At a U9 girls club game, the field was poorly lined – to stand over the line you could not see them. If you looked down the line they were vaguely visible.

The goalie blocked the ball from going into the net and went to pick it up. The ball never left the field, it never bounced. The ref gave the kick from the penalty line at the spot where she believed he wanted her to stand.

The ref had his left hand in the air and his right pointed to the ground. The goalie stepped up to that point and the ref then lowered both hands to the ground and the goalie stepped up to the new spot the ref motioned to and the ref called a “hand ball” and gave a direct free kick to the other team. This happened a second time, on the third time the ref told her when to stop.

He was aware of the poor condition of the lining of the fields prior to the start of the game – they were away fields for us. Our loss was 2 – 0 due to those kicks. Is this appealable?

USSF answer (October 23, 2008):
Under 9s; club soccer; lines nearly invisible, with referee fully aware of the inexperience of the players and the conditions of the field; referee gives apparently vague guidance to a goalkeeper who is relying on him for assistance.

We can understand the referee not figuring out the problem the first time, but certainly not a second time. These are Under 9s, not traveling team players and certainly not professionals.

The job of the referee at this level of play, as at every other level, is to call the game correctly, but it is also to function as an instructor of sorts, making certain that the players know at least how and why they messed up. It is clear that the referee’s performance was not up to par.

Unfortunately, it is not a matter for appeal. The decisions of the referee regarding facts connected with play, including whether or not a goal is scored and the result of the match, are final. No matter that his advice to your goalkeeper was lacking in concern for the good of the game, this is not something that can be successfully appealed. However, something can be done: The matter should be brought to the attention of the local association or the person who assigned the game

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