During a recent high school game the goalkeeper was stepped on by an attacker in what appeared to several non-working referees in attendance (including myself) to be a deliberate act. Neither of the two working referees saw the actual contact as their vision was blocked by other players. The 2-man system is used regularly for HS games in our area to save on expenses. Of course they should have had a better position but that is the problem with a 2-man crew.

The goalkeeper had dived for a through-ball and retained possession although play was stopped for his obvious injury. When the referees went to check on the goalkeeper, there were pronounced cleat marks on his leg and he was unable to continue in the game. They did not call a foul, however, claiming they had not seen exactly what happened.

In such a case, can a referee justify calling a foul based on the physical evidence of the keeper’s obvious injury and perhaps even issue a caution to the offending player? The keeper had possession 1 – 2 steps ahead of the attacking player, so it is hard to imagine the attacker being unable to avoid the contact.

BTW… The keeper was my son so I am certainly biased in my thoughts on the situation. It would be good to know your opinon for the future, however, regardless of how you come down on the issue. It is something that I might have to deal with on the field as well.

USSF answer (March 17, 2008):
Disclaimer: We do not deal with high school rules and certainly not with the two-man system of refereeing.

The referee cannot call and the assistant referee cannot flag for a foul he (or she) has not seen While it is clear from the obvious “hoof marks” on the goalkeeper’s leg that someone stepped him, without a clear view of the incident, it would not be possible to (a) conclusively rule out that it was a teammate of the goalkeeper or (b) that it happened completely by accident, rather than as a result of a foul. The circumstantial evidence may be strong, but it is still only circumstantial.

No matter which system the officials are working, they must work — let us emphasize it, WORK — to be in position to see what is going on when players are competing for the ball. This inability to see some situations is, as you point out, one of the flaws in the two-man system.…


In a GU11 club game, defending team is whistled for a handball in the penalty area. Keeper drops her arms and the other
defenders slow down, attacker strikes the ball a second or two after the whistle and it goes into the net. Referee disallows the goal at first, then walks over to the near A/R and talks to him as the parents from the attacking team start yelling.

Referee signals for the kickoff and tells our coach that he should have called “advantage” and that was why he decided to allow the goal. The ref went on to say, “never replace a scored goal with a PK.”

I maintained that he misunderstood the LOTG, and once the whistle was
In a GU11 club game, defending team is whistled for a handball in the penalty area. Keeper drops her arms and the other defenders slow down, attacker strikes the ball a second or two after the whistle and it goes into the net. Referee disallows the goal at first, then walks over to the near A/R and talks to him as the parents from the attacking team start yelling. blown, play was dead, and a PK should have been awarded.

USSF answer (March 10, 2008):
O, those inventive (and chicken-hearted) referees!

You are correct. The referee cannot change his decision to stop play after having blown the whistle, no matter what input the assistant referee provided in their brief conference. No goal. Restart with the penalty kick.…


Is FIFA looking at using 2 referees in future World Cup matches?

I recently played in an adult league match where there were 2 referees. Each refereed called the game on their half of the field. When I asked about the 2 referee format, I was told that it would be implemented by FIFA for the 2010 World Cup.

Can you verify that this is the case?

USSF answer (March 10, 2008):
There was an announcement recently that FIFA was considering an experiment with a two-referee system (with assistant referees) with an eye to using it in a future World Cup setting. This was only for purposes of high-level soccer, not for our everyday games.

We do not know where you play, but the dual system of control, the “two-man” system, is not allowed to be used in games under the aegis of the United States Soccer Federation or its affiliates. The only system of officiating to be used is the diagonal system of control, as described in the Laws of the Game.

And, as a follow-on, this item from Soccer America online:

More refs experiment OKed; goal-line tech scrapped
Tuesday, Mar 11, 2008 6:45 AM ET
[REF WATCH] At its Annual General Meeting, the International Football Association Board, which oversees FIFA’s Rules of the Game, has suspended the pursuit of goal-line technology and agreed to experimentation with two additional assistant referees.

FIFA’s statement on goal-line technology included, “Amongst others, the questions of the human aspect of the Game, the universality of the Rules of the Game, as well as the simplicity and efficiency of the technology were taken into consideration.”

FIFA President Sepp Blatter said, “There has been no change of heart. Referees make decisions, not machines. I have defended goal-line technology but it has become clear that such systems are too complicated and very costly. Nor would they necessarily add anything positive to the game and could harm the authority of the referee.

“We have to maintain the laws of the game in their simplicity. Do you want technical devices to take decisions? That’s why, after three years of tests with no conclusions, I am in favor of putting the whole thing on ice.”

The IFAB has approved a proposal from FIFA to conduct an experiment involving two additional assistant referees who will mainly focus on the fouls and misconduct in the penalty area. The competition in which this test will be conducted will be decided at a later stage.

The IFAB also approved specific field-size guidelines for “A” internationals. It set a fixed size of 105m long and 68m wide (instead of a minimum and maximum length – from 100m to 110m – and a minimum and a maximum width – from 64m to 75m).

Also, FIFA President Blatter addressed violent tackles, reiterating that “players committing such acts should be banned”.

The International F.A. Board is composed of The English Football Association, The Scottish Football Association, The Football Association of Wales, The Irish Football Association (Northern Ireland) and FIFA. Representing its 204 other members, FIFA has four votes on the body, while the four British associations have one vote apiece. A proposal requires a three-quarter majority (i.e., six of the eight votes) to be passed.


Is there an unwritten rule or understanding that if the play is so close that the AR is unable to determine with any confidence whether or not the player receiving the ball was or was not in an offside position that the AR should decide in favor of either the attacking team or defending team?

While watching some highlights from the 2002 World Cup I saw a few situations where Italian forwards were found to be in an offside position at the moment the ball was played forward to them within the attacking half, however, even when you look at these plays in super slow motion it’s difficult to determine whether or not the players are for sure in an offside position. In such situations, are ARs advised to go in favor of the defending team?

The only thing I was able to find that’s remotely close to this topic was within Advice to Referees on the Laws of the Game section 11.7 where it states: “if an assistant referee is in any doubt as to whether a player is actively involved or not, the assistant referee is expected to decide in favor of the attacker; in other words, to refrain from signaling offside.”

But this has to do with whether or not the player in an offside position is actively involved. It doesn’t address what to do if the player is actively involved, but the AR is still unable to determine if this player is in an offside position or not because the play is so close and the action so fast.

In other words, as an AR are you only called to put up your flag to indicate offside if you’re 100% sure? Or if there’s any doubt, do you favor the defending team?

USSF answer (March 3, 2008):
When in doubt, leave the flag down. A less elegant, but equally valid way of saying what is in the Advice — and it is what we tell all referees who are acting as ARs. And your interpretation of offside seems somewhat skewed. If the AR cannot flag a player for offside who is not actively involved in play, then the AR has no decision to make other than to keep the flag down. Players are entitled to be in an offside position whenever their team is on the attack. They are punished only when they are in the offside position and become involved in play.…


In a recent Premier League game Manchester City hosted a match and distributed balloons to fans. The balls were behind the City goal most of the time but quite a few blew onto the field in front of the goal when, you guessed it, the ball was sent across the goal mouth on the ground. A defender was positioned to kick the ball away but instead kicked a balloon. An attacker struck the correct round object and scored the goal that won the game. The referee allowed the goal to stand but it is thought that the rule about “outside agency” should be applied instead.

What is correct?

In another recent professional game the ball was kicked high to a player who was dashing along the touchline looking at the descending ball. He had to step over the line to receive the ball but fell as he ran into the unseen AR who was also running tight along the touchline off the field. The player would likely have been able to play the ball as no opponent was anywhere near. The AR could see the play and I expected him to drift wide of the play, which he didn’t do. Possession went straight to the opponents. There was no call; no drop ball restart.

What is correct?

The use of arms to protect the defenders who are formed into a “wall” in front of a goal has been accepted to protect the face, groin area and heart. I expect the arm/hand should be touching the body, or almost so. However it’s a common enough sight on replays to see defender’s arms deliberately reaching out to prevent the ball from striking them. I’ve even seen the ball repelled by an elbow. Consider an arm extended about 14 inches in front of a contorted face (I’m measuring this right now with a ruler) seems to be a deliberate act of directing the ball away to an unthreatening area of the field than would occur if the arm was held protectively close to the body.

What is correct?

USSF answer (February 12, 2008):
1. Balloonacy
Under Law 5 the referee has the powers to protect the safety of the players and to stop, suspend or terminate the game for outside interference of any kind. The only reasons for the referee to stop the play for balloons or other foreign objects being thrown onto the field would be if he or she considered that (a) the state of the ground was hazardous for the participants, (b) the balloons were causing the game to become farcical, or (c) he or she considered them to be outside interference.

If it is at all possible, the referee should act preventively to have foreign objects removed from the field before any incidents occur to mar the game. In these circumstances the game would be suspended until the playing surface had been cleared of the foreign objects.  If play was stopped for this, the restart would be a dropped ball at the place where the ball was when play was stopped. If the referee had the time to act preventively to have the items removed, play would be suspended at an appropriate stoppage in the game and restarted according the reason for the stoppage — throw-in corner kick, etc. However, if there is a great number of foreign objects in one playing area, such as in the penalty area, and this could interfere with both sides enjoying an equal opportunity for a good game, the referee should stop play immediately.

This problem is a difficult one for referees to manage at any level of play, but particularly at the professional level, as the longer the game is suspended to deal with this type of incident, the greater the risk of the spectators continuing to disrupt the game.  In most countries the referee would not hold up the game for such incidents unless the foreign objects were completely covering a large area of the playing surface.

2. Player knocking over the AR (or vice versa)
The assistant referee is considered to be part of the field. If he or she is hit during the course of play by the ball or by a player, there is no infringement, nor is there any need to stop play; the only reason to stop play would be if the ball has left the field. (Let us note that the AR should be well off the field in all cases.)

3. Raising the arm from the body to play the ball
Players are indeed allowed to put their arms across their bodies to protect themselves. However, if, in the opinion of the referee, the player so doing is actually moving the arms or hands to control the ball, that constitutes deliberate handling and must be punished accordingly.…


Where should the AR stand when indicating a goal kick? The Guide To Procedures does not specify a position. In our training classes, the instructor said that it is customary to be standing in the corner behind the corner flag when signaling. The rationale given for this is that the AR should have traveled all the way to the goal line to verify the ball was out, and therefore that is where he is left standing and thus the signal should be given there. However, there are a few reasons to challenge this.

One reason is consistency. For all other indications of ball placement by the AR, the position is directed to be perpendicular to the point where the offense (foul, offside, misconduct) occured. In an offside situation where the AR is still moving with the players while waiting for active involvement, once that involvement occurs, the AR moves back to the point of the restart and indicates the restart by pointing his flag. So it would be more consistent to have the AR move to a point perpendicular with the top of the goal area and indicate the goal kick restart with his flag (acknowledging that while the ball can be placed anywhere in the goal area, in practice it is rarely placed far from the top of the goal area). This procedure would have the additional benefit of making the restart more clearÊto all participants and spectators who may have missed the flag signal: the restart is a goal kick when the AR is at the 6, and it is a corner kick when the AR is at the corner. As an aside, I have noticed while watching EPL games that the EPL ARs signal goal kicks when perpendicular to the top of the goal area.

Another reason to challenge this convention is that due to a shortage of referees, many refs are pressed into service to handle multiple games a day. A referee who wishes to follow the proper procedures finds himself running needlessly all the way to the corner to indicate each goal kick, even on blasts that are taken from 30 yards out. While it might seem trivial to save 6 yards on every run down the touch line to indicate a goal kick, it would serve to save energy that is wasted unnecessarily in the desire to follow the customary procedures.

USSF answer (December 19, 2007):
We see no reason at all to challenge your instructor’s statement that it is customary to stand at or very near to the corner flag. As your instructor said, the AR is expected to run each and every ball to the goal line, no matter how “certain” it is that it will either pass out of play or that the goalkeeper will get it before any opposing player does. The Guide does not give this guidance to the AR for ANY restart. Nowhere does the Guide specify this for either the referee or the AR, because where a restart is signaled is a function of positioning during the dynamic play which immediately precedes whatever event causes the restart.

Your point about consistency is actually apt — though not for the reasons you suggest — even though there is a major difference between fouls or misconduct and a ball passing out of play over the goal line. The AR must be at the place to indicate as closely as possible where the infringement will be punished or the restart will be taken. The only possible exception would be in the case of offside, which will often not be punished at a point perpendicular to the AR, but at a point farther back up the field. (Remember that the restart for offside is taken at the place where the player was when he or she was when the the ball was last played by a teammate, not where the ball was received or the player finally became actively engaged.)

What you describe as needless expenditure of energy is what we think of as doing the job right. If there is a shortage of referees, help out by doing some recruiting to make the job easier for you and your colleagues.…


When waving down an AR there is always the chance that the referee is making a mistaken assumption as to which player the AR is indicating. Most times it is clear what has happened. But in situations (usually near midfield) where there may be a lot of players who could become involved in play and/or who are blocking the referee’s peripheral vision, mistaken assumptions can be made. Here is a situation that leads to some questions.The attacking team kicked the ball in the air over midfield. When the ball was played, there was an attacker wide on the left side of the field and another in the middle, both just over midfield and in offside positions. As the ball passed over the head of the attacker in the center, angling towards the attacker on the left, the AR raised the flag. It was just a bit early since the wide player had not yet touched the ball, but it was clear he was definitely going to receive the ball. The referee, assuming that the AR was prematurely indicating the center attacker was participating in active play, waved the flag down. The AR lowered his flag and quickly returned to his proper position with the 2LD. The offside attacker wide on the left received the ball and play continued for 4 seconds until the ball was put out for a corner kick. Now, had the defending team cleared the ball, or if the ball had gone out for a goal kick or throw-in for the defending team, there would be no problem. But since the attacking team retained possession of the ball, they continue to gain an advantage from the miscommunication between the referee and the assistant.

Since the AR is the one that knows what has happened, what should he do about this situation? Should the AR “insist” that the attacker who eventually (1 second later) received the ball player is offside and refuse to lower the flag when waved down? Should he indicate to the referee immediately upon the next stoppage that he needs to speak to the referee and inform him of the facts (and if this is the correct action, would itÊmatter if it had taken much longer than 4 seconds before the next stoppage occurred)? Should the AR simply comply with the referee and take no action? Or is there another answer?

And if the referee were to have discovered the facts, what action can he take? Has the offside been canceled once the AR lowers his flag, thereby eliminating his options? Or can the referee (aware that he could make mistaken assumptions when lots of players are around at the point of attack) hold up the next restart, quickly speak with the assistant, discover that the attacker who received the ball was also offside, and restart the game with an indirect kick fat the point of the original offside infringement?

It could be argued that changing the decision could negatively impact the referee’s credibility and game control, but the alternative outcome could be much worse such as a goal scored off the corner kick. And if the referee is permitted to restart with the indirect kick for the offside, then what is the status of a foul or misconduct that may have occured in the intervening time between the offside infringement and the next stoppage of play? Would a subsequent foul have to be considered misconduct since, technically, play was stopped at the original time of the offside and the foul took place when play was stopped?

USSF answer (December 19, 2007):
If there has been no subsequent restart between the moment when the referee waved down the assistant referee’s flag and the next stoppage of play, in this case the corner kick, the AR may confer with the referee. If the referee accepts the information supplied by the AR, the ball is brought back to place where the player was adjudged to be offside — i. e., where the player was when his/her teammate played the ball — and the indirect free kick is awarded to the opposing team.

To attract the referee’s attention at that next stoppage, the AR should give the signal for offside: flag raised above his/her head and, when the referee sees the signal, indicate position on the field of the offside; in this case, the far side of the field. If there is a need to confer, then the referee must come to the AR. To avoid such situations in the future, the referee should make eye contact with the assistant referees as often as possible and should wave off the AR’s flag only if the AR has shown him-/herself to be unreliable. Let us emphasize here that unless the referee has reason to believe that the AR’s judgment is unreliable, an AR’s flag for offside should not be waved down. The exception here is when the developing offside situation is in the far third of the field, in which case the referee needs to delay action long enough to make an independent judgment about involvement in active play as typically he would be in a better position to evaluate this than an AR who is 50-80 yards away.

We would like to remind all referees — yet again — that touching the ball is not required when there is an attacker in an offside position making an obvious play for the ball UNLESS there is also an onside position attacker also making an obvious play for the ball. According to your scenario, BOTH attackers (one in the middle and one on the far left) were in offside positions and so the AR should have signaled as soon as it became clear that EITHER ONE OF THEM was making an obvious play for the ball.…


Scenario: (real adult game)
Blue team is attacking on the White’s team side of the field. With the ball in play, Blue defender outside his own penalty area, commits a misconduct (violent conduct – head butt) against on opponent in plain view of AR2..

AR2 raises his flag to gain the attention of the referee (sorry no electronic flags) that has his back turned to him. AR1 mirrors AR2 (the fans are also screaming). The referee turns and makes eye contact with AR2 but does not stop play. Play continues for several more seconds. Now the referee stops play for a foul committed against a Blue player near the touch line on the AR1 side of the field.

During the stoppage, the referee comes over to the AR2 side of the field, he is informed of the misconduct and issues a send off to Blue defender.

Question: Proper Restart
Is the game restarted with a free kick in favor of the Blue team since play was allowed to continue and the reason for the stoppage was the foul or bring the ball back to the spot of the misconduct and restart with a free kick in favor of the White team?

I read both the ATR and the Q&A but I could not find an answer that would clear my doubt.

Answer (November 1, 2007):
Even though the referee stopped play for the foul against the Blue player on AR1’s side of the field, rather than for the serious misconduct flagged by AR2 and mirrored by AR1, the correct restart, after the “conference” during which the referee accepts A2’s flag, is for the foul committed near AR1. The restart will follow the sending off of the Blue defender for violent conduct.

When the referee accepts the trail AR’s signal (and there is CLEARLY no basis for considering the offense either trifling or subject of advantage), then we would count the stoppage as being for the offense signaled by the trail AR. Just because the referee stopped play thinking at the moment that it was for the second offense occurring near AR1, there is no reason why this opinion cannot be changed after receiving more detailed information from AR2. It is often the case that the referee sees the retaliation and misses what causes it. If an AR is able to supply relevant information about the prior offense, the referee can now sort out what happened first and decide on the restart accordingly.

Finally, shame on the referee for not following through immediately on the foul and misconduct committed by the Blue player behind the referee’s back. There is absolutely no reason for a referee to look at an AR, see the flag, and continue the game without stopping — unless there has been some reason earlier in the game for the referee to be wary of the AR’s judgment.…


Setup: I was A/R, flagged an “offside” infraction, referee didn’t see my flag, ball went on down the field toward defender’s goal. I kept holding my flag up like a good, little soldier. Another defender came in, got the ball, and was fouled( yellow card issued). I still held my flag. Referee (his back to me, in far quadrant) made note of infraction on his paper, signaled start of play, ball moved down the field, and play was off and running. I finally dropped my flag as the blood was draining and making me light headed.

My opposite A/R never echoed my signal – which might have helped, granted. And I was surprised that not one player or coach hollered, “look at your A/R” (which might have help also). But the fact is that since the offside penalty should have stopped play and there was a subsequent yellow card given, it would seem that the yellow card was negated (or should have been negated) because of the foul. (but, since the referee didn’t call it, then I guess it wasn’t a foul after all – sort of like, “if a tree falls the words and no one hears it” scenario)

Question is this: how long does an A/R actually hold his/her flag? Play did technically go in favor of the defenders (as it should with an offside call. If a referee ignores the A/R’s signal, and subsequent fouls occur (in this case, a yellow card issued), is there anything an A/R should do to bring attention to this? (and yes, I am a firm believer in the adage that an A/R is there to assist, not insist – I’m just looking for advice on how to handle situations like this if it comes up again)

Answer (October 2, 2007):
You would appear to have broken one of the prime commandments of the assistant referee by INsisting on a call rather than ASsisting. No matter that the other AR did not mirror your flag and the referee ignored it totally, the AR does not hold the flag up until his/her arm drains of blood, except in three situations:

  1. OFFSIDE . . ., but ONLY if the attacking team still in possession
  2. Ball out of bounds and comes back on the field
  3. Violent conduct that the referee did not see

You will find the following information in the 2007 edition of the USSF publication “Advice to Referees on the Laws of the Game,” now available for purchase on the website:

If the assistant referee signals a ball out of play, but the referee does not see the signal for an extended period, during which play is stopped and restarted several times, the assistant referee should lower the flag. The FIFA Referee Committee has declared that it is impossible for the referee to act on the assistant referee’s signal after so much play. If the referee misses the assistant referee’s signal for offside, the assistant referee should stand at attention with the flag raised until the defending team gains clear possession or until a goal kick or throw-in is awarded to the defending team. To avoid such situations, the referee should make eye contact with the assistant referees as often as possible. In addition, the assistant referees must be alert for and mirror each other’s signals if needed to assist the referee.The assistant referee should maintain a signal if a serious foul or misconduct is committed out of the referee’s sight or when a goal has been scored illegally. The referee should cover this situation during the pregame conference with the assistant referees.

So, in line with the last paragraph of the quote, what were the referee’s pregame instructions? (A) There weren’t any at all (bad ref, no donut), (B) there were instructions which the AR followed to no avail (also bad ref), or (C) there were instructions and the AR didn’t follow them (no donut for the AR).

Resolve this problem and the bad situation goes away.…


Blue team is ahead 2-1 with 5 minutes to go in the game. The White team makes a long, high cross into Blue team’s box. The ball goes well over everyone’s head by 4-5 feet, and is picked up by the Blue goalkeeper after it bounces to him. The nearest White and Blue player are at the top of the penalty area, so the ball was clearly well over their heads. The Referee who was in position at the top of the penalty arc, starts turning up-field for the punt.

AR1 waves his flag, and calls for a foul against the Blue team, which the Referee obviously did not see. AR1 tells the Referee that a Blue player “obstructed” a White player. Despite the fact that the ball was well over everyone, the Referee decides to call the foul and points to the mark, for a PK.

The Blue team coach calls for an explanation from the Referee and AR1, arguing that (a) the ball was never playable, and (b) impeding (AR1’s “obstruction”) calls for an indirect free kick, not a PK. No explanation is provided by the Referee or AR1 to the coach or any of the Blue players who ask. The Blue team coach, who is sitting on the far side of the midfield line, crosses the midfield line (does not enter the field of play) asking AR1 for an explanation. AR1 tells him to go away or he will be ejected. The coach keeps asking for an explanation. He never enters the field of play or interferes with the game. AR1 tells him that they will not continue the game until he leaves the field. The coach leaves the field, leaving his assistant in charge. This whole exchange takes place in less than 30 seconds and at no time did the Referee get involved.

From AR2’s point of view, the coach did leave his technical area and spoke to AR1, but was never abusive or physically confrontational, never got within 10 feet of AR1, and was never spoken to, warned, or ejected by the Referee. At AR1’s insistence he left he field without argument, prior to the PK.

Indeed, the Referee never spoke with the Blue coach. Even after the Blue coach left “voluntarily,” the Referee never indicated by word or action that he had decided to eject the coach. He did not inform the Blue team, its assistant coach, or anyone else, that the coach was ejected. He never warned the Blue coach or told him to leave the field. He never wrote anything in his game card or report.

After the game, AR1 told the rest of the crew that he told the Referee to call a PK because the Blue player grabbed the White player’s jersey. The Referee said he didn’t see the holding, but accepted AR1’s view. AR1 also tells the Referee, after the game, that the Blue coach was thrown out of the game, and the Referee enters this in the match report, even though he never actually made that call either.

Q1. Regardless of what AR1 told the Blue coach, isn’t the Referee the only one who can decide to eject a team official, or anyone else for that matter? Can the AR single-handedly decide to eject someone?

Q2. Did the coach’s decision to leave the field mean that he was thrown out, even though the Referee never actually ejected him or told him to leave?

Q2. If the Referee never told the coach to leave the field, was he correct in entering the ejection in the match report after the game, at the insistence of AR1? Q3. Was the Referee correct in calling for a PK, instead of an indirect free kick, even though the ball was well over everyone’s head?

Answer (September 6, 2007):
Without knowing more than your side of the story, we can still offer some useful information.

1. The AR is required to keep the referee informed of information on events that take place out of the sight of the referee and to supply additional information on events that the referee has seen (if asked to do so). We might add that the AR’s job is to ASSIST the referee in the management of the game, not to INSIST that a particular call be made.

2. If the coach did indeed leave the field only at the word of the AR and the referee was unaware of it, then the coach was not expelled by the referee and there should be no mention of an expulsion in the match report. The AR may not expel a coach or any other team official; that can only be done by the referee. The AR can draw the referee’s attention to the matter if that is necessary. Waiting until after the game to bring this matter to the referee’s attention is not proper procedure. The matter may be included in the match report, but the AR MUST then justify his or her action in writing, giving full details of the irresponsible behavior by the coach that led to the AR acting without authority to “expel” that coach.

3. How do we know the AR told the referee the foul called with five minutes to go was “obstructing” and not the holding mentioned later in your question? There is no longer any such foul as “obstructing,” by the way; the correct call is “impeding the opponent.” If “obstructing” is indeed what the AR said, then the referee was in error for awarding a penalty kick. The penalty kick would have been correct if the foul was holding.

So that you know for the future, there is no requirement that the ball be anywhere near the action when a foul is called. A foul is committed on the field, by a player, against another player (or, in the case of deliberate handling, against the opposing team and the Spirit of the Laws), when the ball is in play. The ball could be at the far end of the field and a penalty kick could be called at the near end of the field and this would be in accordance with the Laws of the Game.…