HOW TO CAUTION A PLAYER IN RARE CASES

Question:
I know that in most situations when cautioning or sending-off a player, the established procedure is to isolate the player, write any necessary information, administer the caution or send-off, and then display the card. I also know we make exceptions and display the card first when there is a chance of retaliation or in particularly tense situations.However, after reading Advice to Referee 3.21, I have a few other questions about carding mechanics in unusual situations: “If a player or substitute is cautioned or dismissed for misconduct which has occurred during a break or suspension of play, the card must be shown on the field before play resumes.”

1: If a player is sent-off during the half-time interval (for example, in the locker rooms), do I need to require that player to return to the field so he can be shown the red card before the kick-off? If that player leaves the field and its vicinity, to whom should I display a card?

2: By tradition, referees will not show a card to a player who is injured. If the referee needs to caution or send-off a player who was injured and unable to return to play, how should he do it?

In both of these cases, can you display the card “to” some other player (for example, the captain) on this player’s behalf? Should you simply display the card “to” empty space? Should you dispense with the card entirely and simply tell both team captains (and possibly their coaches as well) what punishment has been given?

I appreciate any advice you can give for how to handle these rare situations.

USSF answer (March 22, 2007):
1. The information you cite in Advice 3.21 would apply only in higher-level games. As long as it is clear to both sides that the player has been dismissed during the interval, there is no need for the now-former player to be on the field to receive the card before the next period of play begins. In fact, it would be a bad idea from a player management point of view.

2. This “tradition” is simply that, a tradition, but it is not part of the Laws of the Game nor of any procedures recommended by the U. S. Soccer Federation. It is normal to wait for the player to rise or be carried off, but that is not a requirement. The referee should show the card as soon as it is clear that the player is leaving the field or is able to rise and continue play (provided that no trainers entered the field to apply the magic sponge).

TO SHOW OR NOT TO SHOW THE SECOND YELLOW CARD

Question:
It seems there is quite problem [in our state] that needs a Law interpretation.The issue is simply this. If a Referee shows a yellow card to blue player #5 in the 30th minute, then shows blue player #5 a red card in the 63rd minute for a second cautionable offense, but never actually showed the second yellow card before producing the red card, is this failure of mechanics grounds for protest for the blue player to say since you did not do the carding procedure correctly then the red card can not be enforced?

I have grappled with this issue and can make valid arguments in either direction. I need something from you to solve the argument.

USSF answer (March 14, 2007):
While normal procedure is to show the yellow card first, there is no valid reason for a player to protest being sent off if the referee has failed to show the yellow card for the second caution before showing the red card for the send-off. The referee must be certain to include the matter in the match report.

DENYING THE OGSO

Question:
In a recent tournament as veteran referees were exchanging war stories, we came across a divided decision on a scenario that was encountered at a recent tournament. Please give us your verdict.Attacker takes a shot from the top of the 18. A defender ( we are not sure if it was the goalie or one of the defenders ) realizing that the ball is about to enter the goal, jumps up and grabs the top of the goal cross and brings it down. They were using one of those cheap goals. Ball obviously did not enter the goal and whistle was blown after the ball crossed the goal line.

I think we all agreed that the correct re-start would be a goal kick ( we may be wrong on that? ). The argument is over a caution vs. red card. Some referee argue that it was a USB and it should only be a caution. The others obviously argue that it was a deny of goal scoring opportunity. The administrators at that tournament elected to red card the player after the game.

So give us your opinion, please.

USSF answer (March 14, 2007):
The original offense is unsporting behavior, for which the player must be cautioned. The player’s misconduct is punished by an indirect free kick. Because the misconduct, punishable by an indirect free kick, denied the opponent a goal or an obvious goalscoring opportunity, the player must also be sent off for that reason. This holds true for most scenarios.

However, there is at least one possible scenario in which it would make a difference if it was a field player or the goalkeeper: That would involve the ball contacting the crossbar instead of sailing into the goal (i. e., the crossbar was pulled down just enough to cause the ball to hit it, as opposed to being pulled down enough to cause the ball to sail over it). If the ball made contact with the crossbar AND the offending player was NOT the goalkeeper, then the crossbar became an extension of the player’s hand (just as would be the case if the player threw an object at and struck the ball), so the restart would be a penalty kick in addition to the send-off for S4. If it was the goalkeeper or if the pull on the crossbar allowed the ball to sail totally over it, then IFK for the misconduct in addition to the red card (but this time it would be S5).

ARTIFICIAL AIDS

Question:
What do you think about sticky stuff on the goalkeeper’s gloves? I believe it is covered on throw in and the players using the ribbed gloves, but I have not had anything come up on goalkeepers. My gut-feel is that it is unsporting behavior.USSF answer (March 12, 2007):
The goalkeeper is allowed certain exceptions in the equipment he or she is permitted to wear. These exceptions for the goalkeeper are designed strictly for protection of the goalkeeper, who is often expected to dive quickly to the ground. Law 4 is meant to ensure player safety, not player superiority through artificial means. There is no provision for the goalkeeper or any other player to wear artificial aids to enhance their ability to play. Therefore tacky substances on the hands or “sticky” gloves are illegal equipment and, if used, constitute unsporting behavior for which a caution should be given. The offending substance must be removed and offending gloves may be replaced by others that are not “doctored.”

MAY THE REFEREE ISSUE A CAUTION AFTER THE GAME HAS ENDED?

Question:
I am the president of a soccer club that plays its matches in [a state association]. Yesterday, one of our players received a yellow card for unsporting behavior after the final whistle had blown for the match to be completed. The player was upset at the frequent calling of “unjustified” offsides, and left the pitch without permission in the closing seconds.Is it legitimate for a referee to issue cards after a match?

USSF answer (February 28, 2007):
Yes, it is, provided that the teams have not completely left the field. Here are the instructions we give our referees, taken from the USSF publication “Advice to Referees on the Laws of the Game”:

3.21 DISCIPLINARY PROCEDURES BEFORE, DURING, AND AFTER THE GAME
Misconduct committed by a player or a substitute prior to the start of the match, during the match, during breaks between playing periods is subject to a formal caution or a send-off, as appropriate. Yellow and red cards, which are now mandatory indications of cautions and send-offs, may be shown only for misconduct committed by players, substitutes, or substituted players during a match. “During a match” includes:
(a) the period of time immediately prior to the start of play during which players and substitutes are physically on the field warming up, stretching, or otherwise preparing for the match;
(b) any periods in which play is temporarily stopped;
(c) half time or similar breaks in play;
(d) required overtime periods;
(e) kicks from the penalty mark if this procedure is used in case a winner must be determined.
(f) the period of time immediately following the end of play during which the players and substitutes are physically on the field but in the process of exiting.
//deleted//
Postgame: Any misconduct committed by players or substitutes after the field has been cleared must be described in the game report and reported to the competition authority. Since such misconduct cannot result in a formal caution or send-off, no card may be displayed. Referees are advised to avoid remaining in the area of the field unnecessarily.

The fact that the player left the field of play without permission before the match warranted a caution, as the match had not yet been completed. The referee’s action was within the requirements of the Law.

MAY A SUBSTITUTE/SUBSTITUTED PLAYER BE DISMISSED FOR DENYING AN OBVIOUS GOALSCORING OPPORTUNITY?

Question:
situation 1: an attacker was moving toward the goal with the ball. the goalkeeper was way out of his goal area and a defender tripped and fell, leaving the goal open to the attacker. a substitute who was warming up near the goal ran on to the field without my permission and tripped the attacker who was getting ready to shoot on goal as the defender tripped and fell. i didn’t know what to do, so i cautioned the substitute and gave the goalkeeper’s team an indirect free kick.what should i have done? i know the 2006 Law says we can send off substitutes or substituted players for all 7 of the reasons listed in Law 12, but i am not sure. some referees said i did it right, but others say i should have sent him off. can we really send off substitutes who enter the field illegally and prevent goals?

a second question: what should i do if the substitute or substituted player enters the field without my permission and then simply kicks the ball away, rather than tripping the opponent or committing any other foul?

USSF answer (February 23, 2007):
1. The 2006 changes in Law 3 and Law 12 regarding substitutes or substituted players who illegally enter the field were dealt with in the 2006 edition of the USSF publication “Advice to Referees on the Laws of the Game” (see, for example, the many rewritten entries under Law 3). Unfortunately, the 2006 edition of the Advice does not cover the question about whether a substitute who has entered the field illegally can be sent off if, while on the field and before play is stopped for the illegal entry, he or she handles the ball to prevent a goal or commits any other action which, in the opinion of the referee, interferes with an obvious goal-scoring opportunity.

The answer is yes: A substitute or substituted player can be sent off and shown the red card for any action which, if it had been committed by a player, would have resulted in the player being sent off for either the 4th or the 5th send-off reason listed in Law 12. Just as with players, all elements of the decision to send someone off for either of these reasons are governed by Section D of Law 12 in Advice to Referees and apply to substitutes and substituted players as well as to players.

2. In this second question, the solution for simply kicking the ball by the “invading” substitute or substituted player would be two cautions followed by the send-off for the second caution: one caution for unsporting behavior for entering the field without permission and the second for unsporting behavior for kicking the ball away from the opponent. You would then restart the match with an indirect free kick where the ball was when the substitute illegally entered the field (the first misconduct).

SECOND TOUCH OR GOAL?

Question:
During live play, a GK punts the ball straight up in the air. A strong wind blows the ball toward the goal. The GK touches the ball but it ends up in the goal. Is this a second touch violation or is advantage applied and a goal allowed? (I know this is covered in Advice to Referees in regard to goal kicks taken by a goalkeeper but I see no reference to this particular scenario.)USSF answer (February 21, 2007):
The correct restart would be a kick-off. In touching the ball again, the goalkeeper has violated Law 12 and the referee may apply the advantage. In the case of the goal kick, the goalkeeper would be violating Law 16, in which case the referee may not apply the advantage.

CHANGING A DECISION AFTER A RESTART

Question:
I had an adult game this past weekend, in which player in red team came down from the air and tackle player in blue. My decision at that time was to give the player a yellow card. The player that got hurt could not get up on his own and a trainer and a team player had to get him out of the field.By that time the 3 minutes that were left in the game were gone and I ended the game. Both my assistance and the refs that were waiting for the next game to start agree that it should have been a red card. the question is can I Change a yellow card for a red card before the restart of the game? thank you.USSF answer (February 6, 2007):
Under normal circumstances, the referee may change the administrative punishment ONLY PRIOR to the restart of play. In your situation, there can be no change because you did not make that decision until well after the restart. In fact, you did not make that decision until the match was over. All you can do in such a situation is include full details and facts in the match report.

However, in some cases, the referee may also change the punishment after the game has restarted, but only in accordance with the guidelines provided in the USSF publication “Advice to Referees on the Laws of the Game, Advice 5.14:

5.14 CHANGING A DECISION ON AN INCORRECT RESTART
If the referee awards a restart for the wrong team and realizes his mistake before the restart is taken, then the restart may be corrected even though the decision was announced after the restart took place. This is based on the established principle that the referee’s initial decision takes precedence over subsequent action. The visual and verbal announcement of the decision after the restart has already occurred is well within the Spirit of the Law, provided the decision was made before the restart took place.

Referees must remember that play is stopped when the referee makes a decision, not when the decision is announced, and the referee can call back ANY restart if he/she has already decided to hold up the restart in order to give a red card. The referee must include full details in the match report.

To change the punishment from caution to send-off under any other circumstances would be a violation of the Law. If the referee determines only well after the restart that the player should have been sent off, the full facts of the matter must be included in the match report. In addition, the referee must notify the player or team of the decision.

OFFSIDE VS. PENALTY KICK: COMMUNICATIONS, COMMUNICATION, COMMUNICATION!!

Question:
I was recently on a game where the attacker was offside and actively involved in play. I put my flag up to indicate offside, but the referee did not see me. During the pregame the center official instructed both me and the other assistant referee to “leave the flag up if you put it up no matter what.” The attacker dribbled directly into the penalty area where he was fouled. The referee had called a penalty kick and the defensive opponent was sent off for denying an obvious goal scoring opportunity. The defensive team pointed to me with my flag up to indicate I had called offside to the center official. The referee came over to talk to me on the touchline. I told the center official that the attacker that was fouled, was offside. BEFORE THE RESTART OF PLAY, he called the first infringement which was offside. He then came over to the defender who was sent off, and was still on the team bench but putting his things away in his bag and cautioned the defender making it very clear with his words and body language “I messed up, you are not sent off, but you are receiving a caution for the tackle in the penalty area that was unsporting behavior.” The referee allowed the player to continue playing for the rest of the duration of the match.Question #1: Should I have gone with my center and give indication for the penalty kick, or did I do the right thing by indicating offside?

Question #2: Does the misconduct still stand, despite the call being changed?

Question #3: Did the referee do the right thing by indicating that the defender was not sent off, but cautioned for unsporting behavior?

USSF answer (January 29, 2007):
1. You followed the referee’s instructions from the pregame conference, which is what you are supposed to do–unless the referee is about to violate one of the Laws of the Game or a rule of the competition. We might note that this instruction should never be given by a referee, other than with regard to serious foul play/violent conduct or when the ball has gone out of play and returned to the field–unless “too much play” has gone on, including stoppages and restarts.

2. Yes, the concept of misconduct should still be considered. an option for the referee. if the act would normally have been called a foul, but did not involve the use of excessive force, the defender should be cautioned, just as the referee did it.

3. Yes.

THE WALL AS “CHORUS LINE”

Question:
I have a couple questions involving the setting of defensive walls based on occurrences I’ve seen in youth and adult matches. In a lot of adult matches in my area, when the whistle is blown for a foul, the defensive player takes his time getting up off the ground and then stands precisely in front of where the ball will be positioned. As often as not, he will be joined by a teammate. They may talk with each other, opponents, or the referee in what appears to me to be an effort to delay their leaving and simultaneously distract the referee from his/her mission at that point: To encourage a quick free kick, unencumbered by defenders within 10 yards of the ball. I’ve seen frequent instances where the referee tells them either by words or gestures to leave the vicinity repeatedly while the ball is being retrieved, and continue to do this with slow, partial compliance after the ball is positioned. Often the attackers do not ask for the 10 yards but the referee continues trying to move the defenders out, sometimes from a distance, sometime wading into the group and “pushing” them back (not physically touching them though). In these instances, the attackers will put the ball into play when they see that they’ve obtained a slight advantage due to a defender turning his head to see if he’s lined up properly with the goal, or turning his head to look at the referee and acknowledge the referee’s request to back out. Everybody seems to know what the games are at this point: The attackers’ game is to use the referee to distract the defenders and to put the ball into play when they see a good opportunity without waiting for the 10 yards. The defenders’ game is to get a good wall set up behind the player who is stalling the taking of the free kick. Surprisingly the defenders don’t complain that the referee was distracting them when the attackers get off the free kick, but then it seldom scores either. My lead question for you is “Just how long should the referee persist in trying to back out the defenders unbidden by the attackers?” I heard there was a memo some years back recommending that the referee should do this only until the ball was positioned, then to become an observer unless the attackers asked for the 10 yards. The advice to referees says (section 13.3) “The referee should move quickly out of the way after indicating the approximate area of the restart and should do nothing to interfere with the kicking team’s right to an immediate free kick. At competitive levels of play, referees should not automatically “manage the wall,” but should allow the ball to be put back into play as quickly as possible, unless the kicking team requests help in dealing with opponents infringing on the minimum distance.” So, should we not ask or demand that the defenders leave? Or should we desist at some set point unless the attackers ask for the 10 yards? That is not interfering with the attackers’ rights but it could be construed as interfering with the defenders’ rights (to not be distracted by officials). I know I took a lot of words to get to the point but this has been bugging me why so few fouls result in quick free kicks.My second question is in regard to the behavior of players in the properly set defensive wall. I don’t see this often and when I do, it typically is with girls and I chuckle but one of my colleagues has a sterner attitude. After the wall is set at the proper distance, the girls will have their arms on one another’s shoulders and they begin singing or dancing in unison, maybe kicking one foot high a la Can-Can. I watch the attackers and try to judge whether the defenders’ actions unfairly distracted the kicker. If I don’t see them visibly distracted, I let it go as a trifling infringement and let the girls have their fun. The coaches of the attackers usually want the defenders to be cautioned. My stern colleague doesn’t see much humor in the situation and usually tells the defenders to “knock it off!” Is there a standard response to this situation, or should one try to judge whether the defenders’ actions unfairly distract the kicker and act accordingly? If there is a standard response, what should it be?

Thank you for your insight into these situations. I’m a great fan of the advice you give.

USSF answer (January 3, 2007):
1. Defending team fails to retreat at restart:
Normally, we do instruct referees to allow the kicking team to take the kick quickly, if they wish, without interfering with it. However, if, in the opinion of the referee, the defenders are too close to the kick, he or she should avoid playing into the defenders’ hands and becoming an unwitting player on their team–the referee has done the work of the defense by delaying the restart of play and has not made the defenders pay any price for this benefit. Once the referee has decided to step in on your own initiative to deal with opponents who are “too close to the kick,” the threshold limit for a card has been met.

2. The wall as chorus line:
The referee must recognize that while members of the wall are allowed to jump about when opponents are taking a kick, choreographed actions that are unnatural and designed to both intimidate and to shock and distract their opponents constitute bringing the game into disrepute. As this occurred before the ball was in play, the correct call could be unsporting behavior on the part of the particular player whom the referee chooses from the chorus line. Caution and show the yellow card; restart with the free kick.