Entries related to Law 18 – Common Sense
May 3, 2013
Question: I see a lot of players lowering their shoulder and then raising it into the another player as they make contact during a shoulder charge. Some refs call it a foul and others have said it is a legal charge. Is it foul for a player to lower their shoulder into another player during a shoulder charge?
Answer (May 3, 2013):
There is no clear definition in the Laws of the game as to what is fair in a shoulder-to-shoulder charge. The general definition is given in the USSF Advice to Referees:
The act of charging an opponent can be performed without it being called as a foul. Although the fair charge is commonly defined as “shoulder to shoulder,” this is not a requirement and, at certain age levels where heights may vary greatly, may not even be possible. Furthermore, under many circumstances, a charge may often result in the player against whom it is placed falling to the ground (a consequence, as before, of players differing in weight or strength). The Law does require that the charge be directed toward the area of the shoulder and not toward the center of the opponent’s back (the spinal area): in such a case, the referee should recognize that such a charge is at minimum reckless and potentially even violent.
It may help to include some more information:
We define charging thusly: A fair charge is shoulder to shoulder, elbows (on the contact side) against the body, with each player having at least one foot on the ground and both attempting to gain control of the ball. The amount of force allowed is relative to the age and experience of the players, but should never be excessive. This is as defined by the referee on the game, not some book definition, adjusted as necessary for the age and experience of the players and what has happened or is happening in this particular game on this particular day at this particular moment. It all boils down to what is best for the referee’s management and the players’ full enjoyment of the game.
Although often overlooked by spectators, it is important to remember that a player’s natural endowments (speed, strength, height, heft, etc.) may be superior to that of the opponent who is competing with that player for the ball. As a completely natural result, the opponent may not only be bested in the challenge but may in fact wind up on the ground with no foul having been committed. The mere fact that a player fails in a challenge and falls or is knocked down is what the game is all about (and why coaches must choose carefully in determining which player marks which opponent). Referees do not handicap players by saddling them with artificial responsibilities to be easy on an opponent simply because they are better physically endowed in some way.
Fair charges include actions which do not strictly meet the “shoulder-to-shoulder” requirement when this is not possible because of disparities in height or body type (a common occurrence in youth matches in the early teenage range where growth spurts differ greatly on an individual level within the age group). Additionally, a fair charge can be directed toward the back of the shoulder if the opponent is shielding the ball, provided it is not done dangerously and never to the spinal area.
The arms may not be used at all, other than for balanceÑwhich does not include pushing off or holding the opponent.
Children of the same age differ in their development. They and we have to live with it. No foul if there was no offense other than being larger or faster. As noted above, the decision as to whether the force used is excessive is up to the individual referee.
And let’s also add that if the use of the shoulder appears to the referee to involve the use of excessive force, then it should be punished with the sending-off of the miscreant.
May 2, 2013
I’m confused with some of these procedures. I was made to understand from the laws of the game that a dropped ball is a method of restarting game, that any player may challenge for the ball. And that the referee cannot decide who may or may not contest a dropped ball.
Question: (1) Why do referees drop the ball for a player to play it back to the opponent after a temporal stoppages or why do one team play the ball back to the opponent after it has been dropped by the referee. (2) If the player fails to play it back to the opponent, will the referee caution the player? (3) In what situation can players from different teams contest for a dropped ball (4) In thesame line, when a player is down and the ball is been played out through the touch line so that the player down in the field can receive treatmeant. Why do players always start it by throw-in the ball to their opponent ( i cannot find it in the laws of the game).
Answer (May 2, 2013):
Deciding who “may or may not” contest the dropped ball is a concept that has been refined over the years by the Spirit of the Laws and tradition, which is well known to the players, and the referee. Or most of them. The tradition is outside of the Laws, but even special efforts and instructions by national associations, as well as hints from the International Football Association Board, the people who make the Laws, have not affected any real change.
(1) If play was stopped because of injury to a player of one team that was not caused by a foul (and thus there is no free kick), tradition requires that the referee drop the ball for the team whose player was injured. This includes events in the penalty area where the goalkeeper had possession; the ball is dropped for the goalkeeper and other players stay away.
(2) It is not against any Law to not play the ball to the other team. There is no penalty if the player fails to play the ball to the other team, but even his own teammates and team officials will often criticize him. The referee should not caution the player.
(3) If play was stopped for misconduct or a foul committed by players of both teams, the dropped ball is contested.
(4) If play was stopped when a player was injured and the other team kicks it out, tradition requires that the team that takes the throw-in play the ball to the other team. This is usually done by kicking the ball to the goalkeeper.
April 11, 2013
Is it legal for a player to take a throw-in from his knees? Where is this specified in the FIFA Laws of the Game?
Answer (April 11, 2013):
It is not included in the Laws of the Game. Outside the Laws of the Game, we are aware of only one document that FIFA has issued for the IFAB (the people who write the Laws) that covers this situation. It is in Law 15, Q&A 7, of the 2006 edition of Questions and Answers:
LAW 15 (THE THROW-IN)
7. Is a player allowed to take a throw-in kneeling or sitting down?
No. A throw-in is only permitted if the correct procedures in the Laws of the Game are followed.
From the USSF Advice to Referees:
Players are not allowed to take throw-ins while kneeling or sitting down. Squatting is a form of sitting and is therefore not allowed, but players are permitted to take “flip” or “acrobatic” throw-ins, provided the procedures outlined in Law 15 are followed. “Standing” is the normal and traditional posture at any restart; anything other than standing is not permitted. The “acrobatic” or “flip” throw-in is allowed because the thrower actually makes the throw from a standing position.
NOTE: The kneeling answer was also in earlier editions of the Q&A, which is no longer published, having been replaced by “Interpretation of the Laws of the Game and Guidelines for Referees ” Simply because this fact no longer appears in the Laws of the Game does not mean that it is not valid. Many items not written in the Laws are widely known to be valid. The most famous omission is that the player who has been sent off during the game may not be replaced. Why these omissions? Because “everyone knows that!”
April 8, 2013
We encountered a novel (to us) situation in our last weekend of youth games.
In a U-14B league game, about 15′ before the end of the second half, there was a reckless foul by a defender, followed by dissent, resulting in a send off for that player. The foul occurred in the defender’s penalty area, so a PK was to be the restart. The attacking player involved appeared injured following the foul, leading to precautionary treatment and then removal from the field, resulting in a temporary stoppage of 5-10′. During that time, the attacking team coach (visitors) in discussion with the defending team coach (home) and the referee, requested to end the game explaining that he was now down to just 8 players (started with 10, one became ill and then one injured). The home coach offered to play 8 v 8 but the visiting coach wasn’t interested. Without protest or ill will, the home coach agreed to the early game end. The visiting team coach asked to take the awarded PK before ending the game, and again the home team coach agreed without contention. The referee accepted this course of action, and when the field was cleared, conducted the PK as if in extended time – just the kicker and ‘Keeper on field. The kick was good, the score was evened to 1-1 with that goal, and the game declared terminated. A report with all the information (SO, injury, and facts re: early termination) was provided to the game day administrator.
So, my question seems to be, that if the decision to terminate (or abandon) the game was arrived at between the coaches and the referee during the temporary suspension for the injury, should the PK then be taken, and if so, how? Or is there a more correct or preferred manner in which to handle this situation.
Answer (April 8, 2013):
Your reasoning on the crime and the correct punishment seems to be correct.
The final decision on the result of the game can be made only by the competition authority, the people who run the league. The result of a game can never be the referee’s decision; his/her job is only to ensure that the players are safe and the Laws of the Game are followed.
As a matter of practical refereeing, we would suggest two things in the future should you (or other referees in your area who might be aware of the situation) encounter something like this again.
First, you do not have authority to “clear the field” at the taking of a PK, even one in extended time. In fact, it is your duty to ensure that there is at least the minimum number of players from each team on the field because, without this number, a PK cannot be taken. Granted, all players except the kicker and the goalkeeper have nothing to do in a PK in extended time, but the principle remains that it is still part of the game and that in turn requires each team having at least the minimum number of players on the field.
Second (and somewhat related to the first point), neither by decision of the coach nor by your decision can a game be ended early. A termination requires “grave disorder” and/or danger to the players or officials. This didn’t happen. The only other Law-based early end is abandonment — which requires illegal and unsafe field conditions (also not present here) or failing to have the minimum number of players present and available for play. The competition authority is the only one which can settle the status of a terminated match, but the referee must have a recognizable reason for the early end itself, also known as CMA (that should not require expansion). The referee’s best course of action in this situation, following whatever discussion between the coaches they wish to have (and it sounded amicable enough), is to whistle for the players to take to the field to resume play. When one or both teams fail to field the minimum number, then the match is abandoned for having an insufficient (minimum) number of players. This process is designed to protect the referee from any “games” a coach might play (though that does not appear to be the case here) in which most of the players on one team leave in the belief that there had been an agreement to end the match early but the other team now suddenly declares that it is able and willing to play — as evidenced by having ITS players enter the field. Now, the referee has to report that the abandonment was due to one team (not both) failing to be ready to play.
March 18, 2013
To clarify for future reference can you assist?
A free kick is awarded, however prior to the free kick being taken the defending team have a player who has some dirt/mud in his eye. The player is on his knee whist the players request assistance from the trainer however the trainer does NOT enter the field of play, instead the defending teams goalkeeper assists in removing the mud/dirt and the defender is then able to continue playing, however the referee speaks to the player and insists that the defender leaves the field of play as he has received treatment is this correct?
I have seen players assisting others who have cramp etc and I have never seen the referee send them from the field of play.
Answer (March 10, 2013): BELATED POSTING
According to the Interpretation of the Laws of the Game and Guidelines for Referees (in the back of the Law book), “a player is not allowed to receive treatment on the field of play.” However, “treatment” in this case means that someone has entered the field to administer to the wants and needs of the player. If someone is authorized to enter the field temporarily and quickly for these ministrations, then the player must leave when they are completed and may not return until the match has restarted and he has the referee’s permission to re-enter.
If, as in your situation, the referee has not stopped play for the problem (not exactly an injury) and has not beckoned any other person into the field to treat this problem, and no one is discommoded by the goalkeeper’s kind act, then the player does not have to leave the field. Unless (1) the treatment consumes an inordinate amount of time or (2) there is some local rule or rule of the competition that specifically prescribes an exit from the field, just as in cases of cramp treated by fellow players already on the field; the referee simply adds time lost.
Some referees remember only those parts of the Laws that they may require for their own convenience.
January 11, 2013
The limitation on scoring directly from a drop ball. Can you clarify the meaning of directly in this situation. Thanks.
My confusion arises because in other free kicks (corner, IFK, DFK, GK, PK) the kicker is not able to play the ball twice. e.g. they must kick it, and they cannot dribble the ball (e.g. kick or play it twice in a row without an intervention from another player).
However, in the drop ball, a player can in fact take possesion of the ball (usually by foot since the ball must touch the ground to in play), dribble some distance, and kick the ball, without the intervention of another player without comitting a violation of the laws.
Hence, I’m trying to understand what “directly” means in the new Law 8 (Start and Restart) text for drop balls. The new law says, “If the ball enters the goal: * if a dropped ball is kicked directly into the opponents’ goal, goal kick is awarded” (Similar for own goal with a corner kick.
Is “directly” in this case ONLY the first touch or play of the ball, or is directly meant to include all initial play by a player, until the ball has been touched or play by any other player?
Thanks for clarifying the situation for me. I am a referee and a coach. Recently, as a coach, this situation nearly happened to one of my players. In her case she missed the shot wide, so the ball did not enter the goal. However, had she made the shot (off a pull back move at the drop, two quick dribbes to open space in the penalty area, and a shot with no touch from any other player), I realized that I was unsure if the goal would have counted or not had she made the shot.
As a referee, and realized I should come to understand the correct call in this case should I come to see it again. This is a new law change, and I haven’t seen any guidance in this situation.
Answer (January 8, 2013):
This year’s Law 8 on the dropped ball:
If the ball enters the goal:
• if a dropped ball is kicked directly into the opponents’ goal, a goal kick is awarded
• if a dropped ball is kicked directly into the team’s own goal, a corner kick is awarded to the opposing team
Yes, it is indeed a change in the Law, likely not noted by many people. It is an unusual change and is probably more confusing to referees, coaches, and players than necessary. Thank you for asking, and we are pleased to present the reason, straight from the International Football Association Board, as published for the IFAB by FIFA. And yes, it applies only to the first touch after the ball is in play.
FIFA Circular 1302, 31 May 2012: Amendments to the Laws of the Game — 2012/2013:
There have been a number of occasions where goals have been scored from “uncontested” dropped balls. This has put a great deal of pressure on the referee as he has to allow the goal to stand. We then have the unseemly situation where the opposition allows the team to score from the kick-off without any players trying to stop them in order to rebalance the game.
Just for the clarification of others, the dropped ball is NOT a free kick.
November 28, 2012
Question: Sounds stupid but…
Me and my friends were having a debate in the pub about the offside rule. I was a neutral in this debate but would be interested to know what an official referee would do:
If a player is laying injured in an offside position while play is continuing, and a shot that was going in anyway is deflected off his leg or head unintentionally, is it offside? If the player wasn’t there and the shot was going in anyway, surely as the player had no intent the goal should stand?
Answer November 28, 2012):
But his presence DID have an effect on play — “deflected off his leg or head unintentionally” — means by definition that he interfered with play.
We need to remember that it is only a supposition that the shot was going to go in anyway. There is, unfortunately, no way of proving that, without the deflection, the keeper might or would have made the save. In all events, Law 11 does not require or even presume that the attacker in the offside position must INTENTIONALLY become involved in active play; he only needs to BE involved in active play. If he had been standing up in an offside position and a shot from a teammate had bounced off his back into the goal, wouldn’t this be offside position? Suppose the player on the ground were dead and the ball deflected off him into the goal — it’s still an offside violation (though, to be fair, we should probably have stopped play before all this due to the “serious injury”).
This was illustrated in the 2008-2009 Laws of the Game on p. 101, illustration 1 (last time it is shown, but the principle still applies): “An attacker in an offside position (A), not interfering with an opponent, touches the ball.” And the ruling on the same page says “The assistant referee must raise the flag when the player touches the ball.”
November 15, 2012
this question is about youth Ull-19
i am a fast learning referee who has learned alot in his two years of reffing,but there is one thing that bothers me the most.
i always fail to recognize a foul so here are some questions and please be clear/detailed what do the laws of the game mean when they say (under direct free kick fouls): jumps at an opponent, charges an opponent and what does impeding the progress of an opponent mean? Are there any other fouls that might not be mentioned in the laws?
Answer (November 15, 2012):
Both the “jumping at:” and “charging” fouls are punished with a direct free kick if they are done carelessly, recklessly (also a caution/yellow card), or with the use of excessive force (also a sending-off/red card). Together with “charging” and “impeding the progress of an opponent,” they are not described at any length in the Laws of the Game by the International Football Association Board (the people who write the Laws) because, as with many other things in soccer, “everyone knows that.”
1. Jumps at
Here is an article I wrote in 2006 for “Referee” magazine.
What is “Jumping At an Opponent”?
By Jim Allen
It is a general principle underlying the Law that players are not permitted to “play” the opponent rather than the ball. That is enshrined in the concept of “jumping at an opponent.” “Jumping at” means precisely that: launching one’s body toward the opponent. It can be from a standing or “flying” position. It can be done in two ways: (1) to intimidate or (2) in a feigned (really meant to distract or intimidate the opponent) or genuine but unsuccessful attempt to gain the ball. It is most often seen under the pretext of heading the ball, but may also be seen when a player launches himself through the air, feet first, to “tackle” away the ball.
Example. A8 is running upfield with the ball. Defender B3 jumps at A8 to startle him, causing A8 to flinch and lose possession.
What to do? B3 has committed the foul of jumping at an opponent if he does it in a manner considered by the referee to be careless, reckless or using excessive force. If the foul was careless, the result would be a direct free kick (or penalty kick if committed within B’s penalty area) for team A. If the foul was reckless, the result would be a caution/yellow card to B3 for unsporting behavior and a direct free kick (or penalty kick) for team A. If the foul involved excessive force, the result would be a send-off/red card for B3 and a direct free kick (or penalty kick) for team A.
Normally contact is not required, as specified by the word “at” in the name of the foul. However, another form of “jumping at” an opponent is the two-footed tackle, which by definition has to be a jump — launching one’s body toward that of the opponent. If that two-footed tackle is for the ball, it is likely fair, but if the jumping player lands on the ball just as the opponent’s foot is kicking it, the referee should consider the tackle dangerous and punish it with an indirect free kick. If contact is made with the opponent, give a direct free kick. If it is reckless, caution it. If it is done with excessive force, send the player off.
Faking. Another form of “jumping at” is to make the foul appear to have been committed by the opponent when the player with the ball has actually committed it. That sort of foul is common in youth soccer, where some players jump into an opponent and, while doing so, turn their back. Since that essentially makes them an unguided missile, it highlights the danger of jumping at an opponent with the back turned. Direct free kick for the opponent’s team.
Where to punish? At the spot where the opponent was affected by the jump. If a player starts his jump outside the penalty area but completes it inside, the referee must give the direct free kick (or penalty kick, if applicable) inside the penalty area.
There are two things to remember about “jumping at” an opponent. First, contact is not required for the foul. The foul is in the intimidation or distraction of the opponent by the jump. Second, this is one of those fouls where the “rule of thumb” about “playing the player rather than the ball” is particularly apt as a shorthand way of viewing the offense — the foul is almost certain when the offending player is looking at the opponent rather than the ball.
“Jumping at” has nothing to do with the foul of charging. “Jumping at” implies carelessness on the part of the player, while charging can be done fairly. If a charge misses, it cannot be a foul at all, but the way in which it is committed could be considered to be unsporting behavior.
2.Charges an opponent
The act of charging an opponent can be performed without it being called as a foul. Although the fair charge is commonly defined as “shoulder to shoulder” and without the use of arms or elbows, this is not a requirement and, at certain age levels where heights may vary greatly, may not even be possible. Furthermore, under many circumstances, a charge may often result in the player against whom it is placed falling to the ground (a consequence, as before, of players differing in weight or strength). The Law does require that the charge be directed toward the area of the shoulder and not toward the center of the opponent’s back (the spinal area): in such a case, the referee should recognize that such a charge is at minimum reckless and potentially even violent.
3. Impeding the progress of an opponent
Impeding the progress of an opponent means that a player moves into the path of an opponent to block that opponent’s ability to play the ball, but does not play the ball himself. That is an indirect free kick foul. As to the foul of charging that you emphasized, this is exactly what I told you it was. It is not described in the Law because, as with many other things in soccer, “everyone knows that.”
October 20, 2012
My understanding is the “shielding” is special case of impeding, and is legal only when the ball is going to cross a touch or goal line. My questions: a) is shielding also legal anywhere on the field, to keep the opponent from playing the ball; b) can the shielding player use his rear-end, arms, or contort his body in ways not associated with a natural upright playing stance, to achieve the shielding?
Answer (October 20, 2012):
Your current understanding regarding impeding and shield is slightly flawed. Fortunately, we can fix that. Let’s start with a quote from this year’s Laws of the Game and go on from there.
From “Interpretation of the Laws of the Game and Guidelines for Referees” (back of the book):
Shielding the ball is permitted. A player who places himself between an opponent and the ball for tactical reasons has not committed an offense as long as the ball is kept within playing distance and the player does not hold off the opponent with his arms or body. If the ball is within playing distance, the player may be fairly charged by an opponent.
Shielding (a) is not “impeding” in any form and (b) it can occur at any spot on the field, not only when the ball is about to cross a boundary line.
If the player can legally play the ball and the ball is within playing distance, the player may shield as a tactic to prevent an opponent from getting to the ball (provided, of course, that the shielding does not involve holding). If the player cannot legally play the ball or if the ball is not within playing distance, such shielding becomes “impeding the progress of an opponent” and should be penalized by an indirect free kick.
In response to your query part b (unnatural positioning), one way of attempted cheating during shielding is “making oneself bigger,” the same sort of action used in some cases of deliberately handling the ball. An example of this would be a player shielding the ball and extending his arms straight from the shoulders or moving them around, an unnatural thing to do. No player shielding the ball from another is allowed to use his (or her) arms or any other part of his body for other than maintaining balance — which does not include pushing off or holding the opponent. If the player is simply maintaining balance — in the opinion of the referee — then an opponent who initiates contact with the player who has the ball is guilty of charging illegally. If the player with the ball is holding out his arms or a leg not to maintain balance but to obstruct the opponent, the player has committed an indirect free kick offense, provided no contact occurred. However, if the player with the ball initiates any contact, then he or she has charged, held, or pushed (all direct free kick fouls) and must be punished accordingly.
October 1, 2012
What should the ref do when a player comes off the bench and denies an obvious goal scoring opportunity?
Answer (October 1, 2012):
Send him off for denying the obvious goalscoring opportunity. It’s in the Law. Restart with an indirect free kick for the opposing team from the position of the ball when play was stopped (see Law 13 — Position of Free Kick). Indirect free kick is for the offense of unsporting behavior (sub enters without permission). The caution could be shown first, before the red card for denying the opportunity, but that might e overkill.
Should this (please see video…Newcastle v Tottenham on 18 Aug 2012) be considered trickery? [Note, it was not called in the EPL match]. Not too different from flicking the ball in the air in order to head it to keeper.
I imagine we’ll see kids imitating this move. This has many tactical and skill implications for those of us who coach. I guess I will stop having players shield the ball while the keeper comes out for it, and instead teach them to bend one knee and use the other thigh to pass it back to the keeper and therefore alleviate pressure more easily.
Goal kicks are now easier. The keeper kicks to the side of the PA and a runs out to the line (or stands there while a back kicks it), a player stationed at the side gets down on the ground and heads it to the keeper just inside the area.
Innovation will abound. Not sure I like it, but, as they say, change is the only constant. The game could change a bit because of this, I can’t be the only one whose brain started to whirl when I watched the match.
Answer (August 23, 2012):
The play itself was perfectly legal. If, as sometimes happens, this link has disappeared from the original site, the situation was that Newcastle player Steve Taylor stopped with his foot a ball going over the goal line and, knowing his his ‘keeper could not play the ball with his hands if Taylor deliberately kicked the ball to him, Taylor dropped to the ground and headed it to his ‘keeper, who could then play the ball with his hands within both the letter and spirit of the Law. One cannot and must not call this perfectly legal act “trickery” or trying to circumvent the Law.
July 23, 2012
Question: Acceptable behavior on a free kick?
How much movement are the players in a defensive wall allowed leading up to a free kick. Where does it cross the line from acceptable to misconduct?
It seems players are allowed to jump up and down, but what about waving arms or other physical behavior apart from simply jumping up and down with arms at sides?
Answer (July 23, 2012):
Prior to 1997, the Law required that if “any of the players dance about or gesticulate in a way calculated to distract their opponents” at a free kick they should be cautioned and shown the yellow card for unsporting behavior (then called “ungentlemanly conduct).” This is no longer true. Jumping by members of the wall is common practice throughout the world. The referee should allow this activity unless it goes to extremes. Examples of extremes would be members of the wall jumping forward and back — and thus failing to respect the required distance from the ball — or doing handstands or other acts designed to bring the game into disrepute.