(Originally published on 7/22/17, “Operation Restore”)
Wilson, an adult amateur parent, asks:
On a game I watched today the defender made a pass to the keeper but the ball was heading to goal. The keeper then decided to deflect the ball with her hands. She touched the ball but could not hold it. The ball kept going towards goal, the attacker kicked it in and scored. The Referee disallowed the goal and gave the attacking team an indirect kick for the backpass. Shouldn’t the Referee have applied advantage, since calling the backpass benefited the offending team?
Good heavens, why would the Referee not have applied advantage? Except for someone very inexperienced, whose mind was still fixated on “call the foul,” Referees past their fifth or sixth season should be positively looking for opportunities to demonstrate that they know how the game is played by waiting a moment to see what happens next and only then deciding what to do. Pavlovian reactions to fouls cause more trouble in games with experienced players than almost anything else we can think of (excepting total ineptitude).
The “pass back to the goalkeeper” offense (the very term is misleading — it doesn’t have to be back, it doesn’t have to be a pass, and it doesn’t have to be to the goalkeeper) is an offense like any other and there is no reason to think it is exempt from the use of advantage. We find utterly mysterious how the Referee could have thought this was a good decision since it replaced a 100% goal with (given that the restart was an indirect free kick facing what was probably an impenetrable wall) a 20% goal at best.
We are getting uptight and perturbed discussing this so we had better stop. The answer is, Yes.