2005 Part 4

Your question:
If a player leaves the field to receive medical attention we are now instructed to stop the game until the player is evaluated and it is decided that he/she can return. Is there a guideline as to how long we should hold up the game? Also, do we take into account where the ball is, which team has the ball etc… or do we stop the game immediately.

Second- Am I supposed to be addressing these questions to my SRA or are you the proper authority? I have sent you a few other emails and do not want to outlast my welcome, sort-a-speak.

USSF answer (December 23, 2005):
We believe you are referring to the change in the IFAB’s Q&A for this year, Law 3, Q&A 25:
25. A player, from a team with only seven players, leaves the field of play to receive medical attention. What action does the referee take?
The match will stop until this player has received treatment and returns to the field of play. If he is unable to return, the match is abandoned, unless the member association has decided otherwise with regard to the minimum number of players.

The decision as to when the player is unable to continue is at the discretion of the referee.

If play was stopped for the medical attention, the referee will restart with a dropped ball at the place where the ball at that time. If play was stopped for some other reason, then that reason governs the restart.

Questions are welcome and we are happy to respond to as many of them as possible. We do suggest, however, that you begin by searching out answers for yourself–the research is valuable. Local instructors can be a valuable resource for this, as can the SDI if the local instructors are not sure of the answer. You might also look through the archives, because you may very well find that your question has already been asked and answered. With over 140,000 referees in the United States, we would hope that this site is a source of last rather than first resort.

Your question:
Does a goal stand if it was discovered the team had two many players on the field at the time a goal was scored? What action should the referee take if the game had already been restarted and also what action should the referee take if the game had not been restarted?

USSF answer (December 22, 2005):
If the ball enters the goal with an ³extra² player or person in the game, the following chart provides principles for determining whether a goal has actually been scored.

Who Is Extra Discovered Before Kick-Off Discovered After Kick-Off
Attacker Goal Canceled*       Goal Counts
Defender Goal Counts   Goal Counts

This part of the process is simple and straightforward. The difficulty in this situation lies in determining the correct restart.

If an extra player or person is discovered on the attacking team before the ensuing kick-off, the goal does not count. The restart will vary, depending on circumstances.

The restart is an indirect free kick for the defending team (taken in accordance with the special circumstances described in Law 8) if the extra person was a substitute who had entered the game without the referee¹s permission.

However, if the person was a player who had left the game with the referee¹s permission for injury or other reason, or to correct equipment or bleeding, and then re-entered without permission, the restart would be an indirect free kick from the (approximate) place on the touch line where the player had re-entered.

The restart is a dropped ball (taken in accordance with the special circumstances described in Law 8) if the extra player was either an already substituted player (where the rules of competition follow Law 3 strictly and do not allow multiple entry and re-entry) or an outside agent (see Advice 1.8(d)). Referees must remember that already-substituted players remain under the authority of the referee and may be punished for misconduct, while outside agents may not.

If the extra person is discovered on the attacking team after the ensuing kick-off, the goal must be counted as the game has already restarted. The offending person is removed and the game is restarted in accordance with the Law. (See Advice 3.3.) If the extra person is an outside agent and still on the field, the correct restart is a dropped ball at the place where the ball was when play was stopped. If the game was stopped for some other purpose, the game is restarted for that reason.

Your question:
I need information regarding the correct protocol when a referee abandons a game. What should he do for writing what on the game report, referee report and sent to who, and the procedure on staying on the field while there may be a possible confrontation between players/ parents?

USSF answer (December 20, 2005):
If the referee determines that the game must be abandoned or terminated, then, unless there is some rule of the competition to the contrary, s/he announces the fact, gets the crew together, and leaves as quickly as possible. Whenever the referee remains in the “area of the field,” s/he continues to be responsible for the behavior of players, substitutes, and team officials who are also in the area of the field. There is no reason to remain where there is danger to the referee or other members of the officiating crew.

The referee is obligated to file a full report with the competition authority (league or tournament) and with the state association, with a cc to the SRA, as to the reason for abandoning or terminating the game. The report always goes to the authority with jurisdiction to mete out disciplinary action.

Your question:
I attended an entry-level clinic this past weekend. The teacher said that, if a player commits a red card offense and you don’t know who did the crime, you can red card any player because the team has to play short. And if you red card the wrong player, that maybe the one who committed the crime would come forward if it meant that his buddy would be sent off in his place. He said that it wasn’t helpful to talk to the captain to ask for his assistance in identifying the bad guy because he wouldn’t want to help send off his own teammate. He didn’t ask his ARs for assistance because the referee is in charge of the game and it would appear that the referee was not in charge if he had to ask for help. Is this fair?

USSF answer (December 19, 2005):
Refereeing must be a team effort in which all the team members are communicating information at all times. The referee and the ARs should be looking for information from one another at all stoppages and at any through balls. The officials must position themselves so that they can see any play that occurs within their view without duplicating the view of the other officials. If the referee is inattentive and misses the serious foul play or serious misconduct, then he or she should look to the nearer assistant referee for assistance.

In the case where none of the officials has seen the incident, the referee might employ various plans to determine whodunnit, but for a sending-off there should be either a direct admission from a player that he or she did it or some corroboration of a player’s accusation from a neutral person such as the assistant referee. Without firm evidence, the referee may not capriciously send off any player who just happens to be convenient. If neither the referee nor the assistant referee can confirm who committed the sending-off offense–in other words, who did the deed– then NO ONE can be sent off.

Your question:
If the opponent does not give 10 yards to begin with, is it appropriate to give a yellow card? And if a yellow card is given for not giving 10 yards and then the player backs off to 10 yards and asks the referee if ³this is good² at what point does the referee need to get involved and mark off the 10 yard mark? Does the referee have any reason to give a red card?

USSF answer (December 13, 2005):
Quick answer: The confident and self-assured referee will use methods other than cautions or send-offs to combat player misbehavior if at all possible. Such methods include the quiet word, the public admonition, or a bit of humor. What often renders this impossible are blatant acts of violence or less serious misconduct such as failure to retreat or dissent. In these cases, the referee has to look at both him- or herself and the players and determine why the “softer” methods did not work.

Longer answer: The intelligent referee picks her card-giving situations carefully so that they achieve the maximum impact for the least cost. Simply failing to retreat the required distance is not normally enough to warrant a caution (at least not above a certain age and skill level). First of all, it is the kicking team which decides whether they need to have the minimum distance enforced — the referee should back away and stay out of this matter unless the kicking team asks for assistance. Second, cautions for failing to respect the required distance should generally be saved for those opponents whose failure is blatant and/or whose offense made a difference (i.e., actually interfered with the free kick to the detriment of the kicking team).

As for your second question, if the yellow card has already been given for the misconduct and the cautioned player offers a serious (as opposed to satiric) attempt to comply with the minimum distance, why would the intelligent referee not want to provide assistance? However, such assistance should not generally include any action “to mark off the 10 yard mark.” Simply go to a point which is at least ten yards away (which you will know from long experience with estimating such distances), point it out, and then forcefully urge the opponent to comply. Player attempts to pace off the distance or to dispute the referee’s determination of the correct distance are forms of dissent and should not be allowed.

Your question:
Thank you for devoting time to allowing questions. You must be very patient folks.  I have listened to higher grade referees debating position papers, lotg, and power point presentations and questions persist. Even more confusion is added when position papers that are laws to us have inconsitencies:

Offside: The August 24, 2005 paper on Law 11 Decision 2 states that an attacker who is not challenged by an opponent nor competing for the ball with a teammate coming from an onside position should not be ruled offside unless the attacker phsycially touches the ball, assuming the offside attacker does not move or gesture to deceive, distract or obstruct an opponent.

The paper goes on to say that a player may be penalized before playing or touching the ball if no other teammate in an onside position has the opportunity to play the ball and there is no potential for physical contact with an opponent.

Although the paper tries to say the above are consistent this just does not appear to be the case. Practically, an opponent will always challenge so there is probably interference with an opponent, but the way these interpretations are written only add more confusion.

Penalty Kick: I have heard several different versions of what the change in law means. Some say “if the ball does not enter goal” really doesn’t mean that. If the kicking team encroaches and the ball is saved by the keeper then allow play to continue as advantage; if deflected by keeper and goes over goal line but not between posts, then corner kick; if does not enter goal, IFK regardless of any deflection. Any elaboration?

USSF answer (December 12, 2005):
With regard to the offside memorandum: There is some confusion between what FIFA has said and what we know that they have instructed referees to do at the international level. If a player is in an offside position and the ball is passed in his direction and it is clear that he will be the only player to get to it, there is no need to wait for the touch.

The answer on penalty kicks is really very simple: “Does not enter the goal” means exactly that. If the goalkeeper “saves” the penalty kick, then the ball didn’t enter the goal and, strictly according to Law 14 without regard to judgment as to doubtful or trifling, the restart has to be an indirect free kick where the infringement of Law 14 occurred.  Advantage does not apply to violations of Law 14.

Your question:
We had an incident where the scoring team had too many players on the field. Unfortunately, they didn’t realize this until after the goal was scored, as they were about to kick off. I instructed my referee to count the goal as good based on the fact that there was no call preceding the goal. I understand the procedure covered by law 3 however this incident seems unfair so I would very much appreciate clarification. Should the goal count…should we have removed the additional player and awarded a goal kick … where would we do a drop ball or indirect kick? We will probably never see this again but I and the coach’s would really like to know the right answer. Your help would be greatly appreciated!

USSF answer (December 8, 2005):
The goal must count (and full details included in the match report) if and only if play was restarted with a kick-off and the existence of the extra player was not discovered until after the restart.

If the existence of the extra player was discovered BEFORE the kick-off restart, deny the goal. Remove the twelfth player and caution him/her for entering the field without permission. Restart with an indirect free kick on the goal area line parallel to the goal line, in accordance with the special circumstances described in Law 8.

Note: this guidance applies only if the extra player was on the team scoring the goal.  If it was the defending team that had too many players, the goal will count under all circumstances.

Your question:
Just had a quick question on the recent memorandum (Memorandum 2005) regarding the July IFAB amendments. In particular, the amendment regarding infringements by the attacking team at the taking of a PK. The restarts are now to be IDK’s if the ball does not enter the net. But where are the restarts to take place?? At the point of infringement, i .e., the PK mark in the case of the kicker being the infringer, or near the 18 in the case of an attacking teammate entering the area prematurely? At the 6 or anywhere inside the goal area? I am also an instructor and will be holding my re-certification clinic this coming Sunday. If you could get back to me before then I would appreciate it.

USSF answer (December 8, 2005):
Restarts are given from the place at which the infringement occurred–wherever it is that the miscreant committed the violation of Law 14. Conceivably, in the case of a player moving closer to the goal line than the ball, this could even be outside the penalty area.

Your question:
During a U13 competitive cup game, and for the first 18 minutes of the game, Team A started the game with and continued to play with 12 players. With these 12 players, Team A scored 2 goals. Team B did not score during this time, but had approximately 6 shots on goal stopped, so they were offensively active.

After the referee realized the infringement had occurred, the extra player was removed. Team A scored a single goal during the rest of the game.

Team B did not score any goals throughout the game.

Final Game Score was 3 – 0.

The referee correctly realized and admitted he made a mistake. In fact, he wrote the following statement on the game card: “During first 18:00 minutes [Team A] had 12 players on the field. Referee did not notice the infringement. During that time [Team A] scored 2 goals w/12 players on the field.”

Seeing that during the first 18 minutes that Team A had an extra player on the field and knowing that this gave Team A’s defense an unfair advantage in defending and keeping Team B from scoring, what should the appropriate outcome be of the game be?
forfeit win for Team B?
1 – 0 win for Team A?,
3 – 0 win for Team A?,
replay the first 18 minutes?
replay the entire game?
or ???

USSF answer (December 7, 2005):
The referee did the correct thing in reporting the entire incident. The decision as to what should be done is up to the competition authority, i. e., the cup organizers (likely the state youth association).

Your question:
Great site which we frequently cite in weekly messages to our referees. Normally we agree 100% with your (USSF) answers but wish to explore further the USSF answer of November 28, 2005.
If the coach or other team officials want to know the referee’s name, they can ask and the referee should be prepared to give his or her name.

Rarely does a coach request a referee name under good circumstances to nominate them for ref of the year. Generally the coach is upset and wants to report the ref as though the assignor cannot figure out who the referee was on the game.

Although we instruct the 75% of our refs who are youth referees to introduce themselves to the coaches/teams before the match, our State Referee Administrator also has taken the position that a young referee is protected by Kid Safe — the same as players. No young referee (minor) should be approached by an angry adult and have to give their name.

As far as adults — no problem giving our names although perhaps a bit unnecessary as the assignors know where we are on each game. But I think back just two weeks ago when I was an AR with a 15 year old referee working a U13B travel match. The coach was berating her and demanded that she give him her name. Her lip started to quiver and I moved towards her and she turned her back to the coach and told me “I’m scared.”

I’m just wondering if USSF really wants our 13, 14, and 15 year old referees to give their names to the coaches. It seems as policy this would embolden coaches to be more, not less, confrontational.

USSF answer (December 7, 2005):
This is an addendum to an answer of November 28, 2005: We must all remember that there are rude and bullying people in every walk of life. Young referees, just like beginners in any endeavor, must learn to deal with them. As in life, so in refereeing.

Many coaches will try to intimidate referees, particularly young referees, by being rude and by asking for their names. The request for the name is legitimate under any circumstances, but rudeness and poor sportsmanship are not. The referee may also request the name of the coach or other team official, and should note that this will go into the match report.

Another way to deal with it is to simply give one’s name and then move quickly to get on with the game or move to one’s car. Full details (team, name, if available, and what happened) should be included in the match report.

Your question:
A ball from another game comes onto the field around the edge of the penalty area at the 18 yard line. The ball is stationary and has been on the field before the play had entered that half of the field. Play continues to the point where the attacking team gets the ball within 4-5 yards away from the outside agent outside the penalty area. The attacking team has clean possession but slows down since the ball is obstructing a passing and/or shooting lane. The referee doesn’t stop play since he feels the attacking team has advantage since they possess the ball. What is the correct call?

USSF answer (December 6, 2005):
If there was no proactive effort by anyone, including the refereeing “team,” to remove the extra ball from the field, the referee must stop play, remove the ball, and restart with a dropped ball. Please note that there is no such thing as “advantage” in this situation.

Your question:
Assistant referee is sprinting towards goal line, as he does so he looses control of his flag. The flag is about five yards behinnd him, at same time he notices that the ball has been played to an attacking player who is in an offside position. What is the proper procedure? A) should he run back to retreive flag and raise it up or b)should he stay where he is and get the referee’s attention in some other way like raising his arm?

USSF answer (December 6, 2005):
The AR needs to decide which is the more important issue,having a flag in one’s hand or signaling an offside as quickly as possible (consistent with accuracy)? The answer is clearly the second option. The assistant referee should choose the most efficient way out of the dilemma–standing at attention and raising the arm. If the referee communicates with the ARs properly, that means that they exchange information constantly, with the referee looking at the ARs on every through ball and the ARs watching one another for signals.

While it may seem like it makes us look foolish — standing there with our arm held as though it carried a flag– it is after all our fault for losing the flag in the first place. Suck it up.

Your question:
Question was a U10 keeper went for ball, missed it with her hands and caught it on the ground with her legs. She didn’t lay on the ball but was trying to get to it with her hands. Attacker tried to kick ball and referee awarded IFK to attacking team. A fellow referee cited FIFA Q&A for a keeper not in possession of ball lies on it and the referee calls playing in a dangerous manner. My take was the referee must have felt the keeper was playing in a dangerous manner and awarded an IFK accordingly. A third referee said, “The keeper has made a save. that’s what keeper’s do,however awkward the movement, he still made the save and has control of the ball. THE CONTROL DOES NOT HAVE TO BE WITH THE HANDS ONLY. (caps mine). The keeper was not playing in a dangerous manner. The attacker should have been called for an offense an a DFK awarded the keeper’s team.

My quibble is control WITHOUT hands. Would you mind clarifying this?

USSF answer (November 29, 2005):
The simple and only true answer–the decision is up to the referee’s evaluation of the total situation.

By having the ball trapped between her legs (and not yet having control with the hands), the goalkeeper MAY HAVE BEEN unfairly not allowing other players access to the ball–no matter how innocent her true intent. The important thing is how long the goalkeeper was lying on the ball and whether or not she was making an effort to get it into her hands. In other words, whether or not the ‘keeper was lying on the ball for an unreasonable amount of time.

For the referee to have called playing dangerously on the ‘keeper here, he would have to have decided that she had trapped the ball between her legs and was not making a reasonably speedy effort either to play the ball away from her or to gain hand control.  If it was a case of the ball winding up trapped between the keeper’s legs and more or less immediately thereafter the attacker challenged, then the proper call would have been AT LEAST playing dangerously against the attacker and possible a direct kick foul for kicking if the challenge involved actual contact.

The issue is whether the keeper delayed unnecessarily–if she did, then she was guilty of withholding the ball from SAFE play and that is a classic situation of playing dangerously; if she did not and the attacker’s challenge was virtually simultaneous with the ball becoming trapped, then she did NOT withhold the ball from play and the attacker’s action was either playing dangerously (indirect free kick) or a direct-free-kick foul.

Your question:
May an attacker charge the opposite goalkeeper?
1. Inside the keeper’s goal area;
2. Inside the rest of the keeper’s penalty area;
3. Outside of the keeper’s penalty area.

USSF answer (November 28, 2005):
Charging the opposing goalkeeper is possible only if the charging player and the goalkeeper are both going for a ball that is within playing distance of both but is not in the actual possession of the goalkeeper. If the goalkeeper has control of the ball in any manner other than with his hands (see Law 12, IBD 2 for the definition of “control”), an opponent may charge that ‘keeper in the same manner that he or she would charge a field player who has the ball. The Law presumes that a goalkeeper who has clear possession of the ball in his or her hands has up to six seconds to distribute the ball into play and any player who interferes with this distribution by charging or otherwise interfering should be sanctioned. Thus, if the goalkeeper legally has hand control of the ball, then the ‘keeper may NOT be charged, no matter where he or she is, and any attempt to do so could be punished with an indirect free kick or a direct free kick, depending on the circumstances. Again depending on the circumstances, the player might also be subject to a caution/yellow card for unsporting behavior.

Your question:
Are referees required to have the proper USSF Identification Card in their possession (or in their equipment bag, in the immediate vicinity) while performing their duty as referee? Must a referee give this information to the coach or other personnel if requested?

USSF answer (November 28, 2005):
No, although you must wear your badge, you are not required to have your registration card–it is NOT an identification card–with you at the game. If the coach or other team officials want to know the referee’s name, they can ask and the referee should be prepared to give his or her name. In this day of extreme caution, the referee should not give any other information, such as Social Security or identification number or phone (office or home) or address or e-mail address. If the person asking for the information wants to know more, tell them to contact the referee assignor for the competition.

Your question:
My question pertains to the following text in Law 3: “The rules of the competition must state how many substitutes may be nominated, from three up to a maximum of seven.”

Does that text refer only to official competitions organized by FIFA, the confederations, or the national associations? I am trying to ascertain whether “a greater number of substitutes” (under Other Matches) can be more than seven.

USSF answer (November 28, 2005):
The specific number of substitutes allowed is governed by the competition authority and must be published in the rules of the competition.

Your question:
Today for the first time ever a referee that claims he is very knowledgeable told me that if an attacking player that is in an offside position receives the ball from a throw in (by his team mate) that is deflected from a defenders head or body then he is offside and an offside call should be made since the exception states that it is not offside if the attacking player receives the ball “directly” from a throw in and in this case it was not received directly????

I disagreed with his interpretation. He told me that he looked it up and it was confirmed to him that he was correct. Is he correct?

USSF answer (November 28, 2005):
You are correct and the referee is dead wrong. Here is a previously-published answer from May 27, 2003, reissued here to keep the record straight: Your reasoning is correct: Deflections off opponents do not change the basic premise that a player cannot be called offside directly from a throw-in. In this case, the correct decision is that there was no infringement of the Law. Now, if the ball had been deflected by a teammate of the player in the offside position, the referee would have been correct in calling offside.

Your question:
My State association has just approved unlimited substitutions for next year. I have seen a post on your site for a similar question, but some scenarios were not discussed. I am sure the coaches will think of many ways to delay the game with these substitutions.

While Advice to Ref explains the substitution ins and outs, I cannot find any information on whether a player MUST come on, after being beckoned by the ref or some examples that IMO end up being time wasting. (My guess is not)
Example 1:
Player A is ready at the centerline.
Coach calls for substitution. Ref acknowledges substitution request. While Player B is in the process of coming off, coach tells ref that s/he does not want to sub anymore. IMO = Time wasting, but player B can either stay on or go off (had permission to leave)

Example 2: Player B has come off, referee beckons player A on, but coach decides not to send player A.
a) wants a different player (My call would be to continue the game with or without player B or A, not waiting for the new player and to tell the coach to have that “new” player ready for subbing at the next opportunity.
b) doesn’t want to sub anymore

Any advice on what is best and most practical (assuming proper subbing procedures)?

USSF answer (November 19, 2005):
The referee can and may not ignore requests for substitutions for any reason other than to ensure that the substitution conforms to the Law. Even if it seems that the purpose is to waste time, the referee cannot deny the request, but should exercise the power granted in Law 7 to add time lost through ‘any other cause.'” And, as Law 7 tells us: “The allowance for time lost is at the discretion of the referee.” In other words, the amount of time added is up to the referee.

If the substitute has reported correctly to the match official (fourth official or the assistant referee on that side of the field) before the stoppage, the referee, upon recognizing that fact, should allow the player to leave the field and the new player (substitute) to enter the field.  If the immediacy of the restart (which is the right of the team with the restart) naturally draws the referee’s attention away from any pending substitution requests, then the substitution will have to wait. A substitution, if properly requested, is a right not to be lightly denied. There are only two reasons to do it: Either the substitute is not ready or the team with the restart wants to restart immediately.

We need to remember that technically it is the player who requests the substitution, not the coach or any other team official. If the new player (at the direction of the coach or on his/her own) decides not to enter the game, then simply restart the game without the player who has left the field. The team will have to play down a player until the new player decides to complete the substitution process–but that new player will have to get the permission of the referee to enter. This will soon put a stop to any more foolishness by the coach. The failure of the substitute to enter the game when the referee has given permission could be regarded as delaying the restart of play, a cautionable offense.

There is of course another issue–namely, the ability of the player on the field to refuse to exit. This also is the player’s right, no matter what the coach wants and no matter how much the substitute may want to enter. Again, becoming aware of this situation, the referee can simply restart play leaving the player on the field and the coach and substitute fuming on the sideline. Life is tough.

Your question:
During the second half of a game referee issues red card to coach. Coach continues to dissent.  Assistant coach dissents/foul language-issued red card. No other coach on bench. What is the outcome of the game? Why?  Where is this in rule book?

USSF answer (November 16, 2005):
The referee has no authority under the Laws of the Game to show a card to any coach, assistant coach, or other team official, but this may be allowed by various rules of competition. If cards for coaches are permitted (or even required) by the rules of competition, then they must administered. If the referee chooses to accept a game in which the Laws are flouted or distorted by the competition. then the referee must enforce those rules of competition religiously.

Coaches receive little or no recognition under the Laws of the Game. They are mentioned twice, once in IBD 2 to Law 3 and under Powers and Duties of the Referee in Law 5. In both places the Laws make the point that the coach must BEHAVE RESPONSIBLY and thus may not shout, curse, interfere, or otherwise make a nuisance of him- or herself. The coach’s presence, or the presence of any other team official, is generally irrelevant to the game–under the Laws of the Game, but it may have some importance under the rules of youth competitions. If the coach or other team official is removed, known in the Law as “expelled,” that person must leave the field and its environs. If it is a youth game and the coach and all other team officials have been expelled, then the referee should consider abandoning the game. A full report must be filed with the competition authority. The referee has no authority to determine who has won or lost the game, whether by forfeit or any other process; that is the responsibility of the competition authority. The referee must file a report on all events associated with the abandonment.

Your question:
We are travelling from [from the northern part of our state to a] tournament next week [in the southern part of the state. I was just reading their rules, and one of their rules states that wire rimmed glasses are prohibited. They cite the [local] Referee Association’s page, which does in fact include that prohibition.

A quick google search identified Minnisota as the only other area of the country that appeared to be following this particular rule.

Given that glasses are used to correct a medical condition (well, maybe not all sunglasses) and are quite expensive, most children I know have only one pair with a current prescription (my own girls have to get their prescription changed about once every 8 months, and our insurance only covers once ever 24), this rule seems to be way over the top.

Most kids who play with them up here in northern Virginia have no problems with them, the rule sounds to me like there might have been one incident that led to its creation.

Once upon a time, I suspect that a referee told a player to remove a medic alert bracelet, and that caused a stink and the result was that medical/religious items can be taped.

Having worn glasses for over 40 years, and having played baseball, football, soccer, basketball and softball with them I can speak from experience that they do not pose any more of a hazard than plastic framed glasses..

Furthermore, I think it is likely that if it came to a head, the Americans with Disability Act Reasonable Accomodation provisions would fall on the side of the player with the wire rimmed glasses as they correct that medical condition.

Perhaps the national association could look into it and consider putting out a memorandum on the issue. An eyeglass strap seems a reasonable solution, and a player with bad eyesight playing without glasses could be even more a hazard without glasses than the glasses themselves.

USSF answer (November 16, 2005):
A referee association cannot make rules of competition. We believe this is a rule established by the state association. While states cannot make the rules less restrictive than the Laws of the Game, they can make them more restrictive–in this case with their eye on the safety of all players. Whether you agree with it or not, it is a rule in the competition in which you will be refereeing, so you must enforce it or not accept the games.

As you are also from the same state and are not familiar with this rule from your coaching and refereeing in [your area], we would suggest that it may be a rule of either the competition or simply a regional rule in [the southern part of the state].

Your question:
U-12 game, an attacker, contesting for the ball right at the mouth of the goal box, kicks the keeper hard enough in the thigh to stop play. no foul was called, even though the center was right there. less than five minutes later, the same attacker directs a hard tackle at the same ‘keeper, (no contact, but it rattled the keeper enough to drop the ball which he had just collected. again, no call.

I know that an attacker has a right to challenge for the ball, providing he does not impede or foul him/her, but i have had it stressed throughout my training that we (refs) must protect the keeper and that the keepers know this. so…. WHERE do we draw the line?

at the very least, i would have verbally warned the attacker for the first action, and carded him for the second.

agree/ disagree?

USSF answer (November 15, 2005):
Goalkeepers are entitled to no more protection than any other players–regardless of what their teammates and they (and your trainers) might think. The intelligent referee will ensure that any fouls on the goalkeeper are punished just as quickly and thoroughly as those against other players. This same intelligent referee will also consider the age and experience of the players in making that decision.

When the players (and ‘keeper) have an expectation of “protection,” no matter how unjustified from the point of view of the Law, it is wise to recall that the players will act based on THEIR expectation.  In short, even when the challenge is fair, we may need to take at least some action toward the opponent in order to defuse the situation and reduce the likelihood of retaliation.  Of course, this action may be nothing more than an increased presence or a nonspecific warning.

It is also a fact that ‘keepers–because of the single right they have that is not shared by any other players of handling the ball inside their penalty area–tend to put themselves into more dangerous situations than would be the case for any of their teammates.  Either in diving for a ball on the ground or leaping in the air for a ball high up, the goalkeeper is more easily subject to more serious injuries as a result of contact which, if it involved a field player, would not be a foul.

In the scenario you present, the player who kicked the goalkeeper in the thigh should have been called for kicking and possibly–depending on the game situation and how the referee perceived the action–cautioned for unsporting behavior or sent off for serious foul play. There is little remedy for the “hard tackle” that made no contact. That is part of how the game should be played, hard but fair. The Law does not provide protection for iron hands and butterfingers.

Your question:
I’ve been kinda curious about this. The supplementary materail found in the USSF publication of the Laws of the Game and the Advice to Referees both seem to say that water can *only* be given/taken/etc. on the touchline. Hence, this would mean that water could not be kept on the goal line. However, I have been told that in professional matches, you can see the goalkeepers for both sides are allowed, and do, have water, a towel, and other accessory equipment behind the goal line. I’ve never noticed this.

What is exactly the rule regarding water and where players can have it?

USSF answer (November 15, 2005):
There is nothing in the Laws of the Game regarding water and where players can have it. However, under the requirements of Law 4, all equipment used by players must be safe, and it is not considered safe to have water containers on the field of play. (Too many incidents have come about with thrown bottles or bottles used as weapons.)

The USSF publication “Instructions for Referees and Resolutions Affecting Team Coaches and Players” for 2005 (and previous years) states:
23. Liquid refreshments during the match
Players shall be entitled to take liquid refreshments during a stoppage in the match but only on the touchline. Players may not leave the field during play to take liquids. It is forbidden to throw plastic water bags or any other water containers onto the field.

Goalkeepers are slightly different creatures than other players and are traditionally allowed some privileges that the other players are not, such as wearing a cap to keep the sun or rain out of their eyes. Because it is more difficult for a goalkeeper to run to the touch line for a drink of water or for a towel to wipe off sweat, another of those privileges is to have a bottle of water and a towel either inside their goal or just over the goal line next to the goal. This equipment may not be kept on the field of play.

Your question:
In a recent men premier league attacker has the ball and is dribbling towards the goal chased by a defender shoulder to shoulder. At the 20 yard from the goal the defender attempt to trip the attacker who being over 6′ tall shook off the attempt and continue to dribble into the penalty area but was not able to regain his footing and fell. As I gave an advantage at the 20 yard I called back the advantage for a free kick to the attacking team who scored. Should I also red carded the defender for attempting to trip the player clearly heading towards the goal although I gave an advantage?

USSF answer (November 15, 2005):
While it is certainly the referee’s prerogative to invoke the advantage clause and then call the play back to the spot of the original foul if the advantage does not develop, it is very rare in cases of denying a goal or a goalscoring opportunity, which should be dealt with immediately.

We cannot give you a more complete answer, as your scenario does not tell us where any other defenders were.

Your question:
I read somewhere that the soccer referee’s whistle was introduced in 1878. Prior to this a referee had to rely on waving a handkerchief.  Is this true?

USSF answer (November 15, 2005):
Yes, this is true. We would add that the referee was not mentioned in the laws until 1880.

Your question:
If an ineligible player steps on the field in the second half of a match, causes a fight in which both players are given red cards- the game has already been declared a forfeit but does the red card stand by the other player who was not ineligible?

USSF answer (November 14, 2005):
The referee cannot decide the result of any game, so it is interesting to hear that it has already been declared a forfeit–only the competition authority has the power to do that. If the ineligible player was sent off and shown the red card, the referee must include all details in the match report. The same holds true for the player who was participating in accordance with the rules. Only the competition has the authority to decide what happens to players (or otherwise) who have been sent off and shown the red card.

Your question:
Regarding the below scenario, and assuming that the ball moved Œenough¹ to be in play, this tactic seems to be much Œen vogue¹ currently. Two questions:
1) Do you have any problem with it from a Œspirit of the game¹ perspective? I don¹t in general, but in practice I see problems: For instance, what about a player who puts the ball on the arc and then Œadjusts¹ it with his foot? I would normally consider this to be a Œtrifling¹ infrigement (like a player who tosses the ball onto the field to a teammate for the receiver to take the throwin) but once pandora¹s box is open, it¹s hard to see how the defense it to know what a kick is and what an adjustment is. Your thoughts?

2) Does the age of the players make a difference? U10? U9?

3) What would you advise a referee to do if a coach Œpre screens¹ the tactic to you before a U10 game? That is, comes to referee and says: ³We plan to run this play during the game; is that okay with you?²

[The question refers to our answer of 25 October 2005 that at a corner kick a simple tap of the ball is fine, as long as there is some detectable movement.]

USSF answer (November 14, 2005):
1) The kicking team is always given more leeway than the defending team for deceptive tactics, but adjusting the ball with the foot is not the same as kicking it. (And why would you consider tossing the ball to a teammate to take the throw-in to be an infringement, trifling or not?)

We recommend for your reading this brief article, to be published in the next issue of Fair Play:
The Kick Restart
Dan Heldman and Jim Allen

This is a simple guide for referees‹and for the players whose games they officiate‹on what it means to kick the ball at a restart.

The first requirement of any kick restart (free kick, penalty kick, corner kick, goal kick) is that the ball be “kicked,” rather than merely touched or dragged with the foot, to be considered as ³kicked.² The foot must be used, no other body part. The second requirement is that the foot must cause the ball to “move” to another place. In other words, as a result of the action of the foot, the ball goes from here to there. A simple tap on the top of the ball, even though it may cause the ball to quiver, tremble, or shake, that does not make that ball move to a new space, is not a kick. Nor is putting one’s foot on the ball and dragging or rolling it to a new space considered to be a kick.

Such simple concepts‹”kick” and “move²‹ but difficult to define without being complex, technical, or obscure. The referee has to make the final decision on what is a “kick” and what is “not a kick.” This must be based on his or her feeling for the game‹what FIFA calls “Fingerspitzengefuehl.² The bottom line is that not everything that produces movement of the ball is a kick and thus would not legally put the ball into play in any of the kicking restarts.

2) No, the age of the players makes no difference. It’s a hard world out there; they need to learn how to play soccer sometime.

3) If a coach “prescreens” the tactic, the referee should simply thank the coach for the information and state that each incident will be judged on its merit, not on some preconceived notion.

Your question:
I was just wondering ways on how to deal with coaches that are disrespectful and condescending, basically how do you deal with coaches who yell and scream at you to a point that has crossed the line. I am a grade 9 ref and have encountered this type of coach numerous times, but i have never know what to do if it gets really out of hand. Can you caution or even send off a coach? Can you abandon a match because of a “mean” coach?

USSF answer (November 14, 2005):
Coaches are expected to behave responsibly. (See Law 5 and Law 3, IBD 2, the only places in the Laws that team officials are mentioned.) The referee’s first line of defense (unless the behavior is REALLY egregious) is to warn the coach who is behaving irresponsibly. This is the equivalent of a caution, but no card is shown. Then, when the behavior persists (as it usually does, because most coaches who behave this way fail to understand that they must change their errant ways), the coach is expelled from the field. Please note that under the Laws of the Game, no card may be shown; however, showing the card may be a requirement of the rules of the competition.

Terminating the match generally should be reserved for situations in which the coach, though ordered from the field, refuses to leave (just as one would do in a similar case involving a player).

Your question:
The score is 3 – 2 in favor of the defending team Z.and there is only 25 seconds left in the game. Player A, an aggressive and fast forward on the attacking team is standing just outside the penalty area because the goalie has picked the high ball out of the air about 10 yards from where player A has stopped his run. All the goalies’ other team members were beaten in the breakaway by player A, and are not near enough to mark him. Goalie Z realizing the great threat that player A is, assaults player A with the ball.  He runs to a position where he can deliberately throw the ball at player A’s head. He succeeds in hitting player A, who is still standing just outside the area, with the ball directly in the nose causing the player A to bleed from the nose. By the time the referee can assess the situation and have player A carried off the field time for the game there is only 3 seconds left on the clock. And team Z has all moved back to defend the goal.

What should the referee do to administer justice and satisfaction for the game?
What is the restart?
Should additional time be added to the clock?

USSF answer (November 10, 2005):
The correct restart, once the goalkeeper has been shown the red card and sent off for violent conduct, is a direct free kick from the place where the ball hit attacker A.

The referee is the sole judge of the amount of time remaining in any period of play. Surely the referee will exercise common sense and consider the Spirit of the Game in determining how much time to add.

There is little else the referee can do to “administer justice and satisfaction” for the attacking team. Doing anything other than what is listed in the previous two paragraphs would be counter to both the Laws and the Spirit of the Game.

Your question:
1. I need clarification. During a recent match, I was checking in the players. One player had a sling on her shoulder. I asked her if she was under a doctor’s care. She said she had seen a doctor about 1 and1/2 months ago for a tendon problem in her arm and so she wore the sling to stabilize/protect her arm/shoulder. She said she could play with the sling on. I told she could not play with it on. She said I could take it off, but “I might get hurt.” I then told her that I would like to see a medical release from the doctor giving clearance to play. She couldn’t and I told her she could not play. The coach went on to say that other officials allowed her to play in the past 6 weeks. I just did not feel comfortable with her playing as safety is my first concern for the players.

Seeing how other players were knee braces, etc., how do we handle medical conditions that seem apparent and when the player gives us more information that makes us feel even more uncomfortable about their status?

How do we also handle coaches and parents that say their players can play? What are the liability issues involved?

Guidance would be appreciated!!!

2. As the our district referee director I have been asked about the following situation and to advise the District Board of Directors on what the correct procedure would be. I have not been able to find anything that is clear on what should/could have been done. Was the referee correct? I think that he has the authority to disallow an unsafe situation, at the same time I think he may not have been wise in the decision that he made. Please provide some direction. Thanks.

The following is part a letter from the mother of a U-12 girls team member:
My daughter collided with another soccer player in a game a month or so ago. I took her into [a doctor] a few days later. He x-rayed her collarbone. She did not break it. She pulled some tendons in the lower part of her collar bone. He told her not to lift her arm above her head, or pull it way back behind her for a few weeks. He also told her that she could wear a sling to help support her arm and keep it from going too far back. My daughter asked him at that time if she could play soccer. He told her that he felt she could, as long as she would take herself out of the game, if it started to bother her a lot. I kept her out of the next two games, just as a precaution. She started back playing with her sling, and played 6 games with the sling. We didn’t have one referee tell her that she could not play with the sling.

On Monday, my daughter rode to the soccer game with her coach. I was about 5 minutes late to the game. When the girls went to show their cleats and shin guards to the referee before the game, the referee asked my daughter if she was planning on playing in the game. She said yes, and he then told her “not anymore, you are not.” My daughter didn’t even realize why he had said that. She had no idea why he had told her that. She went and told her coach and he went and asked him why. [The referee] told [the coach] that it was because she had an injury and that he wouldn’t be held liable. [The coach] tried to explain to him that my daughter had played the last 6 games with the sling and that it she was just wearing it for support. She also told him that she could take the sling off, if he wanted. His only reply was that she is not playing. By this time, my daughter was crying.

When I arrived the coach and my daughter explained to me what happened. I called [the referee assignor] during the first half of the game and explained to her what was going on. She told me that she had no problems with her playing in the game, and that I should talk to him at half time and explain the extent of her injury. When I tried to talk to him at half time he was very hard to talk to, and unwilling to even listen to me. I did tell him that I had talked to [the assignor]. I also asked him why the referees in the last 6 games did not have a problem with her playing. Our coach had a copy of the waiver that I had signed at the beginning of the season stating that I would be responsible for any injury, or even death that may happen during a game, and that the referee could not be held liable. The coach for our team and the coach for the team we were playing both tried to talk to him and explain to him that a support for her arm was no different than a support brace for a knee. There were several girls on both teams wearing knee braces.

I felt he was very unwilling to communicate with us or give us a real valid reason as to why she could not play. I do not understand why a player can play with a knee brace, for support, but cannot play if she is wearing a sling, for support. The rules should really be the same for any player who is playing whether it be with a sling or a knee brace, or an ankle brace, etc. Both teams left that game with a bad feeling. The parents and the coach on the opposing team were as shocked as I was. They were very helpful and supportive. In fact, the coach on the other team asked [the referee] what it would take to be able to let this little 12-year-old girl play her last game. Again, his only reply was, she is not playing.

USSF answer (November 9, 2005):
As long as the provisions of Law 4 regarding player safety are observed, the referee has no authority to tell a player she cannot play with a sling on her shoulder. If the player uses the sling to control the ball or for other illegal purposes, the sling comes off or the player goes–after being cautioned and shown the yellow card for unsporting behavior.

If the referee simply enforces Law 4, the player and her parents assume all responsibility for any further injury.

Your question:
A recent question on a referee test has me confused:
Time has been extended at half-time or full-time for a penalty kick. The ball strikes the crossbar, deflects down and bounces off the goalkeeper, who is on the field of play, and goes into the goal. According to LOTG 2005, page 45, this is a good goal.

Is the result any different if the goal keeper is farther away from the goal line? The test (and the answer presented as correct) indicates no goal if the ball strkes the keeper (and deflects in) out past the goal area line.

USSF answer (November 8, 2005):
The question you inquire about is number 97:
97. The game has been extended to allow for the taking of a penalty kick. The kick, correctly taken, rebounds off the crossbar and deflects off the goalkeeper, who by this time is six yards from the goal line, and into the goal. According to the Laws of the Game, a goal should be awarded.
a. true. b. false.

The answer to this question is true, under both the Laws and Q&A and on the test key. Occasionally an instructor will change the keys to the answers provided by the Federation at a clinic based on his or her “superior” understanding of the question.

Your question:
Player A of the attacking team and Player D of the defending team are playing the ball they both go over the end line while playing the ball. The ball cleared out to around the 18 yd line. Player D falls down and rolls furhter off the field. Player A gets up and runs back onto the field.

The goalkeeper is in the goal area and Player A is outside the goal area. Player D is attempting to get up.

Player A1 (attacking team) passes the ball forward to Player A who is standing alone. Player D runs back onto the field after the pass and the shot is saved.

Please explain the rule and recommended Referee and AR positions and responsibilities.

USSF answer (November 7, 2005):
Players A and D went over the goal line during the course of play. D then fell down and struggled to return to the field, returning only after the pass from A1 to A. Provided that A was NOT nearer to the goal line than the defending goalkeeper,in which case A would be in an offside position, there was no offside and there is no decision to make. Defenders legally off the field in the normal course of play, who are not being restrained by an opponent from returning to the field, are counted in determining who is the second last defender just as though the defender were on the closest part of the goal line.

The referee should be in such a position that he or she can see the ball and where play will go, is out of any space that the players need, and can see the AR. The AR should be in line with the ball or the second last defender, whichever is nearer to the goal line.

Your question:
In a recent game a shot on goal was stopped by the goalkeeper, but the ball was still bouncing on the goal line. As the goalie tried to possess it he pushed the ball completely over the goal line but the referee could not see the ball went in. Fortunately, the Assistant referee on that end was on the goal line and saw the ball was in. The Assistant sprinted up the touchline, but did not raise his flag to show the referee that the ball was out-of-play before he ran. The referee was confused, and did not react to the assistant’s run as it appeared all he was trying to do was get back in position for offside. Should the Assistant have raised the flag FIRST, to tell the referee the ball was out, and THEN after the referee blew the whistle – sprint up the touchline to indicate a goal was scored? A chocolate malt rests on your interpretation.

USSF answer (November 5, 2005):
Here is the answer, straight from the USSF publication “Guide to Procedures for Referees, Assistant Referees and Fourth Officials,” 2005 edition:
Lead Assistant Referee
* If the ball briefly but fully enters the goal and is continuing to be played, raises the flag vertically to get the referee’s attention and then, after the referee stops play, puts flag straight down and follows the remaining procedures for a goal
* Runs a short distance up the touch line toward the halfway line to affirm that a goal has been scored
//rest deleted//

Your question:
At the end of a youth soccer match a player from Team A deliberately and aggressively moves toward a player from Team B with the clear intention of starting an altercation. The player from Team A states that he is going to ³kick his a**². The player from Team B allegedly called him a ³*itch² during the game. The Coach from Team A [B is correct] witnesses the incident and moves to intercede by approaching the player from Team A. The other players from Team A were also trying the restrain the player from Team A with little success. The Coach from Team B places his hands on the shoulders of the player from Team A, turns the player from Team A away from the area and marches the player from Team A back to the Coach from Team A. The Coach from Team A then tells Coach B to ³keep his hands off his players². Coach A had made no effort to intercede in the altercation due to his proximity on the field.

My questions are:
1. Was it appropriate for the Coach from Team B to intercede the player from Team A?
2. Was it appropriate for the Coach from Team B to touch the player from Team B by physically restraining him and them physically move him back to the Coach from Team B?
3. What amount of force is reasonable to prevent an altercation of this type?
4. Are there any written guidelines from any governing bodies that specifically address this type of situation?

USSF answer (November 4, 2005):
A team official is expected to behave responsibly. The obligation of the referee to act in this area ends at the same time as it ends regarding the players, at the conclusion of the match, except in very limited circumstances. The referee may decide to include information about the dispute in the match report but, otherwise, it should be up to the coaches to file complaints with their respective leagues or organizations if they feel another coach or team official has behaved incorrectly.

Your question:
What is the definition of the penalty area ie, when is the goalie considered out of the box. Is this an imaginary line straight up from the line? A goalie coming to line to clear a save got called for a hand ball because “as she was preparing to kick it, she put the ball out over this imaginary line”. She did not step over the line until after the kick and the ball never touched outside of the penalty area.

What is the correct ruling here?

USSF answer (November 4, 2005):
The correct reasoning in this matter covers two areas, one is the geography of the field, the other is the discretion of the referee.

According to Law 1, the lines belong to the areas they bound. Thus, the lines marking the penalty area (the goal line, the two lines perpendicular to the goal line and 18 yards out from the inside of the goal post, and the 44-yard long line located parallel to the goal line and 18 yards out from it) are part of the penalty area. These lines extend upwards as far as is necessary, just as do the touch lines along the sides of the field. A ball that is within the vertical plane of the penalty area line is in the penalty area. It makes no difference where the goalkeeper’s hands are at the time of touching this ball–they can be inside the area of outside the area. What is important is the location of the ball itself.

The goalkeeper is expected to release the ball from her hands within the penalty area, but may kick it with the foot even though she has stepped outside the penalty area. The referee is the only person on the field who can decide where this happened. (The referee may sometimes ask for the opinion of the assistant referee on the touch line.)

However, you might also wish to consider the offense doubtful or trifling. Who is to say that, in the process of punting the ball, there was or was not a moment when full hand contact with the ball was made while the ball was wholly outside the penalty area? Even if this is the case, we whistle only if the offense is not trifling. As long as the ‘keeper was actively releasing the ball into play and was not gaining an unfair advantage, so what?

As a rule, the intelligent referee will allow a goalkeeper to kick the ball even if she has released it just outside the line, but will speak firmly and quickly with the goalkeeper about remaining with the area while still holding the ball in her hands. If the offense occurs a second time, then the referee should punish it.

Your question:
I would like to know if Law 4 permits jewelry this the referee regards as safe given the circumstances. For example, can a 10-year-old girl in a recreational league wear a post earrings if they are a small?

I have read position papers dated 10/29/01, 3/7/2003, and 3/17/ 2003. Both papers which refer to jewelry refer to “Additional Instructions for Referees…” in the 2001-2002 and 2002-2003 Law of the Game publications. The language they quote is different than the language at page 63 of the 2005-2006 manual. The present language says “players may not wear any kind of jewelry, which is dangerous… If it is dangerous, it must be removed…”

If it is still the rule that no jewelry except religious jewelry or wedding bands can be worn, I’d like to know how one explains the present language at page 63 which clearly implies jewelry could be worn if it is safe.

USSF answer (November 4, 2005):
Your reading of the language on p. 63 is incorrect. The phrase “which is dangerous” means that jewelry in and of itself is dangerous. It does not mean that only jewelry that is not dangerous may be worn.

That means that NO JEWELRY may be worn.

Your question:
NOTE: Two players ask about a recent game in which the referee committed several egregious errors and then manufactured a misleading match report.
1. I have question regarding re-starting a game after an injury. While playing a game at the weekend, a player on the opposition was injured. While he lay on the ground our team kicked the ball out of play so that he could receive attention. After he was carried off the field their goal-keeper went over to see the injured player. While he was off the field , their player restarted the game by throwing the ball back to us, unaware that his goal keeper was still off the field and some way from his goal.

We then went to their end and scored a goal. The referee indicated a goal, but then their team surrounded him insisting that they were not ready to re-start even though it was one of their players that re-started the game, the referee agreed with their protests and disallowed the goal and resumed play with a throw-in.

My question is was this a mis-application of the rules by the referee? It was their decision to throw the ball back in, (the referee had blown his whistle to allow play to be resumed) the fact their player did not notice that their goal -keeper was not in position is irrelevant. Am I correct?

2. I play in [a] men’s league affiliated with the USSF. I’ve checked your archives, and there are some intresting and unique situations, but I have yet to find one to rival the one I’ll tell you. The incident happened this past Saturday, I’ll explain as precisely as possible…

For simplicity, let’s say the teams are called “A” and “B”.

Team B had an injured player deep in team A’s half—no penalty, and team A kicked the ball out of bounds out of sportsmanship. The injury was rather severe, and took 3-4 minutes before the injured player was carried off the field. Once he was off, TEAM B threw the ball in back to team A Left Back (sportsmanship) along A’s left wing, still very deep in their own end, and play resumed as normal (or so we thought) A’s Left Back passed to the Left Wing, who dribbled past two men toward the net. The LW scored the goal on a surprisingly empty Team A net, to tie the game. It turns out the goalkeeper was assisting the injured player (on the other end of the field), and had not yet recovered back to his goal in time (He was at the 18 when the goal was scored). The referee called it a goal, which was met with the protests of ALL of TEAM B. The entire team surrounded the ref and yelled, but for about 3 minutes, the referee stood by his decision. Then, one player on B went to the linesman to talk. The linesman then called the ref over, and after a minute of talk, the goal was disallowed, and play was restarted (after thorough protest from Team A) at the throw-in which already occurred about 50 seconds before the would-be goal! The ref gave as the reason for the overturned goal “sportsmanship”. The kicker is that the ref, upon leaving the linesman, picked up the ball and very slowly walked right through the center circle. You could hear both teams collectively hold their breaths as he walked to the center with ball in hand, and then kept walking to the sideline on the left side. As soon as his feet crossed past midfield, Team A did the exact same thing as Team B did when the goal was originally called. If it didn’t affect my team so negatively, I would actually think it was comical how this whole thing turned out.

Here are the bottom lines that confuse me the most with this call:
1-Everyone was ready–the Refs, Team A, and Team B with the exception of the goaltender
2-TEAM B was the one to throw the ball in, Not A. So, isn’t it their own fault for restarting play when their own keeper was unready?
3-The ref called a goal, and after 5 minutes of very intimidating arguments by Team B (containing MANY LARGE, aggressive players), the ref overturned his call in favor of “sportsmanship”–the linesman was the one to convince the ref to change his call. (The other linesman had NO part in making the decision)
4-play restarted at the throw-in that had already occurred, in essence erasing about one minute’s worth of soccer in which, until the goal was actually scored, 24 of 25 people (including 3 officials, minus team B keeper) on the field were playing as if nothing were out of the ordinary.
5-the play would have resulted in the left wing going 1-on-1 with the keeper, if he was there. So we should completely erase that goal AND the incredible scoring opportunity A generated simply because the goalkeeper wasn’t prepared–even though HIS OWN teammate was the one who restarted play??

I think I should also say that prior to the throw in, the referee blew his whistle signifying the resuming of play.

That about sums it up. Thank you so much for your time. We are currently looking into protesting the result of the match, so your expedient response would be GREATLY appreciated!

USSF answer (November 4, 2005):
First the answer to the questions asked by two different people. This will be followed by an excerpt from the referee’s match report.

There is no requirement that the goalkeeper be on the field of play at any particular moment during the game. As the goalkeeper’s team restarted play without him there, this would appear to have been a misapplication of the Laws by the referee who took away a legitimately scored goal.

The referee’s misapplication of the Law occurred AFTER a correct application (recognizing the goal). The two accounts are remarkably consistent with each other in all important points. Of course, the real bottom line question is, did the referee have the power to do what he ultimately did? Yes, because play had not restarted (a kick-off). Did the referee have a basis in the Law (much less the specific reason he gave)? No.

The referee’s report differs from that of the questioners: “At the 88th minute of play, one of the [Team B] players was injured in the [Team A] keeper’s box. The ball was played out of bound. The player was treated and subbed out. The ball was thrown into play by Team B while trainers were still on the field and AR were managing the substitution. In addition, [Team B] goalkeeper was in the [Team A] half of the field. In three quick plays the ball was in the net of [Team B]. The goal was disallowed for the restart did not take place with the referee’s approval.”

Your question:
This incident occured to one of my referee friends at a BU12 challenge game. The attacking team crossed the ball into the PA. It was deflected into the air by another player, and was coming towards an attacker within the GA. The attacker had his back to the goal and was waiting for the ball to land at his feet, except it never got there – the goalkeeper came up behind the attacker, reached around him with both arms (one on each side), and caught the ball in the air. Freeze time here – the attacker is standing with his back to the goal, with both his arms at his sides. The goalkeeper is behind the attacker, with one arm on each side, and has caught the ball in front of the attacker, at about waist/chest level. The goalkeeper made little to no contact with the attacker in the course of catching the ball.

Was the play by the goalkeeper legal? If so, what are the attacker’s options at this point? What are the goalkeeper’s options?

USSF answer (November 4, 2005):
No, as you describe it, the play by the goalkeeper was not legal. While it may seem extreme, the correct call is holding and restart with a penalty kick.

Your question:
I was the Center Referee in a BU17 match last week where we had was an interesting miscommunication.

My ARs were both teenagers, and I had never worked with either AR before. Both seemed to be doing very well.

Mid-way through the 2nd half, Red R1 took a throw-in within 10 yards of the goal line, on the half Red was attacking. The throw was taken on my side of the field, where I was roughly even with R1 and just inside the penalty area.

Red player R2 received the throw-in. He was near the goal line on my side of the field, and just inside the goal area. R2 was clearly in offside position. The high, arcing throw was slightly beyond him, but he one-touched the ball off his outstretched and elevated foot to a teammate who was directly in front of the goal.

At this point, my AR raised her flag straight up and stationary. I looked at her, and she brought the flag down to the horizontal. I thought to myself, “The ball came directly from a throw-in; offside is not in force.” I waved her off. She looked surprised, but lowered the flag and immediately re-engaged in play. The ball was eventually cleared beyond midfield.

After the game, I asked her about the call. She said she was signaling ball out (flag up) and goal kick (flag horizontal), because she saw the ball cross the goal line before R2’s kick brought it back in. She clearly had the position for that call. She seems to have signaled the call correctly.

The signals for goal kick on a quick in-and-out, and for offside with a restart near the center of the field, seem identical in this situation. But there may be something subtle that I am missing. I’d like to know how other Referees make the two signals distinct, so that my partners and I can do better next time.

USSF answer (November 4, 2005):
Your AR gave precisely the right signal for a ball out of play over the goal line and back in again–and for offside. As there might some confusion between the two signals, it is probably wise to discuss this in your pregame conference. This will allow you to ensure that it doesn’t happen again.

P. 19 of the Guide to Procedures says for Offside:
Lead Assistant Referee
– Raises the flag vertically
– If the referee misses the flag, stays at attention with the flag raised until the defense gains clear possession or until a goal kick or throw-in is awarded to the defense
– After making eye contact with the referee, indicates the location of the offense by dropping the flag at an appropriate angle to a point in the field (far, middle, near side)

P. 20 of the Guide to Procedures says for Goal Kick:
Assistant Referee
– Points flag horizontally toward goal area if ball crosses assistant referee¹s side of the goal line or if referee makes eye contact to ask for assistance
– If the ball passes out of play and immediately returns to the field, signals with a vertical flag until acknowledged by the referee, then points flag horizontally toward goal area

These are indeed very similar mechanics for two different situations, where the distinction between them usually depends on what is covered in the pregame, the knowledge/skill level of the officials, and the extent to which they are used to working with one another.

The way to distinguish them depends on making one or both of two observations. First, was there any possibility of an offside? If not, then the AR’s actions have to indicate a ball off the field across the goal line last played by an attacker but back on the field and still being played. Second, if there was an offside possibility, then the referee looks at the AR’s position. If the AR is up from the goal line, then the referee will assume the signal is for an offside because it is highly unlikely that the possible offside would be right on the goal line. If the AR is right on the goal line, then the referee would assume that the AR has (properly) followed the ball all the way down to the goal line and is therefore NOT signaling an offside.

If all the fates have conspired against you and there is an offside possibility (an attacker is right on the goal line) and the AR is right on the goal line, then take your best guess and rely on the AR to inform you that you were setting up for the wrong restart (whichever it was) — i.e., if you incorrectly called an offside when the real problem was the ball leaving the field, the AR would simply inform you that you should be restarting with a goal kick instead of an indirect free kick.

The key element here is trust.

Your question:
My son is a young referee in our small league he is level 9 certified and as in his usual dress prides himself in wearing the “proper uniform” which as he was instructed by his assignor is yellow shirt, black shorts, socks and shoes. In our league this has been the standard for the 12 years I have been involved. Recently one of the associations who wears yellow/navy as a jersey has 1 team who has been really pushing the referees to change their shirts or throw a penny on. This is a U12 team and my son while young is 5’9″ 160 pounds so he obviously doesn’t look like the girls. I was really just trying to get clarification on exactly whose responsibility it is to change. We have quite a few young refs who have all made the initial investment in the required uniform and this coach is pushing the issue so hard it is to the point many may not need the one they have because they probably won’t be back. I have taken the extra step and purchased him another color but my question really is can or should the coach of a recreation team be allowed to dictate what a certified official can wear. I have read all I can find on the subject and the closest I can find is “If the uniform colors worn by a goalkeeper and the referee or by a team (or both teams) and the referee are similar enough to invite confusion, the referee must attempt to have the goalkeeper or the team(s) change to different colors. If there is no way to resolve the color similarity, then the referee (and the assistant referees) must wear the colors that conflict least with the players.” Any insight you could give would be appreciated. I may be biased of course but I think he does a good job and in years to come will grow to be a great official. I just hate to see him quit because of something that may should not be allowed.

USSF answer (November 3, 2005):
The IFAB’s Questions and Answers on the Laws of the Game, usually called the FIFA Q&A, was changed this year. Now the teams must change–but the intelligent referee will use that intelligence in these situations to avoid major problems. Here is the appropriate citation from the Q&A, Law 4, Q&A 2:
2. According to Law 4, the players of each team and their goalkeepers must wear jerseys or shirts of different colours to distinguish them from the other players. Must the referee and the assistant referees wear clothes with different colours to the players?
No. The players and goalkeepers must wear clothing that distinguishes them from the referee and assistant referees.

Your question:
Team A attacking goal shoots on goal. Ball skips along and ball stops short of goal mouth near the left post closest to my diagonal. Defender for team B attempts to clear the ball sliding to put it out of play, in doing so right foot makes contact with goal post. Ball is now between the legs of defender and now the goal has moved off the end line(by the defenders foot) one and a half feet ball still in play. Attacker has closed in on situation now obstructing my view of the ball. I look across the field of play to AR2 as the flag goes up. Whistle is blown to stop play , no movement to signal goal by AR2, but the ball is now in the back of the net. Defender is injured during the play, I beckon for the trainer and walk over to AR2 for more information. AR2 informs me that the ball went over the end line then into the goal now well off the end line.

I walk away with information gathered as injured player is being attended to I inform the other players that we will restart with a corner kick. As the defender was last player to touch the ball as it went over the end line.

I caught a little grief for this decision but this was what was going through my mind (HOCKEY, when the net is dislodged, face off) so either
A: The goal was no longer on end line thus not a regulation field of play, dead ball which would mean drop ball at the top of the 6 and play from there?
B: Which what was my decision, since I could not see the ball due to my obstruction and with the information I had that the defender was the last player to have possession as they cross over the end line so corner kick?

Did I make the right decision? I may see this coach again in the near future and would like to give an explanation of what I should have done. HE respected my decision then but felt he should have been awarded the goal.

USSF answer (November 3, 2005):
If the referee is unable to confirm exactly where the ball left the field and who played it out, the correct restart would be a dropped ball at the place on the goal area line parallel to the goal line that is nearest to the last confirmed “sighting” of the ball.

As to the movement of the goal, the fact that it moved suggests that the referee and assistants did not perform their pregame duties very well. They should have had the goals anchored down by the people responsible for the field.

Your question:
This situation took place at a game that I was watching. Team A was just awarded a PK. Team B had a rather small Goalkeeper, and before the kick was taken, wanted to switch keepers. This was permitted by the referee. This caused a large amount of yelling from the fans of Team A. Is this legal under the Laws of the Game to switch the goalies?

USSF answer (November 3, 2005):
Let’s start by saying that “fans” usually don’t know much about the Laws of the Game, but they sure know what is “right” for their team. Yes, this is permitted. It is not a substitution, but simply an exchange of positions between two players on the field. It requires only that the referee be NOTIFIED, not that he or she gives permission.

The “fans” may have been upset because the rules of some youth competitions limit the opportunities for substitution, and “fans” and even some referees seem to regard this as a substitution, despite the fact that it is clearly described in Law 3 as NOT a substitution, but an exchange of positions.

Your question:
Question one: In a U10G match, (I was CR) my AR raised his flag while an attacking team member and defender were fighting for the ball in the defenders penalty box. When I stopped play for the raised flag, he indicated, before I had a chance to get over and talk to him, by moving his elbow, that the defender had fouled the attacker. While I did not see the foul myself, I felt I had little choice but to proceed to the penalty kick since “everyone” saw him make the “elbow” indication, and giving him the benefit of the doubt, he was in a good location to notice an elbow foul. So, I ruled a foul and proceeded to a penalty kick. My first question is: Do you think I handled that appropriately or, could I still have gone over to him and talked with him and possibly overridden his call since the ensuing penalty kick would almost certainly have decided the game and in my opinion, the foul was not a hard foul?

Question two: During the ensuing penalty kick, the kicker, started her run then stopped (paused), then completed it and scored the goal. The goalie stood still and did not seemed to be “faked out” by the start and stop of her run. Also, I did not feel the kicker started and stopped her run for the purpose of faking out the goalie. I felt she stopped her run because of her youth and inexperience and just “miss-stepped” when she began her run. Of course, the coach from the defending team was very upset that I allowed the ensuring goal from the penalty kick, which did end up being the game winner. My second question is: Does the referee have the responsibility/authority to judge the intent of the player when the player starts, then stops his/her run on a penalty kick? Or, is it simply a matter of if the player starts and then stops his/her run, the penalty kick is not allowed? If the answer is the latter, how would I restart play?

USSF answer (November 3, 2005):
1) You should have reminded the AR of the correct signal for a direct free kick foul committed in the penalty area by a member of the defending team, as described in the USSF Guide to Procedures for Referees, Assistant Referees and Fourth Officials, p. 37:
Assistant Referee
– Determines that the direct free kick foul by a defender inside the penalty area was not seen by the referee and that, per the pregame conference, the referee would likely have stopped play for the foul if it had been seen
– Signals with a flag straight up
– Upon making eye contact with the referee, gives the flag a slight wave
– If referee stops game, assistant referee begins walking toward the corner flag
– Takes the appropriate position either for the penalty kick if confirmed by the referee or for the next phase of play if the referee orders a different restart

In other words, if it was a foul that you could see, the AR should have kept the flag down in the first place. In addition, all input from an AR is subject to the decision of the referee.  The first moment of decision is whether to stop play upon seeing a flag from the AR.  The second moment of decision, if play is stopped, is determining the proper restart based on an evaluation of the offense.  Once the first decision to stop play is made, the only recourse if the input from the AR is not accepted at all is to announce that the stoppage was in error and then to restart with a dropped ball.

We do not decide to call or not to call a penalty kick because a possible resulting goal could “decide the game.” That is specious reasoning and the coward’s way out of resolving game situations. We call penalty kicks because they were direct free kick fouls, committed in the penalty area by a member of the defending team.

2) 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 kicker’s behavior must not, in the opinion of the referee, unduly delay the taking of the kick in any feinting tactic. Others would include changing direction or running such an an excessive distance such that, in the opinion of the referee, the restart was delayed; or making hand or arm gestures with the intent to deceive the kicker (e .g., pointing in a direction).

The referee should allow the kick to proceed. If the ball enters the goal, the kick is retaken.  If the ball does not enter the goal, the referee stops play and restarts the match with an indirect free kick to the defending team.

Your question:
I was an AR at a recent youth game, partly through the first period, players complained about a player having metal cleats. The cleats were inspected and it was difficult to tell whether they were metal or a plastic composite. The referee asked the opposing coach if he found the cleats acceptable. The coach said they were metal and the boy was ejected.

My understanding is there is no provision on the shape or type of cleats. However, if they appear dangerous, then they need to be removed. The cleats were adidas and I notice they sell many shoes with metal cleats. I am assuming that they are not banned from competition or how would they be sold.

USSF answer (October 25, 2005):
Let it be sounded from the rooftops: There is no ban on metal cleats!! There is only a ban on dangerous equipment of any sort worn by players. Unless these particular cleats had sharp and dangerous edges, they should have been allowed. Metal cleats are no more dangerous per se than plastic cleats.

However, we should also note that many leagues and associations have special local rule exceptions on the matter of player equipment and flatly forbid the use of metal cleats (or any screw-type cleat) in their matches. When in doubt, read the rules of the competition before you take a game in that league or tournament.

Also let it be sounded from the rooftops, even more loudly: COACHES SHOULD HAVE NO INPUT IN REFEREE DECISIONS!! Referees make their own decisions or they consider turning in their whistle and badge.

Your question:
At a recent game where I was an assistant referee, I signaled a corner kick. A player came to take the corner, placed the ball in the corner arch with her hands, and then she tapped the ball with her foot, and said to her team mate “take it” and she then proceeded toward the opponent’s goal. The team mate came up to the corner arc and started to dribble the ball up field in preparation for a cross.

Since first player had not kicked the ball, only tapped it, and the ball had really not moved, I did not consider it being in play, and therefore I flagged for indirect free kick to the defending side because the team mate had touched the ball twice.

The coach argued that the tap is in fact a kick and the ball is in play at that point. The referee allowed the corner kick to be retaken.

Is the above sequence valid or is there in fact an infringement?

USSF answer (October 25, 2005):
The tap of the ball is fine, as long as there is some detectable movement.

Your question:
As the R&D Director for a very large boys league, I get some strange twists and turns of league and USSF rules. Our league has obviously adopted a policy coincident with that of USSF Policy 531-8, Sect 2: Unregistered Referee in Emergency. We encourage teams to agree on the use of a substitute official for matches in which a referee was not assigned or no-shows. We require that they indicate this agreement to appoint the volunteer official on our written match record card.

Recently, an incident was caused when two teams decided, at half time, to substitute the volunteer official with an affiliate of the other team for the second half of the match. Unfortunately, a string of contentious calls resulted in a termination of the match prior to full time.

The teams contend that there is not rule in the league manual, nor in USSF policy specifically prohibiting teams from “splitting” the volunteer referee duties. I contend that the wording of 531-8 requires the use of a single emergency official, unless he is unable to continue – i.e for medical or similar reasons.

Am I missing something – is there another USSF or FIFA directive which deals with this, or is it simply a matter of Law 18?

USSF answer (October 20, 2005):
An answer for you that cannot be disputed, as it comes straight from the Laws of the Game. The opening sentence of Law 5, The Referee, states: “Each match is controlled by a referee who has full authority to enforce the Laws of the Game in connection with the match to which he has been appointed.” Not two referees and not a rotating list of referees. Just _a_ referee for the match. There is your reinforcement for Policy 531-8.

We might also add that changes are allowed for injury, sickness or an unforeseen emergency, such as something of a dire nature happening to a member of a referee’s family and the referee had to get to the hospital right away–the kind of thing would be understood by all.

Your question:
Is it permissible for a referee to upgrade a card from yellow to red after play has been restarted?

Boys Under-16 state-level match. Referee whistles for a foul on the far side of the pitch. All the spectators, including the trail AR, on the near side see the offending player kick (possibly kick at) the fouled player while the latter is still on the ground. Before restarting play after a delay of a minute, Referee shows a yellow. We are astounded that the offending player is not sent off.

A couple minutes later, Referee whistles for a foul closer to the AR on our side. AR confers with Referee, presumably sharing information on the earlier foul. Referee pauses match to confer with each coach, apparently acknowledging his error. Play continues.

Referee determines that offending player commits another cautionable offense. Referee shows second yellow, then red. From spectator’s point of view, second yellow card appears to be compensation for earlier error. Match proceeds without incident.

Rather than waiting for the offending player to commit a second cautionable offense, could the Referee have changed the card from yellow to red after hearing more about the original foul from the trail AR? What effort should the trail AR have made to provide information to the Referee on the apparent violent conduct? (Assume that the pregame did not cover this circumstance.)

USSF answer (October 20, 2005):
A referee can neither rescind nor initially issue a caution/yellow card or send-off/red card once play has restarted. Nor may a referee “upgrade” a disciplinary punishment already given. The referee must submit a full report to the competition authority, whose task it is to sort out the problem.

Of more concern is the suggestion that the referee, in order to make up for his error, “found” a cautionable offense so that the player could be sent off. This is foolish and should be discouraged. Referees should have the courage to say “I made a mistake” and get on with the game, without also appearing to give a “make-up” call. We are already accused of this sort of thing too often. This situation also points out the necessity of a conference within the officiating team (including ARs seeking to advise the referee if they have relevant information) before play is restarted.

Your question:
Offside situation, attacker A1 clearly in an offside position and involved in play. The AR held his flag for about 10 seconds to signal offside, but the referee never saw it and awarded a PK to the attacking team. When he finally noticed the AR’s flag, the referee waved it down and went ahead with the penalty kick. The goal was scored. A big discussion ensued after the game, with referees coming down on all sides of the matter. When should the AR lower his flag and get on with the rest of the game, and when should he keep it up?

USSF answer (October 18, 2005):
The flag stays up in THREE situations:
1. Offside . . . if the attacking team still in possession
2. Ball out of bounds and comes back on the field
3. Violent conduct that the referee did not see.

Your question:
I have a son who plays in a U6 soccer league. There is some confusion on defining “goalkeeper” in terms of having a player “posted” in front of the goal or not. When I asked about this, I was informed that the player is not considered a goalkeeper unless he/she has on a different colored jersey and is using his/her hands to defend the goal. Understanding that the goal in U6 is 6′ X 8′ or smaller, is a player that is “posted” in front of the goal, for the soLE purpose of blocking a goal shot by the opposing team, considered to be a goal keeper regardless of whether they use their hands or have on a different colored jersey? This rule of “No goal keepers” has become an issue in our league, due to the fact that some coaches are using their biggest players to stand in front of the opponents goal and block or kick away a shot on the goal.

USSF answer (October 17, 2005):
Under the Laws of the Game as modified by U. S. Youth Soccer (USYS) for small-sided games for children aged U6-U8, there are no goalkeepers. The goalkeeper wears a different-colored jersey and is allowed to handle the ball, which these players would not be allowed to do. Here is the guidance provided by USYS for Law 3:
(U6) “Law 3–The Number of Players: there are no goalkeepers in the U6 age group so that all of the players may chase the ball around the field. The kids want to be where the action is and at this age it is around the ball. This will provide the opportunity for the children to further develop their running, jumping and kicking coordination. These are valuable traits for all soccer players to develop. The smaller number of players takes into account the egocentrism of this age group and therefore allows each child more opportunities for kicking and dribbling the ball. With fewer players on the field each child has an increased number of contacts with the ball and has more actual playing time. Additionally the players will be required to make more decisions and experience repeating game situations frequently. The work rate and involvement of players will be more consistent. While learning both offense and defense, players will become well rounded and will understand more readily the roles and importance of teammates.”

It would appear that some coaches in your league have found a way to set up a better defensive posture for their teams. What these coaches are doing is within the letter of the rules you play under. Coaches can be very clever, and whatever rule changes you may be tempted to make, many will find a way around them. That is life.

Your question:
U14 Laws of the game — Can you help us find these on line?

USSF answer (October 14, 2005):
According to U. S. Youth Soccer, all teams U13 and older should play according to the Laws of the Game, the same rules the adults play by.

Follow this URL:

NOTE: Please remember that some competitions (leagues, cups or tournaments) do not follow the directions of U. S. Youth Soccer and make their own rules. Always check with the competition to see what their rules are.

Your question:
You have addressed several times in this forum the topic of fair charging. Most coaches and parents do understand that when two players are running side by side sometimes the stronger player can nudge the weaker player off of the ball using applied force from shoulder. Usually minimal force is only required. Sometimes a player can land awkwardly and be injured. You have addressed this quite well in your forum. However, The gist of the questions and complaints from parents and coaches mainly occur during the following type scenarios. I am limiting this to U-13 and above and adult referees. Let’s also set the parameters of both players being relatively the same size and having similar skills.

1. An attacker has gone by the defender with the ball and goes to the outside creating space. The defender then turns and runs at full speed at an angle and plows the shoulder into the attacker driving them not only off the ball, but sailing through the air. They were shoulder to shoulder only at the exact moment of impact. It is similar to a corner back in the NFL driving a receiver out of bounds with a shoulder. The ball is never touched by the defender until after knocking the player to the ground.
When the parents and coaches yell foul or excessive force the referee explains that the angle of attack does not matter. Nor that they were not running together. As long as for the split second that the contact occurs if it is in the shoulder it is legal.
In the scenario above are the referees interpreting the rules correctly? Does shoulder to shoulder mean only for one nanosecond? Is this a fair charge?

2.The other scenario is where a defender runs perpendicular to an attacker and plows over them. More of a chest to shoulder attack. Once again the ball is never played by the defender until the attacker is driven to the ground. When questioned the referee states that they were making a play on the ball. In other words you can plow over a player to get to the ball. Is this correct? Even if you touch the ball before running over the attacker is this a legal play?

What is perplexing to coaches parents is that when you watch MLS, Premiership, College or High school soccer you see these type of fouls called more often when it isn’t a true running shoulder to shoulder. Usually for much less contact than you see in an average children’s game.

If it were just 1 or 2 times this occurs it would be one thing. But repetitively game after game after game you see these situations over and over. Sometimes 4,5 or 6 different players carried off during a game.

Most injuries in youth soccer occur on these types of plays. Broken collar bones, separated shoulders, broken wrists, concussions etc.

One of the great ironies is you can watch higher level soccer and see anywhere from 15 to 30 fouls a game. Most if not all would never be called in youth soccer. But at the youth level where we should be striving to teach them to play safe and clean soccer you are lucky to see 2 or 3 fouls a game. I have witnessed many games where players are being knocked all over, carried off the field and not one foul called.Then the players get more physical to protect themselves.Then bodies are flying and things get out of hand. Players and parents get discouraged and pull their child from the sport. The most common comment is “They are trying to turn this sport into Football without the pads.”

What is your opinion on the charging scenarios?

USSF answer (October 13, 2005):
A player who uses proper form in charging an opponent shoulder to shoulder may still be punished for doing it incorrectly, viz., for applying excessive force. This is true at all levels of play.

Your question:
Attacker A is in an offside position inside the goal area. The ball is played by Attacker B who is located around the 18. The goal keeper receives the ball and bats it down to the ground in front of him (Attacker A located behind him and to his right). Attacker A, though still in an offside position has not interfered with the keeper or other defenders. Defender A receives the ball when the keeper plays it to the ground, and kicks the ball back toward Attacker A who receives the ball and scores.

I did not call offside because Attacker A was never in the play and received the ball from a defender. Was I correct?

USSF answer (October 13, 2005):
If it is entirely clear that Defender A had established possession of the ball, then there is no offside in this situation. However, if Defender A simply kicked at the ball (without establishing possession) to clear it out of the way of the attacking team, then Attacker A should be declared offside.

Your question:
I was reffing an U8 girls game and one of the parents came up to me after the game and asked why a soccer field is called a “pitch.” I have asked around my association and nobody seems to have an answer. Can you help?

USSF answer (October 13, 2005):
The term “pitch” comes from an old English word meaning a place where outdoor activities are done. It is used also in describing a cricket field, where the wickets are “pitched,” or setting up a camp, as in “pitching” a tent or an entire encampment.

Your question:
I was an AR during a match and the following situation ocurred. Player (#1), in an offside position, recognized he was offside and remained stationery; hence I did not judge him to be involved in play. The ball proceeded over his head and was controlled by a defender (#2). As soon as the defender controlled the ball, player #1 applied pressure. At that moment, I judged player #1 to be offside as he was involved in play and was seeking to gain an advantage from his offside position. Was that correct? If I was correct, at what time during play can player #1 become involved in active play w/o incurring an Offside penalty?

USSF answer (October 10, 2005):
If #2 had established full and clear possession of the ball, then the player who was in the offside position (#1) was absolved of his sins and could challenge for the ball.

Put in longer, but perhaps clearer form, the attacker in an offside position must refrain from becoming involved in active play from the moment his teammate touches or plays the ball until a defender plays the ball (gains clear possession and control) or the ball is touched/played once more by another attacker or the ball leaves the field in favor of the defenders.

Your question:
A heated debate arose recently among several local referees over how to deal with an injury when the ref stops play while the goalkeeper has possession of the ball. There were several points argued:
1) Stop play while the keeper still has possession and restart with a dropped ball with only the keeper participating, advising the keeper that the ball may be picked up after it touches the ground. This restores the game to the same state as when play was stopped.
2) Allow the keeper to punt (or throw) the ball back into play and immediately stop play for the injury. The restart would be a dropped ball, presumably at a considerable distance from either goal. This would allow both teams to participate in the dropped ball restart as is usually the case.
3) Delay stoppage until the possessing team has time to kick the ball out of play and restart with a throw-in (or goal kick), assuming that the ball will then be played back to the defending team as a “fair play” gesture. This assumes also that the attacking team will play the ball out quickly to allow treatment of the injured player.
4) In situation 1) above, some argued that both teams should participate in the dropped ball, although most felt this was not in the spirit of the game. There was some confusion as to whether both teams had a right to participate equally in EVERY dropped ball.

The discussion related to youth, recreational play, i.e. U-14 and lower, but I would be interested in whether a universal rule should be applied regardless of the level of play.

What is your advice?

USSF answer (October 10, 2005):
In accordance with Law 5, the referee should stop play for injury ONLY when, in the opinion of the referee, the injury is SERIOUS. If the injury is indeed serious, the referee does not have time to wait for all these options to run their course. If the injury is not serious, any of options 1, 2, or 3 could be used.

These two excerpts from the USSF publication “Advice to Referees on the Laws of the Game” should be of help in your discussion:
When the referee has stopped play due solely to the occurrence of a serious injury, the referee must ensure that the injured player is removed from the field of play (the refusal to do so could be considered a cautionable offense for delaying the restart of play). If play is stopped for any other reason, an injured player cannot be required to leave the field but may be permitted to do so by the referee. The determination of what constitutes a “serious injury” should take into account the age of the player.” Only the referee may permit the return to the field of play of a player who was permitted to leave the field for treatment of an injury. This is not a substitution. The player who left the field for treatment of an injury may return during play with the permission of the referee, but only from the touch line. If the ball is out of play, the player may return with the permission of the referee across any boundary line.

Referees should avoid remaining in the area of the injured player once they have made their determination to stop play or to prevent play from immediately restarting while the injured player is being attended to on the field.

There is no requirement that players from both teams‹or that any player‹must take part at a dropped ball.//REST DELETED//

In all cases of dropped ball, the referee should take care that the Spirit of the Game is served.

Your question:
In his pregame instructions, the Referee told both Teams A & B that all direct and indirect kicks would start on his whistle.

During the final 2 minutes of the match, the goalkeeper of team A had the ball at his feet for a period of 6 seconds. He then picked up the ball and punted it away. The Referee decided that time that the keeper had the ball on the ground at his feet coupled with the 2-3 seconds that he held the ball prior to the punt constituted a violation of the 6 seconds that the goalkeeper was allowed to possess the ball. The Referee stopped play and awarded an indirect free kick to team B eight yards from team A’s goal. While the Referee was explaining his decision to the Goalkeeper a player from team B took the ball out of the Referee’s hands and placing the ball on the ground gave a quick touch to a team mate who then kicked the ball into the goal.

The Referee subsequently allowed the goal giving Team B a tie. Is there any recourse against the referee’s behavior?

USSF answer (October 10, 2005):
We instruct referees not to lecture players on how they will conduct the game and what they want of players. Having made the original pronouncement–an act referees should avoid–the referee is honor bound to follow through. The referee who does not do this loses all credibility with the players and thus stands to lose total control of the game.

The goalkeeper has six seconds to distribute the ball after establishing possession, and possession does not include having the ball at his or her feet. If all is as you describe it, there should have been no call against the goalkeeper.

Unfortunately, there is nothing that can be done about a referee’s judgment. It is tough to exact recourse for terminal stupidity. Perhaps natural selection (or intelligent design) will win out in the end. On the other hand, the referee DID “set aside a Law of the Game” in defining “possession” incorrectly and then making the additional mistake of stating the mistake publicly! Team A in this game might have a basis for protesting the call, as this goes way beyond a mere judgment call.

Your question:
1) As the laws of the game state that the lines are part of the area they bound. 2) A ball must wholly cross a line before it is out of play (out of an area bounded by said lines). Please address the following described situations.

A player, in the run of play slides into the area bounded by the goal net, completely out of the penalty area.  A ball is rolling toward the goal line. The player puts up his hand, vertically, stopping the ball from wholly crossing the goal line, his hand only contacts that part of the ball that is overhanging the line, outside the penalty area, and inside the area bounded by the goal net.

A goal keeper, in the run of play slides out of the penalty area, still on the field of play. A ball is on the penalty area line, he places his hand on the portion of the ball that is outside of the penalty area, keeps continuous contact with the ball, picks up the ball without ever allowing the ball to wholly cross the line out of the penalty area.

My contention is that the uniform interpretation of TLOG dictates that in both cases, only the location of the ball can establish the status of “in” or “out” of the penalty area.

Situation 1, DGH, Red Card to the player, restart penalty kick, player is interpreted to be on the FOP at the point of contact and is punished as a player not an outside agent.

Situation 2, no infraction the GK is interpreted to be in the PA at the point of contact and play is allowed to continue.

Have I correctly interpreted TLOG? IF not please point out where I am in error and the reasoning for why I am in error.

USSF answer (October 6, 2005):
Situation 1. Even though the hand is outside the line, the ball is still in play and the player on the ground, whom we assume from your suggested answer is a member of the defending team, has denied the opposing team a goal by deliberately handling the ball. Send the player off and show the red card and restart with a penalty kick. If the player who stopped the ball is a member of the attacking team, that player has deliberately handled the ball; stop play and restart with a direct free kick for the defending team, to be taken in accordance with the special circumstances outlined in Law 8.

Situation 2. The goalkeeper has kept the ball within the penalty area and cannot be penalized.

NOTE: Any earlier answers that may contradict this answer should be disregarded.

Your question:
How should a referee handle misconduct after the end of a match? What is the extent of the referee’s authority in such cases?

The particular incident of interest involved a player reacting to an opponent’s foul language and harrassment with a string of expletives of their own, while following the opponent that was walking off the field after the end of the match.  The referee red carded the second player, but not the first — perhaps not having observed or heard any prior actions and language during or after the match by the first player. The carded player then continued to use abusive language with the referee.

USSF answer (October 3, 2005):
The referee is permitted to show red or yellow cards after the match has concluded, provided he or she has not left the field of play. If the player persists in the misconduct after the yellow card has been shown, the referee may show a second yellow card, followed by a red. All details must be included in the match report. If the player persists in the serious misconduct after the red card has been shown, the referee simply writes down the details, which must be included in the match report.

Your question:
Sunday I as he middle referee for a nmen’s U-19 select game. I had two young ARs assisting me primarily due to a shortage of referees on Sunday or due to the lack of desire to do select locally.

Attacker A was dribbling through the left side of the penalty area. Defender B suddenly did a slide tackle from the side making contact with the ball and then made contact with Attacker A’s foot resulting with a hard face forward fall to the ground. The play was closer to the AR who made no call but from my view, Defender B may have gotten the ball but his slide was dangerous and did result in tripping the player A.

I awarded a PK to Attacker A and received protests from defender B and as irony would have it, Defender’s B parents who were on that side of the filed. I kept hearing “he got ball first” and they got a little ugly.

As I understand the rules, a slide tackle, striking the ball first, does not negate the responsibility not to trip or injury a player.

Did I make the right call? I noted that the AR did not make a call but I believe that was due to youth and inexperience and that I had a greater responsibility to make any calls in her area as I saw them.

USSF answer (October 3, 2005):
No, it is not a foul if a sliding tackle is successful and the player whose ball was tackled away then falls over the tackler’s foot.

It has to be in the opinion of the referee, but if the tackler accomplishes the objective of taking the ball, then it makes no difference if the player who was tackled then gets taken down. With a big “UNLESS”: if, in the referee’s opinion, the tackler has used excessive force (which you seem to suggest), then the tackler should be sent off for serious foul play. Or, if the tackler makes the tackle and then lifts either the tackling foot or the other foot and trips the opponent, that is a foul. Simply because a player falls over the foot of the tackler is not a dangerous thing. It’s one of the breaks of the game.

Your question:
In a men’s league game, after a goal kick late in the first half, my AR was waving his flag frantically and beckoning me over. I blew the whistle and stopped play, then went over to him. He told me the kicking team had taken their goal kicks from about a yard in front of the goal area the last three times. He said he had raised his flag before but I had not seen it. He wanted me to do something about it or he would not AR for me anymore.

I called for an indirect kick from one yard in front of the goal area. Fortunately no goal was scored. After the game I realized that an indirect kick was not the correct call. I know I should have seen the ARs flag the first time and I would have simply made them re-kick from the goal area.

What should I have done?

USSF answer (September 29, 2005):
After dismissing the assistant referee (and keeping full note of the details for your match report), you should have restarted with a dropped ball.

That said, we must submit that issue raised by the AR is a bogus one.  If the ball is placed where he said, it was indeed an infringement of Law 16–but in all likelihood it was trifling.  If it was not trifling, the AR could have shown some initiative and become involved in game management and reminded the kicking team where the ball should be placed, rather than simply waving the flag frantically.

The best way to respond to the AR would have been to say sweetly, “Well, you are absolutely right about where the ball should be placed and I will remind the team not to commit such a terrible mistake again, but I’m going to let it go this time. But, because you forced me to stop play with your flag waving, I must restart with a dropped ball.”

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