PLAYER KICKS HIS SHOE OFF AND AT GOALKEEPER

Question:
If a player kicks the ball and during the kick his footwear gets off and flies toward the goalkeeper distracting him from catching the ball is the game stopped or continues, or if a goal is scored is it allowed?USSF answer (April 23, 2007):
We answered similar questions in January 2005 and September 2003:

As defined in the USSF publication “Advice to Referees on the Laws of the Game” (Advice) and clear from the perspective of the Spirit of the Game, a foul is an unfair or unsafe action committed by a player against an opponent or the opposing team, on the field of play, while the ball is in play. (Advice 12.1) Although the loss of the shoe was inadvertent and accidental, it was also careless. A careless act of striking toward an opponent is punishable by a direct free kick for the opponent’s team, taken from the spot where the object (or fist) hit (or would have hit) its target (bearing in mind the special circumstances described in Law 8). Although the shooter wanted to play the ball when he kicked it and did not hit the goalkeeper with his shoe deliberately, he has still committed a foul. Direct free kick for the goalkeeper’s team from the place where the shoe struck the goalkeeper (bearing in mind the special circumstances described in Law 8).

The only difference would be that in your case the shoe did not hit the goalkeeper; however the effect and the decision are be the same. The goal is not scored; restart with a direct free kick for the goalkeeper’s team from the place where the shoe would have hit the goalkeeper.…

PLAYING THE BALL WHILE ON THE GROUND

Question:
During a boys U10 game a boy continued to go after the ball, using his feet, even though he had fallen on the ground. The fallen player did not trip or impede the other player, but did still effect the ball. The ball was not in the box, but the offending player was. The referee called a penalty and awarded the other team a penalty kick. Questions: Is it a penalty for a player to play the ball if he is on the ground? If so is it a penalty punishable by a direct kick? If not, what should happen and is there anything that can be done with game already over?Finally this happened in the final minutes of a tied up game and therefore decided the outcome of the game, what should a coach of a young team do at the moment when they arenÕt sure about a call that affects the game like this?

USSF answer (April 23, 2007):
Here is what we teach ALL referees throughout the United States about playing dangerously. It comes from the USSF publication “Advice to Referees on the Laws of the Game.”

12.13 PLAYING IN A DANGEROUS MANNER
Playing “in a dangerous manner” can be called only if the act, in the opinion of the referee, meets three criteria: the action must be dangerous to someone (including the player committing the action), it was committed with an opponent close by, and the dangerous nature of the action caused this opponent to cease active play for the ball or to be otherwise disadvantaged by the attempt not to participate in the dangerous play. Merely committing a dangerous act is not, by itself, an offense (e.g., kicking high enough that the cleats show or attempting to play the ball while on the ground). Committing a dangerous act while an opponent is nearby is not, by itself, an offense. The act becomes an offense only when an opponent is adversely and unfairly affected, usually by the opponent ceasing to challenge for the ball in order to avoid receiving or causing injury as a direct result of the player’s act. Playing in a manner considered to be dangerous when only a teammate is nearby is not a foul. Remember that fouls may be committed only against opponents or the opposing team.

In judging a dangerous play offense, the referee must take into account the experience and skill level of the players. Opponents who are experienced and skilled may be more likely to accept the danger and play through. Younger players have neither the experience nor skill to judge the danger adequately and, in such cases, the referee should intervene on behalf of their safety. For example, playing with cleats up in a threatening or intimidating manner is more likely to be judged a dangerous play offense in youth matches, without regard to the reaction of opponents.

There is nothing illegal, by itself, about playing the ball while on the ground. It becomes the technical foul known as playing dangerously (“dangerous play”) only if the action unfairly takes away an opponent’s otherwise legal play of the ball (for players at the youth level, this definition is simplified even more as “playing in a manner considered to be dangerous to an opponent”). At minimum, this means that an opponent must be within the area of danger which the player has created.

If this is not the case (for example, the player had no opponent nearby), then there is no violation of the Law. If the referee decides that a dangerous play violation has occurred, the restart must be an indirect free kick where the play occurred (subject to the special rules that apply to restarts in the goal area).

By the way, even if a dangerous play violation has been called, the referee should never verbalize it as “playing on the ground” since there is no such foul in the Laws of the Game.

The coach of the team has no recourse in the matter of a judgment call by the referee, but may enter a protest only if the referee misapplies the Laws. If the referee awarded a penalty kick in the case you bring forward, that would be correct only if the player on the ground actually kicked or attempted to kick the opponent. If there was no contact or no attempt to kick, then there was no direct free kick foul, but the act might have constituted playing dangerously, for which an indirect free kick should have been awarded. If the incorrect free kick–indirect or penalty, as the case may be–was awarded, then there might be grounds for protest, but it could still come down to the referee’s ;judgment, rather than a matter of misapplication.

The game would be best served if the coach used the situation as a teaching tool for his or her team.…

SLIDE TACKLING

Question:
Can you explain to me the proper ways to do slide tackles?My understanding is when the ball is controlled at the attackers feet, that there is no way to execute it without alot of luck.ÊLuck meaning the attacking player was not wiped out.——-The attacking player with the ballÊis going down almost all the timeÊfrom the defender executing the slide tackle. A foul (correct ?) even if the ball is struck first.——-The sliding leg of the defender has to be the one closest to the attacker with the ball ( approaching the attackerÊfrom the left side means the slide tackle from the defender has to slide with the right leg to strike ball) if this not down, a foul (correct ?)———–My understanding of the proper way, is the ball has to be a couple of feet (2-3) in front of the attacker with the ball, the defender still has to use the leg to strike the ball that is on the same side as the attacker, and if executed this way, there is no foul because the attacker has a chance of defensive moves from the tackle. The other way mentioned the attacker has no chance at all.ÊÊThe above examples are with players moving at full speed. This is explained how, so I can easily relay this to the appropriate people in our league.

USSF answer (April 17, 2007):
We have not responded to your question in the way you requested, but we think we have answered it in the only way possible. In brief, there is only one way to slide tackle– safely. And when it is not safe, it is almost always so unsafe as to require a red card for serious foul play.

The term “slide tackle” refers to an attempt to tackle the ball away from an opponent while sliding on the ground. A slide tackle is legal, provided it is performed legally. In other words, there is nothing illegal about a slide tackle by itself–no matter where it is done and no matter the direction from which it comes. Referees (and spectators) should not get hung up on the term “slide” tackling. There is nothing in our concern regarding endangering the safety of the opponent which limits this to a slide tackle. In fact, if, in the opinion of the referee, the tackle endangers the safety of the opponent, it makes no difference if there is contact or not.

FIFA emphasized in the past the great danger in slide tackles from behind because, if this tackle is not done perfectly, the potential for injury is so much greater. Nowadays, if the referee decides that the foul while tackling from any direction–from the front, the side, or the rear–was done in such a way as to endanger the safety of the opponent, the proper action is to send the violator off the field with a red card.

How can tackles become illegal? Two of the most common ways are by making contact with the opponent first (before contacting the ball) and by striking the opponent with a raised upper leg before, during, or after contacting the ball with the lower leg. Referees must be vigilant and firm in assessing any tackle, because the likely point of contact is the lower legs of the opponent and this is a particularly vulnerable area.

The referee must judge each situation of a tackle from any direction individually, weighing the guidelines published by FIFA and the U. S. Soccer Federation, the positions of the players, the way the tackler uses his/her foot or feet, the “temperature” of the game, the age/skill of the players, and the attitude of the players. Only then can the referee make a sensible decision.

While one may (and should) sympathize with the injured player, soccer is a tough, competitive sport, and injuries can happen with no associated infringement of the Law. Players who act on the basis of the opposite presumption, abetted by like-minded spectators, do the sport no good.

For the sake of those who would punish any tackle, we ask that players and referees alike remember that it is not a foul if a sliding tackle is successful and the player whose ball was tackled away then falls over the tackler’s foot. It has to be in the opinion of the referee, but if the tackler accomplishes the objective of taking the ball safely and within the meaning of the Law, then it makes no difference if the player who was tackled then falls down. With a big “UNLESS”: if, in the referee’s opinion, the tackler has used excessive force, then the tackler should be sent off for serious foul play. Or, if the tackler makes the tackle and then lifts either the tackling foot or the other foot and trips the opponent, that is a foul. Simply because a player falls over the foot of the tackler is not a dangerous thing. It’s one of the breaks of the game.…

GET THE RESTART RIGHT!

Question:
During course of play, a player from Team A slides into player from Team B and is hurt. Referee allows play to continue for 5 seconds until he determines that the player is not getting up. Team A has ball in their possession when Referee stops play and stops the clock. He calls out that Team A will re-start play with indirect kick from where they had the ball in their possession.The teams clear the field while the injured player is attended to. During break, Referee confers with Assistant Referee and determines that the injured player deserved a Yellow Card for sliding into the play with spikes up from behind. So, after the injured player is carried off the field, Referee goes to Team A’s bench and gives the player a Yellow Card.

Team A re-starts play with indirect free kick which is played behind Team B’s defense and Team A scores immediately.

Coach from Team B is upset. After the goal is scored but before the kick-off, he asks two questions of the Referee:
1) If you stop play for injury, shouldn’t the game have been re-started with drop ball? 2) If referee gave a yellow card to Team A, how could Team A restart play with indirect free kick? Shouldn’t Team B have received possession of ball at the point of the foul?

If Coach from Team B is correct on either of these points, is there anything that can be done or is it too late?

Referee determined that he may or may not have made an error but it didn’t matter because it was too late.

What is your opinion?

USSF answer (April 10, 2007):
ANSWER CORRECTED APRIL 18, 2007
If the referee was aware of the misconduct, applied advantage, and waited for the next stoppage (which happened to be the injury), the restart should have been a DB.

If the referee decides that the reason (determined after the fact) for the stoppage was NOT the injury but previously missed misconduct by Player A that had happened before the injury but which was brought to his attention ex post facto by the AR, then the proper restart should have been an IFK for team B.

If, as really should have been the case, the referee recognized that the misconduct was serious, then the card should have been red and the restart would still have been an IFK for team B.

If the referee had been totally on top of things and recognized that the red card misconduct was the result of a foul which endangered the safety of an opponent, then the restart should have been a DFK for team B.

There is no scenario here under The Laws of the Game which could result in an IFK for team A.…

SCREENING/SHIELDING VS. IMPEDING AN OPPONENT

Question:
I am having some trouble understanding the difference between these two offenses. screening I believe is when the player has the ball under control without using his hands, arms, legs or body to protect his control of the ball, if an offense has occurred the opponent is awarded a DFK.Impeding the progress, I believe would be when the ball is not under control, the player deliberately prevents the opponent from playing the ball by obstructing the shortest path to the ball, the opponent would be awarded an IFK.

If the opponent is impeded in his progress to the ball by a player using his arm, legs, hands or body (what else can a player impede and opponent with) is the opponent awarded a DFK? Thank You for your time, great web site.

USSF answer (April 10, 2007):
“Screening” is not necessarily an offense, though the word is certainly used that way by various people. To “screen” someone illegally is to block that person’s view. It is most applicable in relation to a player in an offside position “screening” the view of the opposing goalkeeper (or possibly an opposing defender).

You might perhaps mean “shielding,” which is when a player has possession of the ball and does not wish others to take it away. (This is also called “screening.”) When shielding, a player may use the body and arms to protect the ball, but the arms may not be used as tools to push the opponent away. (In other words, the player may not contact the opponent with the arms.) That would be the offense of either pushing or holding, depending on what was done.

Shielding becomes impeding when the player who is shielding the ball does not have possession and cannot establish it.

Here is a definition of impeding from the USSF publication “Advice to Referees on the Laws of the Game”:

12.14 IMPEDING AN OPPONENT
“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, see Advice 12.22). 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).

12.15 PLAYING DISTANCE
The referee’s judgment of “playing distance” should be based on the player’s ability to play the ball, not upon any arbitrary standard.

The restart for holding or pushing is a direct free kick, taken from the spot of the offense. The restart for impeding is an indirect free kick, taken from the spot of the offense.…

GOALKEEPER LEAVES FIELD

Question:
During an RIII match this past weekend, the GK intentionally left the field of play while the ball was in play. While only the GK knows for sure why he left the field, it appeared it was done to re-position a spare ball which was behind his net to the side of the net but it will never be known for sure as circumstance changed while he was off the field. The opposing team won possession and took a long shot on goal presumably to take advantage of the empty net. With his teammate encouragement, the GK re-entered the field of play and picked up the ball on the second bounce just outside the 6′ box thus deny the goal as there were no other defenders inside the 18′ yard box. The Referee played on as if no infraction had occurred which seems to be an incorrect call as the GK clearly gained advantage by his actions whether or not they were intentional.It does not take a lot of presumption on the part of the Referee to appreciate the opposing team took the long shot to benefit from the GK being out of the net. As such, the GK leaving prior to and re-entering after the shot was taken gave the GK an unfair advantage which is why it is a yellow card offense in the LOTG.

The correct call seems to be a yellow for either “deliberately leaving the field of play without the Referee’s permission” or “re-entering the field of play without the Referee’s permission” with the restart being an IFK from the spot where the GK first touched the ball.

A second possibility would have been a yellow for the GK for leaving or re-entering without permission plus a second yellow followed by a red for 2 CT for the GK for Unsporting Behavior as leaving the field and re-entering to make what amounted to a save seems to qualifies as UB. Again, the restart would be an IFK from the spot where the GK first touched the ball though now the team would be playing down a player.

What is the correct call?

USSF answer (April 5, 2007):
The infringement, if such there was, is trifling and not worth considering. The goalkeeper did not leave the field to deceive anyone, nor did he return in a deceitful manner. The correct decision, made by the intelligent referee on the game, is to make no voiced call at all.…

AR’S FLAG SEEN ONLY AFTER FINAL WHISTLE

Question:
After the final whistle, the referee notices signal from his assistant referee. The assistant referee tells the referee that before the final whistle the goalkeeper punched an oppenent inside his own penalty area. What action does the referee take?USSF answer (April 5, 2007):
If the referee accepts the information from the assistant referee, then the correct action is to send off the offending goalkeeper for violent conduct or serious foul play, whichever is appropriate (it is unclear from your question), and then extend time for a penalty kick.…

WHEN MUST THE GOALKEEPER RELEASE THE BALL INTO PLAY?

Question:
I did a search back to early 2004, went to the FIFA site, and several other sites and I can’t seem to find any definitive information. This question pertains to the time period a keeper has to release the ball. If a keeper makes a diving save and either rolls or skids across the ground, at what point does the time limit start? Granted, the keeper intentionally holding the ball would be unsportsmanlike. In the case where the momentum of the goalkeeper carries him after the save, would not the time start at the point in which the keeper has the ability to rise?USSF answer (April 3, 2007):
The ‘keeper has six seconds to release the ball into play, once he or she has established possession–and is able to put the ball into play. This means that the goalkeeper may have to right him-/herself if on the ground and then rise or be able to come to a definite stop if running when taking possession of the ball. These things take time and should not be included in the allowed six seconds. This is, of course, in the opinion of the referee, who also keeps track of time remaining in the game and exercises common sense in adding time for reasonable time lost–the same idea.

Many referees are too eager to begin counting the six seconds, as if those seconds were a magic number that could not be altered through the use of common sense. If you were to keep track of the elapsed time in goalkeeper possession in the top games around the world, you would find that goalkeepers use (and referees allow) anywhere from eight to ten seconds on average. The only time the top referees punish such infringements are when they become habitual and are clearly designed to waste time. Do not let this insignificant matter of a few seconds ruin an otherwise perfectly good game. Remember that the referee can always add time.

And to give you a reference, here is an excerpt from the USSF publication “Advice to Referees on the Laws of the Game”:

12.18 THE “SIX-SECOND” RULE
The goalkeeper has six seconds to release the ball into play once he or she has taken possession of the ball with the hands. However, this restriction is not intended to include time taken by the goalkeeper while gaining control of the ball or as a natural result of momentum. The referee should not count the seconds aloud or with hand motions. If the goalkeeper is making a reasonable effort to release the ball into play, the referee should allow the “benefit of the doubt.” Before penalizing a goalkeeper for violating this time limit, the referee should warn the goalkeeper about such actions and then should penalize the violation only if the goalkeeper continues to waste time or commits a comparable infringement again later in the match. Opposing players should not be permitted to attempt to prevent the goalkeeper from moving to release the ball into play.

CHARGING THE GOALKEEPER

Question:
I have seen lately that referees are not calling charges on the keeper inside his/her penalty area when the keeper is either attempting to control the ball or is in control of the ball. I have always been taught (over 20 years of officiating experience) that the goalkeeper cannot be legally charged inside the penalty area while in control or possession of the ball unless the keeper is playing the ball with his/her feet. I have recently been told by senior ranked (State 5 or above) referees that this is no longer the case and that the keeper may be fairly charged just like any other player on the field and does not have special privellages inside their penalty area. In reading the Advice to Referees Section 12.16 I believe it says that “While the ball is in the possession of the keeper, it cannot be lawfully played by an opponent and any attempt to do so may be punished by a direct free kick.” I also believe I read in the Advice to Referees Section 12.23 that charging a keeper in possesion of the ball should be considered a violation of law 12 and a direct free kick awarded unless the keeper is playing the ball with his head, feet or etc… This would seem to me that nothing has changed and that charging a keeper who is not playing the ball is still illegal. Can you clarify this for me?If you have answered this previously I must have not been able to find it and would appreciate a reference where I can find this answer.

USSF answer (March 30, 2007):
No matter what you may hear from “senior ranked (State 5 or above) referees,” the facts are contained in the document you cite, the USSF publication “Advice to Referees on the Laws of the Game”:

12.16 GOALKEEPER POSSESSION OF THE BALL
The goalkeeper is considered to be in possession of the ball while bouncing it on the ground or while throwing it into the air. Possession is given up if, while throwing the ball into the air, it is allowed to strike the ground. As noted in Advice 12.10, handling extends from shoulder to tip of fingers. While the ball is in the possession of the keeper, it cannot be lawfully played by an opponent, and any attempt to do so may be punished by a direct free kick.

12.17 PREVENTING THE GOALKEEPER FROM RELEASING THE BALL INTO PLAY An opponent may not interfere with or block the goalkeeper’s release of the ball into play. While players have a right to maintain a position achieved during the normal course of play, they may not try to block the goalkeeper’s movement while he or she is holding the ball or do anything which hinders, interferes with, or blocks the goalkeeper who is throwing or punting the ball back into play. An opponent does not violate the Law, however, if the player takes advantage of a ball released by the goalkeeper directly to him or her, in his or her direction, or deflecting off him or her nonviolently.

12.18 THE “SIX-SECOND” RULE The goalkeeper has six seconds to release the ball into play once he or she has taken possession of the ball with the hands. However, this restriction is not intended to include time taken by the goalkeeper while gaining control of the ball or as a natural result of momentum. The referee should not count the seconds aloud or with hand motions. If the goalkeeper is making a reasonable effort to release the ball into play, the referee should allow the “benefit of the doubt.” Before penalizing a goalkeeper for violating this time limit, the referee should warn the goalkeeper about such actions and then should penalize the violation only if the goalkeeper continues to waste time or commits a comparable infringement again later in the match. Opposing players should not be permitted to attempt to prevent the goalkeeper from moving to release the ball into play.

12.23 CHARGING THE GOALKEEPER Referees must carefully observe any charge against the goalkeeper and call as an infringement of Law 12 only those charges which are performed carelessly, recklessly, or with excessive force (direct free kick), are performed in a dangerous manner (indirect free kick), or prevent the goalkeeper from releasing the ball from the hands (indirect free kick). Charging the keeper who is in possession of the ball must be considered an offense because, by definition, the charge cannot be for the purpose of challenging for control of the ball (see Advice 12.16). A goalkeeper can be otherwise legally charged if the ball is not in the goalkeeper’s possession (see Advice 12.16) but is being played by the goalkeeper in some other manner (e. g., dribbled at the feet, headed, etc.).

To sum it up: The goalkeeper in possession of the ball AND preparing to put it into play may NOT be charged or otherwise interfered with. However, the goalkeeper may be charged FAIRLY when both the ‘keeper and the opponent are striving for possession of the ball.

And could it be that this is what the senior referees were saying and that you might have misunderstood?…

FAILURE TO SEND OFF AFTER THE SECOND CAUTION

Question:
On rare occasions, a Referee commits the grievous error of not sending a player off after a second Caution. If the Referee realizes his or her error later in the match, I understand that the Referee is to go ahead and issue the Send-Off. But the situation seems to be really messy, because the officials must now deal with some complications not addressed by the Laws. I’m interested to know if USSF has any guidance on these kinds of questions:What is the status of either team’s achievements and actions during the Interval between the second Caution and the eventual Send-Off? Do all goals scored in the Interval still count? Is the twice-cautioned person still considered to be a player during the Interval? If his or her player status has changed, does that affect rulings on fouls or misconduct committed against him or her during the Interval? If either team’s achievements or errors during that Interval are canceled, does the Referee add time to compensate for what is, effectively, lost playing time?

You know, the more I think about this situation, the less I want to ever stumble into it.

USSF answer (March 28, 2007):
The answer to the first question follows from the rest.
Yes.
Yes.
No.
No answer necessary.

And we agree: It should never happen, which is why all referees and ARs should keep good notes.…