I recently received an assessment from a national assessor on a U-16 Division 2 game. I had called a foul in the penalty area against the defender, which called for a PK. The assessor said the call was correct; however, he said I was too far from the play to effectively “sell” the call if I had needed to. I was around the 35 yard line and the foul was just inside the penalty area about the 17.

My question is this…what distance should you strive for from the ball (accepting the fact that transitions and other situations sometimes make the ideal distance impossible)?

Answer (September 27, 2007):
We hope that you misunderstood the national assessor’s comment. As you are a first-year referee, he may have been suggesting that being closer to all action would help you sell your calls better.

Positioning is critical when making calls in the attacking third of the field. Position is determined by having the best viewing angle of the challenge. Being between 10 and 15 yards from play without interfering with players space is optimal. In the case of your call, if you were certain that the foul occurred within the penalty area (and your assistant referee did not suggest otherwise), then the decision to award a penalty kick was correct.

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