkeeper is allowed to leave the penalty area and the field without the referee’s permission during the course of play to play the ball, just as is any other player. The goalkeeper may retrieve the ball that has gone into touch or take a throw-in, corner kick, penalty kick, free kick, etc. If the goalkeeper leaves the field to play the ball and cannot return in time to stop a goal, the goal is scored. In short, the goalkeeper does not have to be on the field of play.

Neither does the goalkeeper have to be in an upright position or even able to play the ball. Under Law 5, the referee is required to stop play for injuries only if, in the opinion of the referee, the injury is serious. In the Additional Instructions to the Referee, found at the back of your copy of the Laws of the Game, you will find a repetition of this instruction: play is allowed to continue until the ball is out of play if a player is, in the referee’s opinion, only slightly injured, and play is stopped if, in the referee’s opinion, a player is seriously injured. The goalkeeper is a player.

Your question:
While watching a Rec U-14 B game the following occurred and got me to wondering…
Attacking team was awarded a PK and the defending coach immediately yelled for a keeper change (with a field player). CR allowed the position swap prior to the PK being taken. You can imagine the comments from the attacking coach and most of the spectators. PK was blocked. About three minutes later the ball went out at the touch line and the request was again made to swap the players back to their original positions. Believe it or not, the same thing happened during the second half and folks were beginning to get very upset (vocally).

I understand that CR may allow field player/keeper change at a stoppage (Law 3) and that coaches wish to make best use of players and tactics. The whistle has blown and the ball is out of play (Law 9). I guess my specific question is whether stopping the play for the administration of the PK falls under the definition of “stoppage”. Taking this though a little further, would it follow that other “whistled” restarts (IFK, DFK, and drop balls) are also “stoppages” which would allow the changing of a keeper with a field player.

I’m just happy that I was not the CR for this game…I’m not sure the swap would have been allowed; but I would like to know before the situation occurs. Thanks for you answer…I can see this both ways but just can’t convince myself that this is correct.

USSF answer (October 13, 2004):
Law 3 provides for this exchange between the goalkeeper and any field player: QUOTE
Changing the Goalkeeper
Any of the other players may change places with the goalkeeper, provided that:
– the referee is informed before the change is made
– the change is made during a stoppage in the match

This does not count as a substitution, so any local rules of competition regarding limited substitution do not apply. A stoppage of play is any time the ball is out of play, whether over a perimeter line or when the referee has blown the whistle. This is valid at any stoppage, whether for a throw-in, corner kick, goal kick, kick-off, misconduct, or foul.

Simply because the spectators and the opposing coach are unaware of the Law does not invalidate it. Coaches and spectators often do not know anything about the rules under which the game is played. The tactic discussed here is legal at any level of play.

Your question:
A recently posted Q&A (USING THE ADVANTAGE CLAUSE Posted September 29, 2004 ) leads me to a question. A goalkeeper being the last defender, just outside the penalty area challenges an attacker with the ball moving towards the keeper¹s goal, and in so doing fouls the attacker. A nearby attacker¹s teammate runs onto the open ball and the referee signals and shouts ³Advantage, play on!² The teammate (unaffected by the goalkeeper¹s foul against the attacker other than to gain possession of the ball) then miffs the wide open goal by shooting the ball wide of the goal out of play. Does allowing advantage in this particular situation negate the sending off offence to the goalkeeper for denying an obvious goal scoring opportunity?

USSF answer (October 12, 2004):
Referees have the power to apply (and signal) the advantage upon seeing a foul or misconduct committed if at that moment the terms of the advantage clause were met. Applying advantage permits the referee to allow play to continue when the team against which the foul has been committed will actually benefit from the referee not stopping play.

The referee may return to and penalize the original foul if the advantage situation does not develop as anticipated after a short while (2-3 seconds). In this case, the referee will have to judge whether the advantage was sustained long enough to meet the standard set by the International F. A. Board (2-3 seconds) with the ball then in the possession of the attacker’s teammate. If so, the decision may not be recalled. It makes no difference whether or not the teammate with the ball subsequently scored or not.

Your question:
Admittedly this situation may never occur, but after reading the December 16, 2003 USSF Memorandum titled “Kicks from the Penalty Mark”, I wondered about this obscure situation.

Assume that player A received a caution in regulation time. Assume also that the match is to the point where penalty kicks are in process to determine the winner of the match (often called a “shoot out”).

The time comes for player A to shoot for his team. As he approaches the ball, he commits a violation (such as waving his arm to distract the keeper). The ball enters the net. The infringement means that a re-kick is required (i.e., no goal), so the center referee waves off the goal. The center referee then displays the yellow card for the Unsporting Behavior, and a red card for the second caution.

What happens next? My assumption is that you would send off the player and player A’s team forfeits that penalty kick. Am I correct?

USSF answer (October 12, 2004):
Never assume too much. In this case there is some question as to whether or not the player would be cautioned for his transgression during kicks from the penalty mark (KFTPM). The rules for KFTPM are much the same as for penalty kicks: if it is a first offense, then the player is warned, rather than cautioned, so that must be considered.

If it works out that the kicker is cautioned and sent off for the second caution during the game, the kicker’s team would be able to put up another kicker. It would have to be one who has not yet taken a kick in this round of KFTPM.

Your question:
I am writing for clarification on the use of a 2-man officiating system for use within a local recreational soccer club. I am the head referee for Louisa Area Soccer Association and have reviewed my association’s bylaws and cannot find the answer to my question. Specifically I would like to know if a 2-man system, with each referee being a grade level 8, is allowed to be used for games within recreational play. The age divisions in which I would need to use a 2-man system range from U13 to U17. Although I have several referees in the program, most referees play for a local challenge program and I lack referees to cover games in the afternoon using the standard 3-man system. Please advise on your knowledge of this matter, and also advise on any other resources I could check for further clarification. Thanks so much for your time and assistance!

USSF answer (October 12, 2004):
We share your concern over the lack of sufficient referees, but must point out that games affiliated with the U. S. Soccer Federation may be officiated only under the diagonal system of control (DSC), with a referee and two assistant referees (AR). If you have only enough referees to supply two for each game, there are alternatives that will fill the bill. You may use either of these alternatives and still meet those requirements:
1. One referee, one assistant referee, and one club linesman (not a registered referee). Only the referee may use a whistle. The AR uses a flag and functions just as if in a full role. The club linesman is permitted to indicate only that the ball is out of play, not showing direction or type of restart. The club linesman is selected from the supporters of one of the two competing teams (usually the “home” team).
2. One referee and two club linesmen, the club linesmen being selected from the supporters of each of the two competing teams.

Barring the use of club linesmen, and only in emergencies, the game could be run with one referee and one AR. The referee would remain mostly on one side of the field of play and would use the whistle. The AR would run outside the field of play, as usual, but would not be able to use a whistle.

Your question:
The question at hand is what is the policy on insurance coverage in a game utilizing a certified Center referee and two club linesmen. Our understanding is that USSF insurance covers only the Center. In the event of a lawsuit for serious injury caused by the lack of ability of a club linesman to control the situation if the Center’s back is turned, is the Center covered by insurance?

USSF answer (October 7, 2004):
If the referee is registered and the games are affiliated with US Soccer, the referee is insured.

Your question:
An interesting subject was discussed on a coach’s list to which I subscribe. Someone related a story where an assistant coach got out of hand and was yellow carded by the referee. The fact that the coach was carded was not the point of their relating the story, but I replied that the LOTG allowed cards to be issued only to players, substitutes, and substituted players, and that the proper ultimate sanction for a misbehaing non-player was to be ordered away from the field of play and it surrounding area.

My questions are:
1. May a USSF-affiliated organization have rules that require coaches to be carded? I would think no, because USSF by-laws require that the LOTG be followed. I know modifications were allowed for youth soccer, in addition to those specifically allowed in the LOTG, but I did not think that was one of them.
2. If USSF organizations may modify the LOTG to require coaches to be carded, what is the authority that allows that?

USSF answer (October 6, 2004):
You are absolutely correct, in that the Laws of the Game do not permit giving cautions to or “sending-off” (we use the word “dismissal”) to coaches, nor do they permit showing the card to any team official. We do not know the origin of the concept, but it has long been held that the rules of competition for a particular league or state association may require showing a card to a coach.

Showing the card is a means of communication. Leagues and other competitions find it easier for parents and spectators to understand what is going on if they see a card being shown, rather than just seeing a coach walk away from the bench area. In addition, under some rules of competition the coach is responsible for the sidelines. If the sidelines are acting up and the coach is issued yellow card indicating a caution, it stands to reason that behavior control is much more easily achieved if there is a visible sign. The National Program for Referee Development will support the referee when a coach is cautioned or dismissed, even if no card is shown‹provided it is done in accordance with the rules of the competition.

Your question:
My son is refereeing our local recreational youth league. This past weekend he was officiating a U8 game where the coach approached him, before and after the game, about calls during the games. He was trying to be intimidating and got very biligerant with him when my son seemed to not want his advise. As a referee myself, I know how I would handle this, but being 15, I don’t think he is as direct with adults as I am. What course of action would you recommend for our young refs to take in this rare case? He has been refereeing since he was 12 and this is the first time this has happened. Usually the league has an adult rep present to oversee the games, but this time there were just the two refs for the two games on the fields. He usually takes a cell phone, but forgot it this time; note the lesson learned!

A second question concerning parent conduct. We were at a tournement where the parents were getting pretty wound up over the refs calls. The center ref red cards a parent, ejects him from the field and the team loses a point because of the card. I later ask the head of officiating about this and he said in the tournement coaches can be carded and ejected, but still didn’t answer my question on the spectators. I can see the ejection, but the card and point for this team seemed baffling.

USSF answer (October 5, 2004):
1. Coaches at the U8 level are often as uninformed about the Laws of the Game and how the game should be called as their players. While the coach’s behavior was totally irresponsible and your son would have been correct in dismissing the coach early on in the game, the proper thing to do in this case would have been for your son to thank the coach for his input and say that maybe they would both do better next time out. In all events, your son should have reported the coach’s behavior to the competition authorities.

A more important question from our point of view is why there were only two referees for the games. All games played under the auspices of the U. S. Soccer Federation must be officiated by a three-referee crew or, alternatively, by a single referee using club linesmen.

2. We cannot comment on the dismissal of a spectator and the assessment of points against a team. These are matters covered by the rules of the competition and not subject to review by referees.

However, the referee has authority to suspend and, if necessary, to terminate a match if the behavior of anyone outside the field (coaches, spectators, etc.) seriously interferes with the conduct of the match.  The referee could suspend play and set as a condition for resuming the match the departure of a spectator who was behaving irresponsibly.  This option would be particularly relevant in a match in which spectators were physically proximate to the field as opposed to being in bleachers or arena-type seating.

In any event, no cards are displayed to anyone other than players and substitutes unless this is mandated by the rules of the competition.

Your question:
A teammate deliberately kicks the ball, with his foot to his own keeper. On the way to the keeper, the ball deflects off an opponent. May the keeper now legally handle the ball?

USSF answer (October 5, 2004):
In this case, the goalkeeper may handle the ball legally. Under the Law it is the actual handling that constitutes the offense, not the pass. In this case, the opponent’s deflection has negated the original deliberate kick to the goalkeeper.

Your question:
I was involved in a game this weekend where a direct kick was awarded outside the 18. We created a wall a distance we honestly felt was 10 yards from the ball but the referee insisted on moving us back further.  His position was on the opposite side of the 18 nowhere near the ball or wall and initially did not physically walk out the 10 yards. We honored his request to move but asked him to walk out the yardage because it appeared to be at least 15 yards from the ball. He refused to walk out the yardage and gave a yellow card for questioning him. Can the team that committed the foul request the yardage to be measured if they feel too much was awarded?

USSF answer (October 5, 2004):
The defending team has no more right to ask for the distance to be measured to make sure it is not too much than the kicking team has to ask that it be measured to ensure it is not too little. While the defending (offending) team has very few rights at a free kick, one of those rights is that they can be assessed no more than the ten-yard distance. The referee has no right or power to force the team that committed the foul to move more than ten yards away from the place where the ball will be in play when kicked. However, only the referee can judge exactly what distance that “ten yards” covers.

Your question:
In the first half, a player on Team A is sent off. Team A starts the second half with 11 players; no referee counts. During dynamic play, a penal foul occurs in the penalty area, committed against Team A. After the Penalty Kick is taken successfully (but before the kickoff is taken), Team B points out to the Center Referee that the scoring team has too many players on the field.

1. What is the course of action at that moment? And what is the proper restart?
2. What would be correct if the PK had failed and had gone over the end line, untouched…and then the referee counted players?
3. What would be correct if the PK had failed and had gone over the end line, last touched by the goal keeper, and then the referee counted players?
4. What would be correct if the Center Referee realizes Team A has 11 players on the field of play during dynamic play and before any foul has been called?
5. What would be correct if the Center Referee realizes Team A has 11 players on the field of play immediately after (but before the ensuing kickoff) Team A scores a goal?

Thank you for your assistance. This is based on an incident described to me earlier this week.

USSF answer (October 4, 2004):
What complicates the original scenario is that we don’t know when the extra person appeared on the field. The only way the goal can be canceled and play restarted with a dropped ball is if there were compelling evidence that the extra person was on the field prior to the goal being scored on the penalty kick. And if the goal stands, then (after cautioning the extra player) play would be restarted with a kick-off rather than with a dropped ball.

If there is definite proof that the eleventh player was on the field prior to the foul leading to the penalty kick, the answers to questions 1-3 and 5 are identical: The goal is not awarded. The eleventh player is cautioned and shown the yellow card for entering the field of play without the referee’s permission and is instructed to leave the field of play. Play is restarted by a dropped ball on the goal area line at the point nearest to where the ball passed over the goal line to enter the goal.

The answer to question 4 is that the referee stops play. The eleventh player is cautioned and shown the yellow card for entering the field of play without the referee’s permission and is instructed to leave the field of play. Play is restarted by a dropped ball at the place where the ball was when the referee stopped play.

Your question:
For USSF youth soccer games ,is a set number of referees mandatory for any age groups?

USSF answer (October 4, 2004):
One referee and two assistant referees (or club linesmen) are required for all youth games. The dual system of control (two referees) is not allowed.

Your question:
Does a tournament committee have the right to rescind a red card give for point 4 of send offs?

USSF answer (October 4, 2004):
The answer is no. Law 5 tells us: “The decisions of the referee regarding facts connected with play are final.” The decision to send off a player for denying the opposing team a goal or a goalscoring opportunity by deliberately handling the ball is a decision on a point of Law. It is neither protestable nor reversible. The only points on which referee decisions may be reversed are those where the referee has acted contrary to the Law, the prime example being to restart incorrectly after a stoppage.

Furthermore, as FIFA has said, the requirement for a one-game suspension is mandatory and cannot be rescinded; it can only be lengthened.

WE COUNT TIME UP (0-45, 46-90), NOT DOWN
Your question:
A question has arisen about what FIFA says about clocks that count down as opposed to counting up. Two of my remaining grey cells recall something about that from FIFA, but the other two can’t find it. Checked USSF, FIFA web sites, my archive of meaningless trivia, all to no avail.

I think they said they prefer clocks that count up, but it is not a requirement, and I think it only applies to FIFA competitions, but I can’t cite chapter and verse, and would like to for this particular (officious) person.

Do you have a reference?

USSF answer (September 30, 2004):
FIFA requires a count-up clock in games played under its rules of competition. In other words, the clock runs for “the length of time played” from 0:00 to 45:00 (plus added time) in the first half, from 45:00 (the added time is only for statistical purposes and does not count as part of the full 45 minutes) to 90:00 (plus added time) in the second half. In addition, time runs the same way for any periods of extra time required by the rules of the competition. This has been made clear in several memoranda and circulars dealing with the proper way to keep time. The most recent documents of this sort are available on the FIFA website. They are the regulations for the soccer competition at the 2004 Olympics and for the FIFA World Cup 2006 in Germany.

The wording in both documents is identical: “Clocks in the stadium showing the length of time played may run during the match, provided that they are stopped at the end of normal playing time in each half, i. e., after 45 and 90 minutes, respectively. This stipulation also applies in the event of extra time being played, i. e., after 15 and 30 minutes respectively.”

In an earlier circular, FIFA also specified how various events are to be recorded (i. e., deciding the time to be set down in the match report for a particular event), particularly when something occurs in “added” or “injury” time. For example, the referee might write, “I cautioned Player X for unsporting behavior in the 47th minute of the first half.”

Your question:
Recently I’ve seen some referees wearing socks with 3 stripes, while other are wearing total black socks….sometimes with a nike or adidas logos. Are the referees becoming lax or is this due to some uniform change?

USSF answer (September 29, 2004):
The only approved socks have the three white stripes or the US Soccer crest logo on the top.

Your question:
I have been a USSF referee for approximately 10 year now. I referee competition games for kids ranging in age from U10 to U19 and also do an occasional adult league game. I did a tournament semi-final U11 boys match a few weeks ago and had the following occur:
The ball was crossed from the wing just inside the 18. A defender jumped raising both arms high and crossed above his head. He miss-judged the ball. An attacker standing on the 18, played the ball with his head, directly into the raised arms of the jumping defender.

Having seen many of these young players jumping with arms raised above their head, and not judging it to be intentional. Also considering that he had already jumped with arms raised above his head, and determining that the ball was played into his arms, not that the player had intentional raised his arms to play the ball, I did not call a hand ball.

I also recall recently hearing that most calls of handling the ball are not in fact called correctly because the ball hit the hand, not the hand hitting the ball.

Again, I did not call the hand ball, which of course created no small stir amoung players, coaches and fans alike, (mostly from the attacking team). At half, the coach argued rather hotly regarding the no call. I explained my reasons, etc. and eventually had to warn the coach.

I have asked several other referees, coaches and players and all have basically agreed with my call. Just thought I’d ask you.

USSF answer (September 29, 2004):
If you are certain in your heart of hearts–or, better for referees, “head of heads”‹that this player always raised his hands for such plays, you may have made the correct call, but it seems unlikely. Experience shows that this sort of jumping with the arms raised is not a natural thing to do. The referee should look for unnatural things when judging whether or not the play with the hands is deliberate or not. There is no reason for nor benefit from jumping with the hands above the head other than to play the ball if all else fails. The only question would be whether the referee might judge the offense to be trifling (under very limited circumstances) or worth an advantage call.

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