Instruction was given at the Region II youth championships that a referee need no longer caution for a tactical foul if that foul was committed by the defending team, was penal, and was committed within their own penalty area, resulting in a penalty kick. Can you please confirm or deny this instruction/interpretation change. In the past this never mattered; a player who committed a foul which in the opinion of the referee was tactical, and did not meet the 4 D’s requirement of Denying an Obvious Goal Scoring Opportunity, was cautioned and shown the yellow card, regardless of location of that foul or resultant restart.

USSF answer (July 19, 2011):
The instructions you were given at the Region 2 Youth Championships are part of a concept approved by FIFA and the IFAB. This concept does not yet have final approval, but a position paper will be issued in the near future.…


I recently noticed while watching an MLS match that the referee used a can of white spray paint to mark off ten yards after awarding a free kick. I had noticed the paint can on referees’ uniforms all season, but only after seeing it in use did I realize what it was. Is this a new practice? And is this something that can be utilized by officials in lower level matches?

USSF answer (June 27, 2011):
The International F. A. Board decided at its meeting in March 2011 to allow the use of the vanishing spray paint as a continuing experiment in CONMEBOL (South America), where the proposal originated…


With the addition of the fifth and sixth match officials in certain competitions, there are questions that arise about the roles of the referee and his various assistants. Has USSF started any training to institute the additional referees (with a nod to placement of a team at future major world competitions)? And from cursory watching of televised matches, it certainly appears positioning of the CR in the 6 man crew is WAY different than we have come to expect.

The recent CL game between Chelsea and Man United brought this thought to me. The CR’s positioning was so different then what we have been shown to be effective that I thought USSF would need to be thinking of what to do going forward. If we are to advance our referees into the major competitions, and we have no experience in the 6-man crew, that would be a serious drawback. Also, I can’t figure out why the CR’s positioning needs to be so different.

And although, I do not expect to ever be placed as a fifth or sixth, will you eventually publish something along the lines of your current publications that detail the roles of the various referees on a match?

USSF answer (April 11, 2011):
The AAR (Additional Assistant Referee) SYSTEM is an “experiment ” granted by FIFA to only a few competitions. Usually an “experiment” granted by FIFA is for 3 years. After that evaluations of the experiment are submitted to IFAB for consideration.

At this point, U.S. Soccer is not one of the participating confederations using the Additional Assistant Referee System (AAR). Since we are no participating, we are not currently training our referees to work within this system. If that changes, we will train our referees accordingly.…