Entries related to Interpretations/IFAB

Question:
1) The ball is played back deliberately by a teammate to the keeper in the PA, must (as the law states) the keeper touch the ball with the HANDS or would a touch with the wrist, arm or outside shoulder similarly qualify as an infraction?

(2) In playing the ball back deliberately to the keeper, a teammate plays with ball with the shin (leg below the knee and above the foot). Should this lead to an infraction if the keeper touches the ball with the hands in the PA?

(3) A defender grabs the shirt of an attacker 10 yards outside the PA and continues the hold until the attacker and defender enter the PA. At this point the hold is released. The referee uses advantage, but stops play for the foul when the attacker staggers and falls. What is the proper restart?

Answer (March 18, 2014):
(1) The referee must first judge the position of the hand/arm. The hand is defined as extending from the tip of the finger to the outside of the shoulder. If the position is abnormal, then the foul must be punished; however, if the ball has taken a truly bad bounce, the referee will certainly exercise common sense and could let it go.

(2) No, this is not an infraction. The ‘keeper is not allowed to use his or her hands to play the ball deliberately kicked to him or her. A kicked ball may be in contact with the shin, but that contact MUST also include the foot to be truly a kick. Kicking does not include balls played solely (no pun intended) with the shin unless part of the foot itself is also involved..

(3) Under Law 12, as stated in the Interpretation of the Laws of the Game and Guidelines for Referees in the back of the Laws, we find:
Holding an opponent
//snipped//
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.

NOTE: This continuation is an established principle of the Law and applies only to holding, not to any other foul.

Question: Sounds stupid but…

Me and my friends were having a debate in the pub about the offside rule. I was a neutral in this debate but would be interested to know what an official referee would do:

If a player is laying injured in an offside position while play is continuing, and a shot that was going in anyway is deflected off his leg or head unintentionally, is it offside? If the player wasn’t there and the shot was going in anyway, surely as the player had no intent the goal should stand?

Answer November 28, 2012):
But his presence DID have an effect on play — “deflected off his leg or head unintentionally” — means by definition that he interfered with play.

We need to remember that it is only a supposition that the shot was going to go in anyway. There is, unfortunately, no way of proving that, without the deflection, the keeper might or would have made the save. In all events, Law 11 does not require or even presume that the attacker in the offside position must INTENTIONALLY become involved in active play; he only needs to BE involved in active play. If he had been standing up in an offside position and a shot from a teammate had bounced off his back into the goal, wouldn’t this be offside position? Suppose the player on the ground were dead and the ball deflected off him into the goal — it’s still an offside violation (though, to be fair, we should probably have stopped play before all this due to the “serious injury”).

This was illustrated in the 2008-2009 Laws of the Game on p. 101, illustration 1 (last time it is shown, but the principle still applies): “An attacker in an offside position (A), not interfering with an opponent, touches the ball.” And the ruling on the same page says “The assistant referee must raise the flag when the player touches the ball.”

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.

THE REFEREE AS DOCTOR

March 13, 2012

Question:
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:

The Referee
//snip//
- 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):

Injured players
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.

PROTECTIVE FACE MASK

February 27, 2012

Question:
Does USSF have any position on using of the Protective Face Mask by players? I realize that any equipment falls within the referee’s decision as to the safety of the item but I was wondering if this item has been discussed and your thoughts on this matter.

USSF answer (February 27, 2012):
We cannot speak regarding particular brands of masks, but the following information from the Interpretation of the Laws of the Game and Guidelines for Referees applies:

Law 4

Other equipment

A player may use equipment other than the basic equipment provided that its sole purpose is to protect him physically and it poses no danger to him or any other player.

All items of clothing or equipment other than the basic equipment must be inspected by the referee and determined not to be dangerous.

Modern protective equipment such as headgear, facemasks and knee and arm protectors made of soft, lightweight padded material are not considered dangerous and are therefore permitted.

In view of the new technology that has made sports spectacles much safer, both for the wearer and for other players, referees should show tolerance when authorising their use, particularly for younger players.
If an item of clothing or equipment that has been inspected at the start of a match and determined not to be dangerous becomes dangerous or is used in a dangerous manner during the match, its use must no longer be allowed.

The use of radio communication systems between players and/or technical staff is not permitted.

And, as in all cases related to player equipment, the referee has the final say.

Question:
A through ball is played to the vicinity of 1 attacker and 1 defender. Both players run to the ball, which the attacker gets to first. He manages to stop the ball on the goal line on the corner of the six yard box (the ball is in the penalty area), but both players momentum takes them off the field of play. When the attacker turns to try to get back onto the field, the defender grabs him, preventing him from regaining possession of the ball, which he obviously would have been able to do. This happens about 6 feet off the field. What action should the referee take in this situation?

This question came up during a referee meeting, and there were mixed opinions. Some said it should be a PK, others said IFK. There is also the question of red/yellow cards. I was just hoping to get some clarification.

USSF answer (October 4, 2011):
The defending player has held the opponent while both are off the field of play, a cautionable offense but not a foul.

Punishment:
• If the defender is already off the field of play and commits the offense, play is restarted with a dropped ball* from the position in which the ball was located 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 when play was stopped

Something else for you to consider is to “wait and see” if another attacker will get to the ball so that, despite the original attacker being held, his team could maintain the advantage – in which case, the referee could come back to the misconduct at the next stoppage.

OFFSIDE & ADVANTAGE

September 28, 2011

Question:
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
Offside Position
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

Offense
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

No offense
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
Definitions
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

Infringements
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.

GOALKEEPER INJURY

September 10, 2011

Question:
Normally, if a player has a minor injury, I would allow them to step off the field, receive treatment, then reenter with my permission, or be subbed at the next stoppage. If a goalkeeper is injured but wishes to remain in the game, does he have to give his jersey to another player while he is being treated and can he go back to keeping goal at the next stoppage?

USSF answer (September 10, 2011):
Unless a goalkeeper is so seriously injured that he or she must be removed from the game and taken for more complete medical attention and care, the ‘keeper will be treated on the field. If the ‘keeper needs to be treated off the field and might return after the treatment, then an outfield player must assume the uniform and duties of the goalkeeper. See the following excerpt from the Interpretation of the Laws of the Game and Guidelines for Referees in the back of your Law book, under Law 5:

Injured players
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 authorize one, or at most two [medical staff persons], 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 authorized 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 behavior
• 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 authorized 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 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.

Question:
A substitute, warming up behind his own goal, enters the field of play, touches the ball and tries to prevent the ball entering the goal with his foot. The ball, however, enters the goal.

What action does the referee take?

USSF answer (August 23, 2011):
The referee should play the advantage and award the goal. The referee should then caution the substitute for unsporting behavior for entering the field of play without the referee’s permission, including all details in the match report. (The referee could also consider a second caution for unsporting behavior for interfering with play and thus send off the substitute for the second caution in a match.) Finally, the referee should prevent substitutes from warming up behind the goals. However, in some stadiums warm-ups are allowed behind the goal (because there is no space along the touchlines).

EXCESSIVE CELEBRATION?

August 20, 2011

Question:
Is this an example of excessive celebration:

http://www.mlssoccer.com/matchcenter/2011-08-18-chicago-fire-vs-dc-united/highlights?videoID=18334

I believe I read something that was from FIFA that said jumping over barrier, or in crowd is excessive celebration and warrents a caution.

USSF answer (August 20, 2011):
Scoring a goal is an emotional moment in soccer and appropriate expressions of joy are to be expected. However, the Laws of the Game make clear that such celebrations must not unduly delay the restart of play, nor must they involve actions which are derisory, calculated to demean the opponents, or be offensive to participants and spectators. Although there was mention in the past that leaving the field, jumping over barriers, and entering the crowd was unacceptable, that no longer exists. The referee’s primary concern remains ensuring that the celebrations not delay the restart of play.

Interpretation of the Laws of the Game and Guidelines for Referees (2011/2012 Law 12):

Celebration of a goal
While it is permissible for a player to demonstrate his joy when a goal has been scored, the celebration must not be excessive.

Reasonable celebrations are allowed, but the practice of choreographed celebrations is not to be encouraged when it results in excessive time-wasting and referees are instructed to intervene in such
cases.

A player must be cautioned if:
* in the opinion of the referee, he makes gestures which are provocative, derisory or inflammatory
* he climbs on to a perimeter fence to celebrate a goal being scored
* he removes his shirt or covers his head with his shirt.
* he covers his head or face with a mask or other similar item

Leaving the field of play to celebrate a goal is not a cautionable offense in itself but it is essential that players return to the field of play as soon as possible.

Referees are expected to act in a preventive manner and to exercise common sense in dealing with the celebration of a goal.

FEINTING AT A PENALTY KICK

August 11, 2011

Question:
During a penalty kick, the kicker taking the kick runs up and fakes a kick which fools the goalkeeper, quickly takes the kick, and scores and scores a goal. I know that would be unsporting behavior. What’s the correct restart if no other infringement happened? IFK for the opposing team?

USSF answer (August 10, 2011):
Law 14 tells us:

Infringements and Sanctions If the referee gives the signal for a penalty kick to be taken and, before the ball is in play, one of the following occurs:

the player taking the penalty kick infringes the Laws of the Game:
* the referee allows the kick to be taken
* if the ball enters the goal, the kick is retaken
* if the ball does not enter the goal, the referee stops play and the match is restarted with an indirect free kick to the defending team, from the place where the infringement occurred

To this the Interpretation of the Laws of the Game and Guidance for Referees (back of the book) tells us, under Law 14:

LAW 14- THE PENALTY KICK
Procedure
Feinting at the run-up to take a penalty kick to confuse opponents is permitted as part of football. However, feinting to kick the ball once the player has completed his run-up is considered an infringement of Law 14 and an act of unsporting behavior for which the player must be cautioned.

In brief, no, an indirect free kick is incorrect. It is a retake of the penalty kick (or the kick from the penalty mark) after the referee issues the caution. And a different member of the kicking team may take the kick.

Question:
In a recent game between UAE and Lebanon there was a penalty kick taken with the back of the heel. The player approaches the ball and without stopping his run-up turns around to knock the ball with his heel.

I realize this is played under a different football association, but in USSF – is this legal? Or would it be considered “Excessively changing directions or taking an excessively long run to the ball (thus causing an unnecessary delay in the restart, in the opinion of the referee)” as in the August 25, 2009 position paper? Specifically excessively changing position. My feeling is that this is unsporting, but I am wondering if that position is the one taken by USSF.

A video of the situation is here.

http://www.yardbarker.com/soccer/articles/msn/the_most_arrogant_penalty_kick_of_all_time/5587765

or

USSF answer (July 19, 2011) REVISED JULY 25, 2011:
No official position on this matter has been taken by either FIFA or the IFAB as of July 25, 2011. Until such time as there is an official position from the IFAB or from FIFA, we will not discuss this matter further.