Entries related to “Inventive” Refs
March 1, 2013
This question relates to impeding an opponent. This little incident frequently occurs both in 1- a-side and 5-a-side in which i participate, and i can’t help but wonder if it is the attacker at fault rather than the defender in this case.
What happens is, an attacker will make a forward dribble and approaches a defender who hopes to stop him passing. As they reach near-touching distance, and the defender is ready to make the tackle, the attacker will pass either left or right to a team mate and then quickly dash forward in a straight line, to receive a one-two exchange. However, he occasionally plows through the defender as if he did not see him standing there. This can sometimes result in injury for the defender who was not aware of this forward dash, and there are usually pleas for obstruction against him. Has the attacker drawn this foul, knowing that there is a body in the way that is unlikely to react at such short notice? Or must the defender attempt to quickly move and allow him to pass?
Note: This question was asked by a player, not a referee. After a first response to him, he added: “Many times i have been rushed by an attacker in this way. Recently i was knocked over badly, was dazed and came to find that he had been awarded a free kick. I have felt that not bracing myself for the collision could cause me injury, but still when the forward hits into me, he calls obstruction even though i have not moved from the spot. I will make sure to argue my case when the incident re-occurs.” [The answer that follows covers both questions.]
Answer (March 1, 2013):
What you describe is not impeding the progress of an opponent or obstruction, it is standing in territory that belongs to the player, in this case the defender. Every player is entitled to the spot of ground he or she is currently occupying. The forward has charged illegally and must be punished with at least a direct free kick. If he has knocked the defender over, then it’s likely also a caution (unsporting behavior) for reckless play. If he knocks him ass over elbows, it’s likely a send-off for using excessive force.
In brief, the defender who stands his ground does not have to move. However, this caveat applies: It is illegal for the defender to MOVE from one spot into another simply to stop the oncoming forward. If the attacking player moves into the defender and the defender has NOT moved, then and only then does the defender have the Law on his or her side — although many referees are too thick to remember it. If the referee is a right (you pick the word; my favorite would be ‘dunderhead’), the defender should be careful about protesting too loudly, as he is very likely to be cautioned.
January 22, 2013
This question opened an intense debate on a referee discussion forum (http://www.bigsoccer.com/community/threads/where-did-this-cool-site-come-from-and-why-did-noone-tell-me.1981356/):
“A shot taken on goal is blocked by a defending player inside his own team’s penalty area. The defending player then starts to dribble the ball while having full control of it. Before the defender dribbled the ball out of the penalty area, the goalkeeper picked up the ball dribbled by the defender (his teammate). The Referee should stop the play and award an Indirect Free Kick to the opposing team.”
Some (including with reference to contact with high level referees) have argued that a dribbling player has not deliberately kicked the ball to the keeper within the meaning of ATR 12.20 (sepcifically Note (a)). Others have argued that Note (a) does not define deliberately kicked to the keeper, and that by the ATR definitions a dribbling player has kicked the ball (because the player has used the foot) and the kick is deliberate (because the player has control of the ball), such that the triangle and the violation are complete (though there could be possibility that the offense was trifling depending on other surrounding facts).
Would you care to share your interpretation?
Answer (January 22, 2013):
And the referees who cited info from the high-level referees are correct: there is no infringement of the Laws here.
Those who argue for saying the ball deliberately kicked is “not defined” are sophists (those who use a specious argument to deceive someone, in this case, themselves) and are full of hokum (a polite word for something apparently impressive or legitimate but actually nonsense). Pay no attention to those people behind the screen.
December 7, 2012
I’ve seen a disturbing occurrence on the fields of [my state's] soccer more than once lately and I’m about to scribe a blog entry about it. I just want to triple-check with you before doing so to make absolutely certain I am on the right side of the LOTG.
This has to do with the old “fake corner kick” trick. This is starting to show up more and more at lower levels of youth play. I saw it in a U12 girls game last weekend. Fortunately, that referee got it right – by allowing play to continue unabated.
But as I sat in the referee tent, a parent came over and challenged me on whether that was considered “trickery”. His source of information, unfortunately, was a referee in a previous match who cautioned the taker of the corner for unsporting behavior. I assured the parent that this in no way contravened the LOTG, and that, if said parent was relaying the story accurately, the referee got it wrong.
I am certain that the “fake corner” is allowed, but I want to make sure my blog entry is well-rooted in the Laws and that’s why I am contacting you.
My position is that the notion of “trickery” has a very specific meaning and application within the LOTG: and that is, specifically a player trying to trick the referee by circumventing the spirit of the laws. “Trickery” has no relevance in the context of player-to-player communication or play, whether it involves teammates or opponents. In fact, players try to “trick” each other for 90 minutes during every match through the use of skill and deception.
Just wanted to make sure I am on firm theological ground before preaching to the masses.
Answer (December 7, 2012):
NOTE: Answer modified 13 December 2012 to bring it up to date.
Trickery, at least under the Laws of the Game, is reserved for only one offense: Engaging in trickery to circumvent the goalkeeper’s limitation on handling the ball played from a teammate’s foot (the defender who initiates the “trickery” is cautioned, the decision does not require that the goalkeeper actually handles the ball, and the misconduct can occur during dynamic play or at a restart). This also applies at throw-ins: At a throw-in, referees should take care not to consider as trickery any sequence of play that offers a fair chance for opponents to challenge for the ball before it is handled by the goalkeeper from a throw-in. Trickery cannot occur at a corner kick under any but the most unusual circumstances.
The International Football Association Board (IFAB) changed Law 12 in 1992 in an effort to deal with trickery aimed at circumventing the requirement limiting the opportunities for the goalkeeper to handle the ball when it was deliberately kicked to him by a teammate. (Previously it had been legal for the goalkeeper to pick up the ball with his hands if the teammate had been outside the penalty area when he kicked the ball to the goalkeeper.) Players looked for and found crafty ways to get around the requirement and thus the IFAB adopted a new Decision 18 to Law 12 in 1993 (since incorporated into Interpretation of the Laws of the Game and Guidelines for Referees Law 12). This Decision 18 specifically defined trickery as including (but not limited to) the teammate “using his head or chest or knee, etc.” That is now found in the Interpretation of the Laws of the Game and Guidelines for Referees under Cautions for unsporting behavior: “uses a deliberate trick while the ball is in play to pass the ball to his own goalkeeper with his head, chest, knee, etc. in order to circumvent the Law, irrespective of whether the goalkeeper touches the ball with his hands or not. The offense is committed by the player in attempting to circumvent both the letter and the spirit of law 12 and play is restarted with an indirect free kick”
One clue to the correctness of the player’s action is whether it a natural part of play or is clearly artificial and intended only to circumvent the Law. In such cases, the action is considered misconduct whether it ultimately is touched by the goalkeeper or not. Indeed, the misconduct should be whistled before the goalkeeper even has a chance to touch it.
The player who initiates the “trickery” is cautioned and shown the yellow card for unsporting behavior; the decision does not require that the goalkeeper actually handle the ball, and the misconduct can occur during dynamic play or at a restart. The referee must be sure that the sequence of play was indeed intended to circumvent the Law and to prevent opponents from having a fair chance to compete for the ball rather than have it unfairly handled by the goalkeeper. If, in the referee’s opinion, there was trickery, then it is the teammate who played the ball immediately prior to it going to the goalkeeper who would be cautioned.
The key to deciding whether or not a player is trying to thwart the Law by passing the ball to the goalkeeper without actually kicking it is whether the action is a natural one, a normal playing tactic, which is perfectly legitimate, or a contrived act, a “trick,” which must be punished with a caution for unsporting behavior.
Here is a quote from an article by an esteemed author, originally published in the USSF publication “Fair Play” (now sadly out of publication):
FIFA has demanded that referees deal quickly and firmly with timewasting tactics. One of the least understood forms of time wasting is trickery in passing the ball to the goalkeeper. This article describes trickery and how the referee can combat it.
Law 12 was rewritten in 1997 to reduce the number of options available to players for wasting time. Playing the ball to one’s goalkeeper was traditionally used as a way of “consuming” time. By the time the Law was rewritten, the practice had become synonymous with time wasting.
Normal interplay of the ball among teammates is not a matter of concern to any referee; however, the referee must be concerned with obvious deliberate attempts to circumvent the requirements of the Law. Players may pass the ball to their goalkeeper in any legal way and not infringe on the requirements of Law 12. It is when a player uses trickery that the referee must act. Trickery is any contrived scheme or unnatural way of playing the ball in an attempt to circumvent the requirements of Law 12 when passing the ball to the goalkeeper. Examples of trickery include a player who deliberately flicks the ball with the foot up to the head, so as to head the ball to the goalkeeper, or a player who kneels down and deliberately pushes the ball to the goalkeeper with the knee or head. [NOTE: If the ball is already in play, the latter infringement is punished at the discretion of the referee; this does not apply when it occurs at a free kick.]
If the ball was already in play, an indirect free kick from the spot where the initiator touched–not merely “kicked”–the ball is appropriate. If the ball was out of play, the restart for a violation depends upon how the circumvention began. If the action began from a free kick or goal kick that was properly taken, the restart will again be an indirect free kick from the spot where the initiator of the trickery played it, no matter where the kick was taken or when it occurred in the sequence of play. If the goal kick or free kick was not properly taken, then the restart must be that goal kick or free kick. This could lead to a situation where the offending team has a player cautioned (or sent off for a second cautionable offense), but still retains the ball on the restart.
If more than one player was involved in the trickery, the question as to which defender to punish can be answered only by the referee. The referee must be sure that the sequence of play was meant to circumvent the Law and to prevent opponents from having a fair chance to compete for the ball rather than have it unfairly handled by the goalkeeper. If, in the referee’s opinion, there was trickery, then it is the teammate who played the ball immediately prior to it going to the goalkeeper who would be cautioned.
The punishment for trickery is a caution for unsporting behavior, with the restart to be taken at the place where the trickery was initiated, not where the goalkeeper handled the ball. The referee does not have to wait until the ‘keeper handles the ball to make the call. The referee must only be convinced that trickery was the player’s motive for the act.
September 25, 2012
At a Division III college women’s soccer game, a Red team player tried to keep the ball from going out of bounds. The line judge ruled that she had stepped out while touching the ball and put up his flag indicating that the Blue team should have the throw in. Play continued, however, and the center judge did not see the line judge’s flag, even after 10-15 seconds when the line judge was vigorously waving the flag. After about 20 seconds, he put his flag down as play continued on the field. About 25-30 seconds after the out of bounds was initially called, the Blue team scored a goal. The Red team coach protested that the goal should be disallowed because of the out of bounds call.
What is the correct call in this situation?
(In the game, the center judge did disallow the goal and gave the Blue team the throw in.)
Answer (September 25, 2012):
Nothing you have described about the woman who stepped outside the field is illegal. Nothing you have described about the woman who stepped outside the field was illegal. The “line judge,” actually called an assistant referee, was TOTALLY INCORRECT, even under college rules, and so was the”judge,” actually called the referee, provided the ball remained on the field during this action. It is not an offense to leave the field during the course of play to keep the ball in play inside the boundaries of the field. The correct call would have been no call at all, based on the scenario you gave me.
AMENDMENT: The questioner now informs me that the ball did indeed leave the field. In that case, the AR was correct in waving the flag and the referee was correct in disallowing the goal.
A match was tied at the end of regulation time, and competition rules state that kicks from the penalty mark will be used to decide the winer of the match.
The scenario: Team A & Team B both have 11 players on the field prior to the start of the kicks. The coin toss resulted in Team A kicking first, then Team B kicking second. The first set of kicks resulted in a goal credited to both teams, which makes a preliminary score of 1-1 (pen.).
Now, in the second set, the second kicker for Team A is carrying a caution he received in the second half of the game. The referee signals for Team A’s kick to be taken. the kicker goes up for the kick, commits an act of unsporting behavior, and scores. The goalkeeper from Team B DID NOT infringe the laws of the game. The referee blows the whistle and issues a second yellow card, followed by the red card, to the player from Team A, the kicking team.
Now, there are a few points of discussion that arise from this scenario:
1) Since the kicking team infringed the laws of the game, and a goal was scored, should Team A’s kick be retaken as the next kick in the sequence?
2) If so, is the designated replacement kicker (who is presently on the field waiting in the center circle) from Team A considered to have kicked after he completes the retaken kick?
3) Does the offending player who was sent off get the credit for the penalty because he was the initial kicker for this kick in the sequence?
It is also my understanding that Team B does not have to “Reduce to Equate”, because the send-off for team A occured after the start of the kicks.
Answer (July 7, 2012):
Because the ball entered the goal (but cannot be scored as a “goal”), the kick must be retaken after the dismissed player has left the field and before anything else happens. Any teammate currently on the field who has not yet kicked in the kicks from the penalty mark may take the kick. Therefore, the player who was sent off does not and cannot be given credit for his “goal,” which would not count in any event.
No, the opposing team does not have to reduce to equate in this case; reduce to equate applies only before the kicks actually begin.
May 10, 2012
My child plays U8 soccer. There is no goal box, only a penalty area. When taking a goal kick, the ref insists the ball sit on the corner of the penalty area. The offense of a team we played either stood immediately in front of or rushed the ball while it was being kicked. For larger fields, the offense has to stay back because of the goal box being inside the penalty box. since they’re one in the same for us, can the offense stand immediately in front of the ball?
Answer (May 9, 2012):
According to USYS Rules for U8, there is no penalty area in U8 soccer; they use only a goal area, which has two lines drawn at right angles to the goal line three (3) yards from the inside each goalpost. These lines extend into the field of play for a distance of three (3) yards and are joined by a line drawn parallel with the goal line. The area bounded by these lines and the goal line is the goal area. The opponents must remain outside the goal area and at least four (4) yards from the ball until it is in play. There is absolutely no requirement that the kick must be taken from one of the corners of the goal area, just as there is no such requirement in adult soccer
One of our readers, Greg Brooks, supplied this useful information:
I thought I’d chime in on the U-8 question posted today. In a league
which I officiate, they allow the U-8 players to take goal kicks from
the edge of the penalty area instead of the goal box. I believe the
required minimum distance is 8 yards, so that should apply to those
goal kicks in such U-8 games, correct? I’ve never had a problem with
failure to maintain the required distance, but this gives me something
to think about.
April 30, 2012
Why would a referee for a U11 game eject a parent/spectator from the game for yelling “Communicate with your partner” to the referee. They never said hey ref, or anything, just stood up and yelled “Communicate with your partner”. This also lead to suspension of the next game for the spectator as well as being suspended from attending practices until the spectator attended a hearing which is complete BS in this league anyways. Where does one go to report this referee for abuse of his postion? I am guessing he violated some sort of code of conduct.
My answer (April 30, 2012):
No, there would not appear to have been any violation of any code of conduct, other than by the parent. This is NOT Little League baseball, for goodness’ sake. However, the referee would appear to have violated my rule of inverse stupidity: The less you know, the more you call.
April 6, 2012
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.
March 13, 2012
When a player is injured and the referee stops play for the injury, is it acceptable for a referee to touch and handle the player? This referee (adult) is not a medical proffesional, I asked him. He seems to want to do a full medical exam on both youth boys and girls as well as adults. This referee will grab the players knee or ankles which ever is injured and pull, twist and poke the injury. This referee does not allow the coach on the field until he has done this with the injured player. Many coaches and parents are becoming extremely concerned over this practice. This has happened at least 10 times in 2012.
To sum it up, I guess my question is: Are referees taught to do a medical exam of the injured player by touching/twisting of the injury? And are they allowed to do this?
USSF answer (March 13, 2012):
We are pleased once again to emphasize the following principles regarding referees and players (most particularly youth players).
First, unless specifically certified by a public authority to provide medical care (i.e., doctor, paramedic, nurse, EMT, etc. — a Boy Scout First Aid badge does not count), no referee should be rendering any medical care to anyone, under any circumstances, at any time. This is a matter of law, the details of which can differ from state to state and we cannot therefore be more specific than simply … don’t do it. If a referee is medically certified, then the laws of the state where the injury has occurred are usually clear as to the duties to render assistance of certified medical personnel and, if such assistance is provided, the provider ceases to be a referee and becomes at least momentarily a doctor, paramedic, nurse, EMT, etc. until that responsibility for care is handed over to someone who is medically more qualified.
Second, USSF does not and has never provided training regarding the care of player injuries beyond what The Laws of the Game require. That care is defined solely in terms of deciding if an injury has occurred and then whether it is not serious, is serious, or is severe, and then recognizing what actions are proper depending on the answer to that question. These decisions and actions are summarized by the following quotes from the Laws of the Game and their Interpretations:
Law 5, bullet point 8 under Powers and Duties:
- stops the match if, in his opinion, a player is seriously injured and ensures that he is removed from the field of play. An injured player may only return to the field of play after the match has restarted.
Interpretation of the Laws of the Game and Guidance for Referees (pp. 69-70):
The referee must adhere to the following procedure when dealing with injured players:
• play is allowed to continue until the ball is out of play if a player is, in the opinion of the referee, only slightly injured
• play is stopped if, in the opinion of the referee, a player is seriously injured
• after questioning the injured player, the referee may authorise one, or at most two doctors, to enter the field of play to assess the injury and arrange the player’s safe and swift removal from the field of play
• stretcher-bearers should only enter the field of play with a stretcher following a signal from the referee
• the referee must ensure an injured player is safely removed from the field of play
• a player is not allowed to receive treatment on the field of play
• any player bleeding from a wound must leave the field of play. He may not return until the referee is satisfied that the bleeding has stopped. A player is not permitted to wear clothing with blood on it
• as soon as the referee has authorised the doctors to enter the field of play, the player must leave the field of play, either on a stretcher or on foot. If a player does not comply, he must be cautioned for unsporting behaviour
• an injured player may only return to the field of play after the match has restarted
• when the ball is in play, an injured player must re-enter the field of play from the touch line. When the ball is out of play, the injured player may re-enter from any of the boundary lines
• irrespective of whether the ball is in play or not, only the referee is authorised to allow an injured player to re-enter the field of play
• the referee may give permission for an injured player to return to the field of play if an assistant referee or the fourth official verifies that the player is ready
• if play has not otherwise been stopped for another reason, or if an injury suffered by a player is not the result of a breach of the Laws of the Game, the referee must restart play with a dropped ball from the position of the ball when play was stopped, unless play was stopped inside the goal area, in which case the referee drops the ball on the goal area line parallel to the goal line at the point nearest to where the ball was located when play was stopped
• the referee must allow for the full amount of time lost through injury to be played at the end of each period of play
• once the referee has decided to issue a card to a player who is injured and has to leave the field of play for treatment, the referee must issue the card before the player leaves the field of play
Exceptions to this ruling are to be made only when:
• a goalkeeper is injured
• a goalkeeper and an outfield player have collided and need immediate attention
• players from the same team have collided and need immediate attention
• a severe injury has occurred, e.g. swallowed tongue, concussion, broken leg
It seems pretty clear to me: If the referee considers an injury serious enough that someone is called into the field to treat it or see to the player, then the player must leave until the game has restarted, just as it says in the law.
March 5, 2012
In indoor my goalkeeper caught the ball, instead of throwing it in, he decided to throw it on the ground and kick it. The ref called a direct kick because he threw the ball outside the 18. The refs explanation is that the goalkeeper has to put the ball on the ground inside the 18 and then can dribble it out and kick it is this true? We’ve never been called on this before and I think he made a mistake on the call.
USSF answer (March 5, 2012):
If it is truly a rule, it must be something local. The only alternative is that the referee has been abusing illegal substances.
In indoor, when the goalkeeper catches a ball during live dynamic play, he or she has 5 seconds to get rid of it in their half of the field or give up possession. They can throw it, kick it, dribble it, or whatever, but when the 5 seconds are up they must not still be in possession of the ball by hand or foot in their own half of the field or it is a direct free kick from where they’re at. (ALL kicks in indoor are direct free kicks)
March 5, 2012
In a U-19 game today, a fight broke after the game was over. It was at least 8 players from each team. Is it ok for an AR to grab a kid in a head lock and drag him away from the fight?
USSF answer (March 5, 2012):
Under normal circumstances match officials should not touch any player for any reason other than to shake hands before the coin toss or after the game is over. Breaking up fights should normally be left to the teams themselves. In most cases the only justification for an official to “step in” (particularly if that term is meant to include touching or holding a player) is for self-protection … and only to the extent needed for self-protection and only for as long as self-protection is needed.
February 28, 2012
If a player is sent off (red card), he/she cannot play in their next game.
Question 1: if the referee does not include the send-off in the game report, or does not submit a game report, is the player still required to not play in their next game?
Question 2: It is VERY common for referees NOT to tell a youth player why (unsporting behavior, dissent, serious foul play, etc) a card is being displayed. When asked by the player or coach, the VERY common response is ‘I don’t have to tell you’. How are youth players to learn from a mistake when there is absolutely no reason given by the ‘professional offical’ as to what the mistake was? Are game reports accessible to coaches, players, and/or parents?
USSF answer (February 28, 2012):
1. Referees are expected to submit their match reports as quickly as possible, usually within 2-3 days of the game. If they do not do so, then technically the events described (or NOT described) therein did not occur — but see below.
Technicalities aside, realistically the game occurred: people were there; witnesses can be subpoenaed; the referee could be reminded of his report; the player who was red carded should, on his own initiative or by direction of his coach, sit out his team’s next regularly-scheduled match. All this should occur even without the actual filing of the referee’s report. An opposing coach could certainly note at the team’s next regularly-scheduled game that Player X should be sitting out and, if this is disputed on any basis (including the lack of a report from the referee), a complaint could be filed which would eventually trigger a demand upon the referee to get the requiredreport in. In real life, there are literally thousands of games that occur with no formal referee report going into a league or association office — of course, in most of these, nothing untoward has occurred, but no one has any problem accepting that there was a game, there was a score, and Team B won.
2. The referee is REQUIRED to tell a player that he or he has been cautioned or sent off for one of the seven reasons for either sort of misconduct.
They cannot refuse to tell this to the player and should be reported to refereeing authorities if they do so refuse. They are NOT required to tell the coach anything. In most states (we cannot speak for all of them) the reports are not available to non-refereeing or competition officials, but appropriate parties can be told of the contents regarding a specific person or incident.