Entries related to Procedure-Ref

Question:
My 15 yr. old son was involved in a physical altercation during a soccer game with 5 seconds left in the game.

The altercation involved 2 of our players and 3 players from the opposing team. One of our players and one of the opposing players were each given a red card and ejected from the game. The Referee gave my son a yellow card and he was allowed to play out the remaining 5 seconds of the game.

After the game had ended, the referee and 2 linesmen gathered at centre field. About 5 minutes after the game had ended, the referee walked over to my son (where he was sitting on the team bench getting changed) and proceeded to give him a red card without explanation. There was no further incident nor foul language or anything that prompted the yellow card being increased to a red card. I believe perhaps one of the linesmen convinced the ref after the game had ended that my son was deserving of a red card for his participation in the initial altercation that resulted in 1 player from both teams being red carded and ejected from the game.

Can a referee change a yellow card to a red card after the player has been allowed to continue playing in a game and/or after the game is over and the player has left the field for the day and without further incident?

Answer (July 24, 2014):
Major referee error, Dad. Once the game has been ended, the referee may not change any decisions made prior to the final stoppage. This wording from Law 5 (The Referee) confirms that:

Decisions of the referee
The decisions of the referee regarding facts connected with play, including whether or not a goal is scored and the result of the match, are final.

The referee may only change a decision on realising that it is incorrect or, at his discretion, on the advice of an assistant referee or the fourth official, provided that he has not restarted play or terminated the match.

Your son has the right of appeal against this decision and the referee should be sent back for further training—along with whichever assistant referee recommended changing the original decision.

Question:
Goal is scored in the closing seconds of the game. Referee sets up with a restart and blows the whistle for the match ending. As a referee exits the field the losing coach complains that that goal was scored after time had run out. The referee confers with this ARs and decide that he did play more than the allotted time.

Question is once a referee signals the end of the game, can he change facts.

Answer (March 30, 2014)
No, the referee cannot change the facts of the Game or his decisions once the game has been terminated (declared over). Law 5 is quite clear on this matter. Under Decisions of the Referee, the Law states:
The referee may only change a decision on realising that it is incorrect or, at his discretion, on the advice of an assistant referee or the fourth official, provided that he has not restarted play or terminated the match.

Question:
I teach classes for beginner referees. I seem to recall, from the murky past, specific instructions for referee signals when indicating free kick versus throw-in direction. Specifically, should the referee face the touchline when signalling (for throw in) as opposed to facing the goal line (for free kick)?

I’ve looked thru the Guidance and ATR and can’t seem to find anything.

This is probably trifling, but I’d like the proper citation nonetheless.

Answer (August 23, 2013):
All signals without exception are given while standing square to the field. As for assistance in instruction, you should look through the various online materials in the referee Resource Center at ussoccer.com — including a detailed “show and tell” video on AR signals.

Categories: Procedure-Ref

Question:
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.

Categories: Procedure-Ref

Question:
During corner kicks, some teams in our league (U14) place one or more players immediately in front of the goalkeeper to block his view of the play. In some situations, those same interfering players on offense deliberately crowd the keeper, making it difficult or impossible for him to make the play.

Is this legal?

Answer (January 19, 2013):
No, it is not legal, and the referees should be dealing with it. Shame on the for allowing it. The particular text covering this offense is in the back of the Laws of the Game, under Law (not “rule”) 12 in the large section on “Interpretation of the Laws of the Game and Guidelines for Referees”:

Holding an opponent
Holding an opponent includes the act of preventing him from moving past or around using the hands, the arms or the body.
Referees are reminded to make an early intervention and to deal firmly with holding offenses especially inside the penalty area at corner kicks and free kicks.

To deal with these situations:
• the referee must warn any player holding an opponent before the ball is in play
• caution the player if the holding continues before the ball is in play
• award a direct free kick or penalty kick and caution the player if it happens once the ball is in play
If a defender starts holding an attacker outside the penalty area and continues holding him inside the penalty area, the referee must award a penalty kick.

Disciplinary sanctions
• A caution for unsporting behavior must be issued when a player holds an opponent to prevent him gaining possession of the ball or taking up an advantageous position
• A player must be sent off if he denies an obvious goalscoring opportunity by holding an opponent
• No further disciplinary action must be taken in other situations of holding an opponent
Restart of play
• Direct free kick from the position where the offense occurred (see Law 13 – Position of free kick) or a penalty kick if the offense occurred inside the penalty area

Categories: Procedure-Ref

Question:
I did a U-12 girls game today and had a tough call to make.

The keeper and the striker were both going for a 50/50 ball. As the keeper reached down to grab the ball, the striker kicked the ball into the net. The strikers follow through kicked the goalkeeper’s hand. The girl had to go to the hospital. I allowed the goal to score because the keeper didn’t have control of the ball. The coach came on to the field to help the keeper and then turn on me. He said that I needed to protect his players more. Did I make the right call by allowing the goal to score?

Answer (October 29, 2012):
In a word, yes! You did fine. The position of goalkeeper is the most dangerous on the field, as the goalkeeper is required to go up in the air and down to the ground in her effort to protect her goal and stop the ball. There is no rule that “protects the goalie” from contact initiated by other players — as long as that contact is not against the requirements for a fair charge and does not happen when the goalkeeper is attempting to release the ball for others to play — in other words, to punt or throw the ball out of the penalty area.

Let’s break this down into smaller parts to help make the entire problem understandable for referees, coaches, and players alike.

1. THE GOALKEEPER POSITION AND DANGER
Yes, safety is the referee’s first concern under the Laws. However, referees — and coaches and players — need to remember that the position of goalkeeper is inherently dangerous and the goalkeeper is allowed a bit more leeway than other players in placing him- or herself in danger and thus affecting how the opponents can act. Everything he or she does when attempting to clear a ball or take it away from an onrushing attacker is dangerous. Why? Because it is the ‘keeper’s job to stop the ball from going into the goal, no matter at what height above the ground it may travel. Unless the ‘keeper or the opponent did something that was careless or violent or reckless, and you indicated that they did not, then there was no foul, but simply bad luck. This is one of the lessons referees, players, and coaches need to learn.

Would we allow this for the opposing attackers? Not if it places the goalkeeper in danger that he cannot avoid. Is this inconsistent? Yes, but it is the way the game has always been played.

2. GOALKEEPER POSSESSION
The goalkeeper is considered to be in control (= possession) of the ball when the ball is held with both hands, held by trapping the ball between one hand and any surface (e. g., the ground, a goalpost, the goalkeeper’s body), or holding the ball in the outstretched open palm. And the “hand” in this case can consist of as few as one finger of the ‘keeper’s hand.

The Laws do not grant the referee (or, in this case, the coach) the power to extend the definition of goalkeeper possession, nor to legislate new meanings on the field of play.

3. PLAYERS’ RIGHTS AND FAIR CHALLENGES
The goalkeeper has no more rights than any other player, with the exceptions of protective equipment and not being challenged when attempting to release the ball into general play. When not in possession of the ball, the goalkeeper may be fairly challenged. And the fairness is determined by the referee, not the coach and not the player.

There is no rule that “protects the goalie” from contact initiated by other players — as long as that contact is not against the requirements for a fair charge and does not happen when the goalkeeper is attempting to release the ball for others to play — in other words, to punt or throw the ball out of the penalty area.

Any time a player (either a field player or a goalkeeper) raises his/her leg above knee level there is the likelihood that someone will be hurt. As age and skill levels go down, the referee must interpret both “possession” and “safe challenge” more conservatively. Something an adult player might be allowed to do is not always the same as something a youth player (U14 for example) would be allowed to do.

Categories: Procedure-Ref

Question:
Blue defender #6 fouls Red attacker #9 in the penalty area and the center referee whistles and signals for a penalty kick. Before the PK is taken, one of the assistant referees signals the center referee for a conference and informs him that the Red team has too many players on the field, and that Red #9 was supposed to have substituted out of the game at the last substitution break but came back onto the field.

1. What is the proper restart? What if any disciplinary action should
be taken?

2. What restart is proper if the extra Red player is not discovered by
the referees until after Red #14 had taken and scored on the penalty
kick but before the ensuing kickoff?

3. Same as #2, but the extra Red player is not discovered by the
referees until after the ensuing kickoff? What should the referee do
then?

Answer (October 17, 2012):
Law 3 (in the Interpretation of the Laws of the Game in the back of the book) tells us:

Substitute or substituted player
If a substitute or a substituted player enters the field of play without permission:
• the referee must stop play (although not immediately if the player in question does not interfere with play or if the advantage can be applied)
• the referee must caution him for unsporting behavior
• the player must leave the field of play
If the referee stops play, it must be restarted 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).

In question 1, the referee did not stop play for player #9′s entry without permission, but because he was “fouled” by defender #6. Because #9 was NOT a player, no foul could be called for #6′s “foul”; however, #6 may be cautioned for unsporting behavior. Player #9 must also be cautioned for unsporting behavior (entering without permission) and removed from the field, and the game will be restarted with an indirect free kick for #6′s team from the position of the ball when play was stopped for the “foul” (see Law 13 — Position of free kick).

In question 2, the goal is disallowed and the indirect free kick (as in Q1) is the restart. There can be no penalty kick for a “foul” against a non-player, which is what a substituted player is.

In question 3, the goal is allowed to stand. The assistant referee ought to be removed from his/her duties for gross negligence in not bringing the matter to the referee’s attention immediately, but this will likely not happen. The referee must stand in shame, as he/she has also neglected his/her duties in keeping track of who should be on the field. Full details of the fiasco must go in the match report, with both officials sharing in the blame for poor performance of their duties.

Categories: Procedure-Ref

Question:
A coach I know recently thought up a strategy for giving his team an advantge that should win if the game goes to penalty kicks in the very final game of a tournament. Theory goes like this, after the initial five pk takers are designated and before the first player on his team, who is his best penalty taker, takes the pk, he will have every one of the 10 remaining players eligible to take penalties step up to the official and insult him sufficiently to be red carded and dismissed from the game. This will insure that his best penalty taker will take all of the pks while the other team will have their lesser skilled players taking kicks.

What would you do as it seems to be perfectly suited to exploit the reduce to equate as currently practiced?

I could only state that while technically accurate and seemingly legal, I would disqualify his team for prolonged and repeated infraction of the laws.

Answer (July 13, 2012):
We have seen similar questions in the past (e.g., the coach simply declared these players “unable to play” due to injuries or whatever) but the principle is the same: There are things that can happen on a soccer match which are “wrong” (against the Spirit of the Laws), but over which we have no authority to fashion a correction. Another example would be the situation that occurred in Asia some years ago where one team TRIED to lose by scoring against itself and then the other team, because of what such an outcome would mean (it had to do I think with determining a field site for the next round of competition), began matching the opposing team’s goal for goal by doing the same thing. The referee does not have the authority to prevent this. In fact, the referee cannot make anyone play nor force any substitution.

Accordingly, the coach’s ploy will succeed and his team will be reduced to 1 player. However, (1) the opposing coach could do the same (or have the other ten players become injured and unable to participate in the kicks) and then ultimately there would be Kicks done 1 v. 1 (with the nonkicking player serving as the goalkeeper); and/or (2) the Kicks could proceed with 11 v. 1, but the ploy could backfire since the one player would have to kick each time against a new and fresh opposing kicker; and (3) the referee would include full details (facts and reasonable inferences from those facts) in his game report (which is what the referee in the Asian game did) and let the competition authority decide if the behavior of the team should be allowed — the action was not upheld in the Asian case, and there were fines and/or suspensions involved.

And lest we forget, under the Laws of the Game kickers are never “designated” nor put on a checklist for the referee. Players go to take the kick as a slot is available.

CHANGING A DECISION

July 7, 2012

Question:
In my age group, the referees (usually R8s and R9s) tend to be very inexperienced. Many calls are incorrect (don’t worry, I was an R8 ref a few years ago, so I know they were wrong). Is it frowned upon for a referee to change a call once made after players and/or coaches argue? I am an arguer (i.e. refs I don’t personally know generally don’t like me), and a ref has never changed a call, whether they know it was wrong or not. Can they, or is a call final no matter what?

Answer (July 7, 2012):
Yes, a referee may change a call, provided that he or she has not already restarted play. And, even if play has already restarted, if the referee realizes he has made a mistake, as long as this realization came to him or her before the restart occurred — and only the referee knows if that is true.

Question:
Can you please expand on your April 4th answer? This has sparked a lot of discussion in the referee community on what constitutes control, or a mis-kick.

USSF answer (April 5, 2012):
Not sure why there should be any discussion at all. This matter is addressed in the entry-level referee training courses and there has been no change in policy or interpretation or guidelines: If the opponent who does not have the ball under control (i.e., clear possession and the ability to play the ball deliberately to a place to which he wishes it to go) misplays, misdirects, deflects or miskicks the ball, he has not affected the status of the player who was in the offside position when his teammate played the ball.

In any event, the decision is solely “in the opinion of the referee,” based on all the “facts and circumstances” of the event — all of which means that no formal, official, concrete definition is possible (or even desirable), only guidelines.

Question:
During the March 30, 2012, DC United vs. FC Dallas MLS match, there was a play late in the first half where Dallas player Perez (#9) scored after receiving the ball following a deflection/misplay by DC United defender Dudar (#19). At the time the ball was last played by Perez’s teammate Hernandez. who chested the ball forward, Perez was in a clear offside position. All of our training as well as the Advice to Referees states that in order for the offside situation to “reset” the defender must control and play the ball. A deflection, miskick, or misplay is not supposed to reset the offside situation. In this case the AR did not raise his flag for offside and the goal was allowed to stand.

USSF answer (April 4, 2012):
An official review of the situation at the highest levels confirms that the call should have been offside.

Question:
I was the Center referee for an A division Co-ed match. There was a through ball for the attacking team, the forward run through to dribble into the penalty area. The keeper runs out to stop the ball, and missing it completely, and collided with the attacking player and took him out of play. I was near the top of the 18 yard, and had a clear view of the contact. I signalled a penalty kick, and issued a caution to the keeper. Since, it was his 2nd caution in this match, then I proceeded to show him the red card.

The defending team started screaming and said look at your assistant referee. He is standing firm around the 25 yard line, signalling an offside.

I reversed my call to an indirect free kick for the defending team, and took back the cards.

My reasoning is that I should have looked at my assistant referee first, and blown my whistle for the offside. If I had done that, it would have avoided the contact by the keeper and the forward.

Did I make the right call ?

USSF answer (March 28, 2012):

Your decision to use the information supplied by the AR was correct. Award the indirect free kick for the goalkeeper’s team. It is possible that the goalkeeper still engaged in certain behavior, whether it was during play against an opponent or during a stoppage resulting from the offside offense, so pleases consider the following:
Misconduct is separate from the foul (unless the foul was for serious foul play or denying a goalscoring opportunity through an act punishable by a free kick). Accordingly, the second caution which resulted in a red card should not have been withdrawn SOLELY because the referee accepted the advice from the AR and declared that the stoppage was for the offside. The ‘keeper’s act itself might warrant the caution (and red) or a straight red regardless of the change in the decision. If the goalkeeper’s act was purely careless, rather than reckless (caution) or done with excessive force (send-off), then there is no need to caution the ‘keeper.