Is there a standard design for the Assistant referee flags?
I see many different designs and would be interested in having a unique one.

USSF answer (February 11, 2009):
No, there is no standard design for these flags, other than that they are square or rectangular.…


Could you explain the decision in the following scenario. It caused a lot of controversy in a recent match and teams still expect an explanation from me:

A player shoots towards goal, first time, as soon as he receives the ball from a team-mate. Just as he shoots, an opposition player tackles him very hard. The tackle deserves either a red, or a yellow card, but the player’s shot goes in (ie. he scores but is left injured). In either situation, whether the tackling player deserves a red, or a yellow card, does the goal stand? Would an advantage be allowed in any case (red or yellow)? Does this apply to all outfield players and the goalkeeper or are there slightly different rules regarding the keeper (committing the foul)?

My thoughts would be since its a “dangerous” tackle, advantage should not be allowed, and the very second the tackle was made, the game stops immediately, therefore, the player who fouls receives a red/yellow card, and the fouled team get a free kick/penalty.

Alternatively, the goal stands and the player is not cautioned or sent off at all. One thing I thought definately shouldn’t happen is for the goal to stand AND the player cautioned/sent off using the “advantage” rule. I thought this is not permitted since the game should immediately stop from the second a dangerous foul is committed, regardless of whether the subsequent shot ends up in goal or not.

USSF answer (February 11, 2009):
Yes, the goal stands, because the referee will sensibly have waited a moment or two to see what happens, applying the advantage but waiting that moment or so to see what happens before announcing it.

The same rules apply to goalkeeper and outfield players for such an infringement. Why would they differ?? In this case, if the referee decides that the tackle was excessive and that it was delivered with no intent to play the ball (e. g., late or from an angle opposite to the ball), then it is and should be reported as violent conduct.  If the referee decides that the player was attempting to play the ball with excessive force, then it is and should be reported as serious foul play.

If there is a chance of a goal, the referee will wait that extra second or so to declare the decision already made: That the tackle was done with excessive force and is therefore serious foul play or violent conduct. The referee must NEVER take away a deserved goal, no matter that the player has been injured. If the ball does not enter the goal, the referee will stop play, send off the opposition player for serious foul play, and restart with a penalty kick or a direct free kick, whichever is correct for the place where the foul and serious misconduct took place.

The referee must make the decision as to what he or she will do at the moment the particular infringement occurs. That will not change for whatever else may happen after the infringement. In this case, the goal was scored and the rest follows automatically.…


There was an incident where 2 high school players were red carded for taking their jersey’s off after the game had ended walking off the field for I’d say in disgust since they lost the game. I find that too harsh to be red cards. Now… they were not taunting anyone and they were not doing anything other than walking off the field. So do you give red cards for that or anything for something like that AFTER the game is over? I find it pretty lame that they have to sit out 1 game for something that did not involve another team or any taunting or fighting or throwing of shirts… now if they were taunting or wanting to fight… fine card them… and throwing of shirts… let the coach deal with that. Is it just a judgement call or was that too outrageous??? Many times have i seen other sports where jersey’s were taken off right after the game was over but no actions were taken. Also could you elaborate on the rules where it says “unsporting behavior”? I think its too vague of a phrase.

USSF answer (February 6, 2009):
Coach, we don’t do high school rules here, so we can speak only to the Laws of the Game (the rules the rest of the world plays by).

First to “unsporting behavior”: The lawmakers (the International Football Association Board) left the words vague for a purpose. That purpose is to enable the referee to apply common sense and intelligence in enforcing the Laws of the Game. Unsporting behavior is any act that could bring the game into disrepute, i. e., any act that runs counter to the spirit of fair play. Some examples: mocking the opponents, as in the removal of shirts during the game; some forms of gamesmanship, such as calling “mine” to fool an opponent; using a cellphone on the field; performing fouls recklessly (without thought for what might happen to the opponent); handling the ball to score a goal; and faking an injury or pretending to have been fouled. There are hundreds of possibilities for unsporting behavior and the referee needs to have this weapon in his or her arsenal.

Second, beyond unsporting behavior, the lawmakers left other portions of the Laws vague as well, for the very reasons explained above.

Third, regarding the removal of shirts AFTER the game, there is absolutely no rule against it. In fact, we see it every day on television at the highest levels of the game.

Finally, as to your question about giving a red card after a game has ended, the Laws of the Game allow a card (regardless of color) to be shown if a player commits misconduct while the referee is still in the area of the field even though the match may have ended. …


Hello I am a new referee and was watching a game where a state referee and president of the soccer league that the teams play for when he red carded a coach when He was not the referee or a.r of the current game I did not know this is legal is it?

USSF answer (January 27, 2009):
No, this was not proper procedure. No person, whether a referee or administrator, is allowed to send off players or show red cards if he or she is not the referee on that game. What that referee did is abuse of his power, clear and simple. Worse, it is wrongful abuse of power and should be reported to the state referee administration and to the state soccer association. Please do so as soon as possible.…