Entries related to Advice to Referees
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.
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!”
March 3, 2013
NOTE: This is a two-part query, with the original response to the first question prompting the second question. Both are relevant to the question of 1 March 2013 on Impeding an Opponent.
On January 19th, 2013 you stated that under Law 12, “Holding an opponent includes the act of preventing him from moving past or around using the hands, the arms or the body,” and that referees should intervene in this early.
However, often when the ball is rolling out of play (particularly for a goal kick), a defending player will “shield” the ball out of play, not allowing the attacker to reach the ball, even though the defender has no intention of playing the ball. This sort of blocking off would normally considered a foul in general open play or on free kicks.
Why has this action become standard in this one situation? A referee cannot even call this a hold now because no else does and it shows a lack of consistency.
Answer (March 2, 2013):
You seem to be confusing “holding,” a foul which requires contact, with “impeding the progress of an opponent,” which involves ZERO contact initiated by the person doing the shielding. And impeding the progress of an opponent also requires not being with playing distance of the ball, which does not figure in holding.
Does that answer your question? If not, let me know and I will try to do better.
First of all, thank you so much for taking the time to respond and so quickly. I understand the difference between the two fouls now that you have explained it. However I do require a bit more clarification:
Often there is significant contact when the attacker is trying to get to the ball. Sometimes a “fight” for the ball commences. Again, the defender has no intention to play the ball (even though it is within a yard or two of them) and the ball is taking several seconds to roll out of play. Often defenders will not just shield the ball normally, but will make a sudden, aggressive lunge to step in front of the other player, with arms out wide, which initiates the contact.
At the pro level (or at the amateur level, when playing indoor for side kick-in’s) it happens every game, but at times it seems so aggressive that it could be a foul. When would it cross the line into being an “impeding progress” foul and why is it never called? Does being within “playing distance” of the ball entitle a player to these types of actions, even if they have no intention to ever play the ball? What is to prevent several players from surrounding a ball (all within playing distance) and not allowing the other team to get to it in order to run out the clock?
I have heard occasionally commentators talk about the need to crack down on it because the referee would not allow it elsewhere on the field. Is it a matter of culture influencing referees interpretation or is this action (however aggressive and no matter the place on the field) always allowed according to the Laws of the Game?
Follow-on Answer (March 2, 2013):
Do you really mean a “fight,” or simply two players (legally or illegally) using their bodies, including shoulders, to gain (or retain) possession of the ball? That is certainly legal, as long as there is no holding (using any body parts to restrict the movement of the opponent) or pushing (with hands or other body parts to move the opponent).
Here are some definitions that may be helpful to you:
It is legal to “charge” an opponent fairly: 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.
Holding an opponent includes the act of stretching the arms out to prevent an opponent from moving past or around. A player who blatantly holds onto or pulls an opponent or an opponent’s clothing to play the ball, to gain possession of the ball, or to prevent an opponent from playing the ball could be cautioned and shown the yellow card for unsporting behavior. (Up until last year it was required for blatant acts of holding, but that changed in 2012.)
“Impeding the progress of an opponent” means moving on the field so as to obstruct, interfere with, or block the path of an opponent. Impeding can include crossing directly in front of the opponent or running between the opponent and the ball so as to form an obstacle with the aim of delaying progress. There will be many occasions during a game when a player will come between an opponent and the ball, but in the majority of such instances, this is quite natural and fair. It is often possible for a player not playing the ball to be in the path of an opponent and still not be guilty of impeding.
The offense of impeding an opponent requires that the ball not be within playing distance and that physical contact between the player and the opponent is normally absent. If physical contact occurs, the referee should, depending on the circumstances, consider instead the possibility that a charging infringement has been committed (direct free kick) or that the opponent has been fairly charged off the ball (indirect free kick). However, nonviolent physical contact may occur while impeding the progress of an opponent if, in the opinion of the referee, this contact was an unavoidable consequence of the impeding (due, for example, to momentum).
I have little time for indoor soccer and do not keep up with the rules, which vary from arena to arena (except in professional leagues). In the case of the “circle of friends,” the referee can always add time–at least in the outdoor game of soccer–or possibly consider the act to be one of time wasting, for which the players could be cautioned for unsporting behavior and shown the yellow card. (That would be a bit extreme, but certainly useful in cases where the amount of time in a period of play in a tournament game is limited by the rules of the competition.) In all events, if this is done anywhere on the boundary lines of the field, the player who is contesting for the ball ia permited by the Law to pass over the touch line or the goal line to beat an opponent or a “ring of friends.”
Playing distance has nothing to do with playing the ball in any particular manner; it means simply that the player could play the ball immediately if he wished to do so.
In my opinion—and others are welcome to their own—most commentators, at least those on television and radio, have absolutely no clue of how the game should be called, even those former players who didn’t know the rules when they played and know even less now.
February 10, 2013
A defender throws in the ball to a team mate who intentionally heads the ball to the keeper who catches it. Is this allowed or is the team trying to circumvent both the letter and the spirit of Law 12 which would result in an IDFK where the defender headed the ball to the goalkeeper?
Answer (February 10. 2013):
Let’s start off with an excerpt from the USSF publication “Advice to Referees on the Laws of the Game” (2011/2012):
12.21 BALL THROWN TO THE GOALKEEPER
A goalkeeper infringes Law 12 by touching the ball with the hands after receiving it directly from a throw-in taken by a teammate. The goalkeeper is considered to have received the ball directly by playing it in any way (for example, by dribbling the ball with the feet) before touching it with the hands. 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.
NOTE: The goalkeeper may always handle the ball inside his/her own penalty area unless he/she:
• Takes more than 6 seconds while controlling the ball with his/her hands before releasing it from possession
• Regains hand control prior to a touch by another player
• Touches ball with the hands after it comes directly from a throw-in or deliberate kick to the ‘keeper by a teammate
The restart for any of these infringements is an indirect free kick*.
Things have changed since 1992, when FIFA issued Circular 488 on July 24. The sense of the circular was encapsulated in an article in “Fair Play,” a no-longer published USSF referee magazine, in 1998. The article as quoted here has been modified by its author to reflect the change in the way the Laws are numbered (now Arabic numbers rather than Roman numerals) and the replacement in the Laws of “ungentlemanly conduct” by “unsporting behavior.”
What about players who seek to get around the Letter of the Law? In response to numerous queries from around the world, FIFA issued its Circular Number 488 on July 24, 1992. Circular 488 will not appear in the Laws of the Game, but must be known and understood by every referee. Because it directly affects the way in which the referee will treat time wasting, it is worthwhile to quote the Circular at length:
Subject to the terms of Law 12, a player may pass the ball to his own goalkeeper using his head or chest or knee, etc. If, however, in the opinion of the referee, a player uses a deliberate trick in order to circumvent the amendment to Law 12, the player will be guilty of unsporting behavior and will be punished accordingly in terms of Law 12; that is to say, the player will be cautioned and an indirect free-kick will be awarded to the opposing team from the place where the player committed the offense.
Examples of such tricks would include: a player who deliberately flicks the ball with his feet up onto his head in order to head the ball to his goalkeeper; or, a player who kneels down and deliberately pushes the ball to the goalkeeper with his knee, etc.
In such circumstances, it is irrelevant whether the goalkeeper subsequently touches the ball with his hands or not. The offense is committed by the player in attempting to circumvent both the text and the spirit of Law 12, and the referee must only be convinced that this was the player’s motive.
It is obvious from the text of Circular 488 that players who use trickery in an attempt to get around the conditions of the amendment to Law 12 must be dealt with immediately and firmly. The initiator of the trickery must be cautioned for unsporting behavior and the match properly restarted. 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, regardless of whether he took the kick or was further along 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.
The Law 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. In this case the player using the deliberate trick to circumvent the Law is committing unsporting behavior, for which he must be cautioned and shown the yellow card.
One clue to the correctness of the player’s action is whether it is 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.
This would also apply to a ball kicked by a player to a teammate, who then heads the ball to the ‘keeper. In most cases this would be considered to be a part of normal play.
On July 23, 2002, we stated:
If a goal-kick, taken by the goalkeeper, goes to a teammate outside the penalty area, who heads the ball back to the goalie, this does not infringe the requirements of Law 12. The referee must recognize the difference between situations during dynamic play, when opponents are constantly exerting pressure, and events developing from static situations, such as free-kicks, when the opposing team must be at least ten yards from the ball. The referee must always consider the distance between members of opposing teams as well as members of the same team before making the call.
And finally a direct answer to your question:
First, the situation involving a throw-in directly to a goalkeeper by a teammate of the goalkeeper is not an example of the so-called “pass back” to the goalkeeper, it is an entirely separate indirect free kick foul which is listed in Law 12. The only things they have in common is that the action starts with a teammate, followed by the ball going directly to the hands of the goalkeeper, and that it is one of several indirect free kick violations by a goalkeeper designed by the Laws of the Game to discourage instances when, because the ball is being held by the goalkeeper, opponents cannot legally challenge for control.
Second, the “trickery” issue is misconduct, not a foul, and is therefore governed by a different set of requirements (in fact, the misconduct itself is being committed by the teammate, not the goalkeeper, and the goalkeeper does not even need to touch the ball in order for the misconduct to be committed).
Third, as a foul, the “pass back” or the “throw back” offenses are rare; as misconduct, “trickery” is even more uncommon. Whereas the foul only requires the referee to see where the ball came from (kick from a teammate, throw-in by a teammate), the trickery offense requires evaluating what is going on around the play in question and why (in the opinion of the referee) the play was performed this way.
“Ttrickery” should not be considered if the opponents had a fair chance to challenge for the ball. If the referee decides they did not and that is why this sequence was performed, then “trickery” should be considered.
December 29, 2012
In the recent Boxing Day match between Newcastle United and Manchester United, a controversial goal was awarded in the 28th minute.
[The questioner included a load of detail of items from Law 11, the Interpretation of the Laws of the Game and Guidelines for Referees, and the USSF publication “Advice to Referees on the Laws of the Game.”
The bottom line is that the ATRs *appear* to offer guidance that is either not backed up by IFAB or FIFA guidance, or the rest of the world is unaware of said guidance.
Any clarification you can provide would be helpful.
Answer (December 28, 2012):
This is a very close call. From the available evidence (two photos and a video clip), it is impossible to decide one way or another. In such cases, we cannot do any better than to rely on the long-time guidance from the IFAB, FIFA, and the U. S. Soccer Federation: The referee must be completely sure that an offense has occurred before calling it. If the referee does not recognize a possible infringement as such and call it (either by whistling for the offense or invoking the advantage clause or making no call at all on a trifling offense), then that offense has not occurred.
We are very concerned, however, with the comment that the Advice to Referees (ATR) appears to offer guidance which is not backed by anything official. Obviously, we disagree. The original question, which I have omitted here, breaks down the decision into its appropriate parts and comes down exactly where it should have: the core question (given the givens) is whether there was interference with an opponent, and THAT is solely a matter of judgment for which the IFAB’s own guidance is quite sufficient — blocking the path, blocking the vision, or acting to distract or deceive. The ATR does not say anything contrary to this. The citation from the ATR is merely a good, concrete example of what exactly is meant by “acting to distract or deceive”: If the actions of the attacker in an offside position “draw” or cause a defender to move in a way he would not likely have moved in the absence of the offside position attacker, that is interfering with an opponent. So it all comes down to the basic issue of determining whether any of the three elements of interfering with an opponent applied. Our opinion is that it is arguable either way. We see the possibility of the goalkeeper’s line of vision being blocked or at least hindered (given where the attacker was). We also see the possibility that the attacker in the offside position blocked a possible movement path by the defender. And there is also the possibility – though we have no information on what was happening in the second or two prior to the first still picture — that the attacker may have drawn the defender to be where he was at the moment the ball deflected off the defender’s knee. However, because these are all only possibilities, that does not negate the guidance from on high that the referee must be absolutely certain of the offense – any offense, not simply offside – before calling it.
April 4, 2012
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.
February 27, 2012
What are requirements for shoes? Are cleats allowed and what colors? I imagine multi colored boots aren’t allowed. But what about a cleat that is predominantly black but has yellow on it. I know I will be wearing my yellow shirt most of the time anyway.
USSF answer (February 27, 2012:
This answer from November 29, 2001 is still valid, although we have updated the content of Advice 5.1:
5.1 REFEREE UNIFORM
Referees may wear only the gold primary jersey or the black, blue, red, or green alternate jerseys, and may wear only the approved socks. (The term “primary jersey” means only that this is the color all referees must have. It does not mean that the gold jersey must be worn in preference to other colors.) No other colors will be worn without express permission of the USSF. 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 goalkeeper or the team(s) must change to different colors. Only if there is no way to resolve the color similarity must the referee (and the assistant referees) wear the colors that conflict least with the players. Referees and assistant referees must wear the same color jerseys and the same style of socks, and all should wear the same length sleeves. The referee uniform does not include a hat, cap, or other head covering, with the sole exception of required religious head covering. Referees must wear the badge of the current registration year. In general, referees, assistant referees, fourth officials, and reserve referees may not wear any item of equipment, clothing, or jewelry (with the exception of a watch) which the Law does not permit a player to wear.
Referee shorts must be black.
Referees should select their shoes with an eye for both utility and appearance. Referees have to run on the field with at least as much speed and agility as do the players, so the shoes should enable them to do this under all field conditions. Players, team officials, and spectators often make initial judgments about the skills and knowledge of the referee based on appearance, and shoes can contribute significantly toward building that reserve of confidence. It is also occasionally important that players, who are frequently looking down at the ground, be able to identify the referee quickly by differences in the shoes. Accordingly, the referee’s shoes should be predominantly black, clean, polished, and neatly tied.
Under normal circumstances, it is not acceptable for a game official to wear headgear, and it would never be seen on a high-level regional, national or international competition. However, there may be rare circumstances in local competitions where head protection or sun visors might sensibly be tolerated for the good of the game, e.g., early morning or late afternoon games with sun in the officials’ line of sight causing vision difficulties; understaffed situations where an official with sensitive skin might be pressed into service for multiple games under strong sunlight, or a referee who wears glasses needing shielding from rain. Sunglasses would be subject to the same considerations. In addition, we ask referees to remember that sunglasses have the unfortunate side effect of suggesting that the referee or assistant referee is severely visually impaired and should not be working the game. They also limit communication between the officials and the players by providing a barrier against eye-to-eye contact. Sunglasses, if worn, should be removed prior to any verbal communication with players.
The Advice does not cover shorts, socks or shoes, but referees who want to get ahead will make every effort to present themselves neatly and professionally. Shorts should be made of the same materials as the jerseys. Shoes must be black and bear as little ornamentation as possible. Referees should dress as conservatively as possible to avoid drawing undue attention to themselves.
The policy on hats was published in the October 1999 issue of Fair Play:
Q. May referees wear caps and sunglasses?
A. With regard to caps, the policy of the United States Soccer Federation was stated in the Spring 1994 issue of Fair Play magazine: “Under normal circumstances, it is not acceptable for a game official to wear headgear, and it would never be seen on a high level regional, national or international competition. However, there may be rare circumstances in local competitions where head protection or sun visors might sensibly be tolerated for the good of the game, e.g. early morning or late afternoon games with sun in the officials’ line of sight causing vision difficulties; understaffed situations where an official with sensitive skin might be pressed into service for multiple games under strong sunlight or a referee who wears glasses needing shielding from rain.” Sunglasses would be subject to the same considerations. In addition, we ask referees to remember that sunglasses have the unfortunate side effect of suggesting that the referee or assistant referee is severely visually impaired and should not be working the game. They also limit communication between the officials and the players by providing a barrier against eye-to-eye contact. Sunglasses, if worn, should be removed prior to any verbal communication with players.
February 10, 2012
After a substitute enters the field of play and trips an opponent from behind (blind side) the referee stopped play and showed the substitute the red card. He restarted with a IFK. At the end of the game while writing the report the referee is struggling with what reason to write for the red card for.
The LOTG states: A player, substitute or substituted player is sent off if he commits any of the following seven offenses:
• serious foul play
• violent conduct
The referee wants to go with SFP since the play wasn’t that violent to go with VC. But AR reminds him that ATR 12.33 says:
This does not include serious misconduct by substitutes, who should be punished for violent conduct if they commit an act as described in the first paragraph of this section. (See 12.34.)
My question, can the ATR trump what is very clearly stated in the LOTG?
Answer (February 10, 2012):
There is nothing in the Advice to Referees that recommends anything that is contrary to or “trumps” the Laws of the Game. The Laws of the Game always take precedence over anything in the Advice, as clearly stated in the introduction to the Advice. Your scenario is clear-cut and the same answers are in both publications.
First you must justify the nature of any misconduct committed by the substitute before you decide how to punish it. In your scenario the sub who enters the field and trips an opponent, but has not committed any act of a violent nature. Why would you send him off for serious foul play? A substitute cannot commit serious foul play. He can commit violent conduct, but your scenario does not include any act of violence. Therefore the information in Advice 12.33 is absolutely correct: The substitute MUST be cautioned for unsporting behavior (entering without permission), but not necessarily until he interferes with play, and the opponents awarded an indirect free kick from the place where the ball was when play was stopped. If the referee “needs” the second sanction for game management purposes, then he or she should caution the substitute for a second instance of unsporting behavior, tripping the opponent. If the trip from behind involved excessive force, then send the sub off for violent conduct.
November 29, 2011
This is a question for clarification of the Denying an Obvious Goal-Scoring Opportunity offense, particularly in reporting it. I am aware that for the DOGSO-H variety to be applied, in the U.S.A. we have the direction, “but for the handling, the ball would have entered the net” as a requirement. But, I am confused about 2 scenarios which by all rights should be DOGSO, but may not be, leading to massive game control issues. The scenarios:
Scenario A: An attacker is on a breakaway with no defenders around for 15 yards. Just outside the penalty area, within the arc, directly heading towards goal (all D’s met) the GK jumps down on top of the ball grabbing it away from the attacker’s feet outside of the penalty area. The attacker had not taken the “shot”, but if not for the illegal handling, an obvious goal scoring opportunity existed.
Send-off? DOGSO-F or DOGSO-H?
Scenario B: An attacker is on a breakaway. The GK is out of the area (pick a reason, i.e. whole team pushed up for corner kick, and he’s not very fast.) The attacker is outside or inside the penalty area, (which side of the 18 yard line only necessary in determining restart.) He has the ball at his feet, directly in between the goal posts and is heading straight towards goal. One defender manages to match his speed, but no other defenders within 15 yards. The defender dives, reaches out, and grabs the ball with his hands just before the attacker takes his shot. Now, the shot had not been taken, so it wasn’t headed into the goal.
However, all other aspects of the Obvious Goal Scoring Opportunity are present. The attacking team expects the send off, the defending team expects the send off, but according to the Guidance, “the ball was not headed into the goal but for the handling.” So, send-off? How would this be written up?
Your response and clarification would be most helpful, as some other referees and I can’t seem to meet agreement here.
USSF answer (November 19, 2011):
In Advice to Referees 12.37 the Federation has said that a red card for denying a goal or an obvious goalscoring opportunity requires that a goal be prevented: “applies to any player (or substitute) other than the goalkeeper in his own penalty area who handles a ball to prevent it from entering the goal … . A red card for denying a goal by handling cannot be given if the attempt is unsuccessful; in other words, if the ball goes into the goal despite the illegal contact.” Accordingly, the ball on its way into the net is the sine qua non of denying a goal or an obvious goalscoring opportunity — if it is prevented from going into the goal, it is a red card; if the ball goes into the goal anyway, it is not; and if the ball wasn’t going into the goal but was interrupted by a handling violation under conditions that meet the 4 Ds, it is a red card for denying a goal or an obvious goalscoring opportunity by an act punished by a free kick..
November 17, 2011
Having a debate here about definition of ‘delay of game’.
On a kick-off from the half line, after a goal, or starting a game, if a team does an improper kick-off (i.e. ball does not move forward, and cross over the half line) several times, is this delay of game? I have seen teams do this in the past. I would allow this twice, then give an IDFK to the opposite team. I was recently told by a senior official that this is not a delay of game and not IDFK. Well, if so, what do you do about it?
USSF answer (November 17, 2011):
The tactic you describe could be considered to be delaying the restart of play. A number of examples are given in the USSF publication “Advice to Referees on the Laws of the Game”:
12.28.4 DELAYS THE RESTART OF PLAY
The following are specific examples of this form of misconduct (some of which may also be committed by substitutes):
• Kicks or throws the ball away or holds the ball to prevent or delay a free kick, throw-in, or corner kick restart by an opponent
• Fails to restart play after being so instructed by the referee
• Excessively celebrates a goal
• Fails to return to the field from a midgame break, fails to perform a kick-off when signaled by the referee, or fails to be in a correct position for a kick-off
• Performing a throw-in improperly with the apparent intention of being required to perform the throw-in again, thus wasting time
• Unnecessarily moving a ball which has already been properly placed on the ground for a goal kick
• Provokes a confrontation by deliberately touching the ball after the referee has stopped play
Because the ball was out of play at the delay, the restart after any caution in this case would still be the kick-off.
September 28, 2011
To be offside, player must be in offside position and involved in active play. The Laws of the Game provide three instances: interfering with play, interfering with an opponent, or gaining advantage by being in offside position.
Am I correct to assume, if any of these three elements are present, and player is in offside position, then player is offside?
To me, The Laws of the Game, The Interpretations, and the Advice to referees, do not read the same. In the LOTG there is no “or” or “and” between the three elements, in the Interpretations there are “or”s between the elements (suggesting any instance will make the player in active play, and thus offside), and the advice to referees doesn’t provide guidance one way or another, on the issue of whether they are separate or inclusive.
The reason I ask is because there was a player deeply offside and his goalkeeper punted the ball. He ran from the offside position about 35 yards to try and head the ball in the air. He was disadvantaged being in an offside position because he had to work so hard get into position to head the ball.
NEXT QUESTION: Is it true advantage cannot be applied when a player is offside?
USSF answer (September 28, 2011):
1. Yes, if any of those conditions applies, then the player is declared offside. We would suggest, that you read the Law again. Here is the entirety of Law 11 for 2011/2012, full of ifs and ors:
LAW 11 – OFFSIDE
It is not an offense in itself to be in an offside position.
A player is in an offside position if:
* he is nearer to his opponents’ goal line than both the ball and the second-last opponent
A player is not in an offside position if:
* he is in his own half of the field of play or
* he is level with the second-last opponent or
* he is level with the last two opponents
A player in an offside position is only penalized if, at the moment the ball touches or is played by one of his team, he is, in the opinion of the referee, involved in active play by:
* interfering with play or
* interfering with an opponent or
* gaining an advantage by being in that position
There is no offside offense if a player receives the ball directly from:
* a goal kick
* a throw-in
* a corner kick
Infringements and Sanctions
In the event of an offside offense, the referee awards an indirect free kick to the opposing team to be taken from the place where the infringement occurred (see Law 13 – Position of Free Kick).
The conditions are further amplified and defined in the Interpretation of the Laws of the Game and Guidelines for Referees:
LAW 11 – OFFSIDE
In the context of Law 11 — Offside, the following definitions apply:
* “nearer to his opponents’ goal line” means that any part of a player’s head, body or feet is nearer to his opponents’ goal line than both the ball and the second last opponent. The arms are not included in this definition
* “interfering with play” means playing or touching the ball passed or touched by a teammate
* “interfering with an opponent” means preventing an opponent from playing or being able to play the ball by clearly obstructing the opponent’s line of vision or movements or making a gesture or movement which, in the opinion of the referee, deceives or distracts an opponent
* “gaining an advantage by being in that position” means playing a ball that rebounds to him off a goalpost or the crossbar having been in an offside position or playing a ball that rebounds to him off an opponent having been in an offside position
When an offside offense occurs, the referee awards an indirect free kick to be taken from the position of the offending player when the ball was last played to him by one of his teammates.
//rest deleted as not germane to the question//
The Advice to Referees says precisely the same thing, but to quote it here would unnecessarily enlarge the response.
2. No, the advantage per se cannot be applied to infringements of Law 11; only to Law 12. What some players and coaches — and, unfortunately, some referees — incorrectly define as offside is simply the referee’s decision to wave down the assistant referee’s flag and not to punish what is not truly an offside. The assistant referee may flag for an “offside,” but the referee makes the decision.
September 20, 2011
The situation is it is raining: All three forwards are in an offside position as it is played forward by a teammate of the forwards, but right at a defender. The defender kicks the ball one-touch but it squibs off their foot and goes 20 yards down the field out of bounds for the team that was offside to take a throw in.
I signaled for offside. Is that gaining an advantage or a misplay by the defense and rain is rain?
USSF answer (September 20, 2011):
The correct decision would be for the referee to call the offside. See the USSF publication “Advice to Referees on the Laws of the Game”:
11.14 BECOMING “ONSIDE”
The possibility of penalizing a player for being in an offside position must be reevaluated whenever:
1. The ball is again touched or played by a teammate,
2. The ball is played (possessed and controlled, not simply deflected, miskicked or misdirected) by an opponent, including the opposing goalkeeper, or
3. The ball goes out of play.
The result of such a reevaluation, of course, may be that the player remains in an offside position based on still being beyond the second-to-last defender, the ball, and the midfield line. Referees must remember that a player cannot simply run to an onside position and become involved in play. The player’s position with relation to the ball and the opponents must change in accordance with the Law.
In the case of the ball leaving the field in favor of the team whose player was in an offside position and actively involved in play (e.g., a corner kick or throw-in for the attackers), it is traditional to call the original offside offense. If the restart would be in favor of the opposing team (e.g., a goal kick or throw-in for the defenders), it is usually preferable to ignore the offside infringement, as the defending team’s restart gives them the possession under circumstances not much different than the indirect free kick for offside-and often with less controversy.