A second ball enters field of play as a team was attacking close to opposition’s penalty box. The second ball almost hit the center referee who was close to play. He tempted to chase away that second ball. As he looked to follow the flight of that second ball, the attacking team scored in the meantime. Is that goal legitimate ?USSF answer (January 22, 2007):
If the referee did not see the ball enter the goal, there is no goal. The referee should pay attention to outside agents (such as the extra ball) only if they somehow interfere with play on the field.


I’ve let this letter simmer for a couple of months so that my own attitude settles a bit. I would almost prefer that the question not be published, but it brings up issues that need to be addressed at many levels of competitive soccer. We’ve seen too many other youth sports where someone at a game went nuts. Then the situation spirals out of control and people end up hurt (or worse). I would hate to see our youth soccer programs end up in the same mess, but I won’t be terribly surprised when it happens.I have been active in soccer as a parent, coach and referee over the past 12 years. For the event listed below, I was just a parent.

Situation: U16 boys competitive tournament. White is a local team. Red is from out of town. About 5 minutes into the first half, still scoreless, opposing players are battling for the ball near midfield. White pushes red, red pushes back harder â a fairly typical foul for this level. The referee blows his whistle and indicates white ball, DFK. The players start backing away from the ball, getting ready for the kick. So far, all is normal. Before play can resume, the assistant referee closest to the play charges onto the field (8-10 yards), shouting at the red player “what’s your problem?”, bumps the player in the chest a couple of times and finally retreats to his sideline. The referee shows no card to any player, and says nothing to either the player or the AR.

When I complained to the tournament officials about the actions of the referee and assistant referee, they refused to even send an observer to monitor the rest of the game.

White ended up winning the game 2-1.

Questions: Under what circumstance is physical contact permitted between the referee crew and the players? Is it simply to restrain players involved in a fight? That clearly was not the case here. If it had been the other way around, or if it happened between two players, I believe the charging party would have been red-carded for violent conduct.

USSF answer (January 11, 2007):
Under no circumstances should an assistant referee or a referee act in the manner you describe. While some referees have a knack of handling players differently than others, such as being able to use actual physical contact, what you describe is well “over the top.” The AR should have been admonished by the referee and the referee should have included full details of the incident in a report to the referee authorities.


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.


In looking at two different publications, each speaks of a slightly different restart, possibly, when a player attempts to play a ball that is in the possession of the keeper.The first comes from Advice to Referees…… section 12.16 and says………while the ball is in the possession of the keeper, it cannot lawfully be played by an opponent, and any attempt to do so may be punished by a direct free kick.

The second comes from Instructions for Referees and Resolutions………. section 5 – Offenses against Goalkeepers and says…… in (d) makes any play for the ball while the goalkeeper is still controlling it with the hands. Kicking or attempting to kick the ball held by the goalkeeper is considered to be dangerous play. Of the four subsections (a through d), there seems to be both direct and indirect restarts. Based on the ‘dangerous play’ text of (d), that sounds like an indirect restart.

Dangerous play is not one of the ten fouls that is restarted with a direct free kick, but rather indirect. Is the restart for this offense against the keeper a direct or indirect free kick. I would assume the kicking or attempting to kick a ball in the possession of the keeper is more consistent with a direct free kick restart.

USSF answer (January 3, 2007):
This dichotomy goes back to 1996 and was covered by Memorandum 1996, which said, in effect: The 1995 Law changes included the removal of the phrase “attempting to kick the ball while held by the goalkeeper” as an example of “dangerous play” and the Board explained its reason thusly: the example was deleted because “it is no longer an appropriate example since the introduction of the terms ‘careless’ and ‘reckless’ into the Law in 1995.”

To which the Federation added the following explanation:

ADVICE TO USSF REFEREES: The action of “attempting to kick the ball while held by the goalkeeper” previously described as an example of “playing in a manner considered by the referee to be dangerous” should now be deemed a major foul as it should be seen as a “careless” or “reckless” act punishable by a direct free kick under the 1995 changes in Law XII.

Regardless of what language is employed in the Instructions, this remain USSF’s position on the matter. Without wishing to seem naive, we would argue that in this instance the Instructions’ and IFAB’s phrase “dangerous play” is not intended to refer to “dangerous play” as that concept is used in Law 12’s reference to the various offenses punishable by an indirect free kick, but to the act of placing the opponent in grave danger through one’s actions. However that may be, it still comes down to the fact that the Federation has opted to declare that any attempt to kick a ball in the possession of the goalkeeper HAS to be considered the equivalent of kicking the goalkeeper since it is illegal to play a ball in the goalkeeper’s possession and thus the action must be directed toward the player–hence the seriousness of the offense. The Federation’s Instructions document for 2007 will include this meaning.


I would benefit from some further clarification as to when making contact with the opponent before touching the ball is acceptable and when it is not. The situation concerns U 13 players at the premiere level, so there is intent in this move. The move does not concern an individual player but is a reflection of the style of coaching as it is consistent for the team.Let me describe a typical situation. The ball is 5 yards in front of 2 opposing player that both run as fast as they can to the ball. The 2 players start out say 2 yards apart and converge as they approach the ball. They have an equal change of reaching the ball. Just before they get to the ball, player 1 steps in front of the ball in such a way as to shield it from player 2. This requires an aggressive burst of energy but does not harm player 2 other than that player 2 ends up running into the back to player 1. Then player 1 touches and plays the ball. When player 1 steps in front of player 2 her distance to the ball is such that she could barely touch the ball but certainly not control it yet. It is my perception that the first objective of player 1 is to prevent player 2 from reaching the ball and shielding it before playing the ball.

My question now is, since the 2 players collide and tackle each other and player 1 consistently makes contact with player 2 before playing the ball, is that a foul under law 12? What criteria for consideration could you point out to me so that the judgement of foul or fair play becomes easier?

USSF answer (January 3, 2007):
You would appear to be confusing two separate infringements of the Law. Let’s see if we can explain it a bit–but you will need to remember that only you, the referee, can make the correct decision in any given event.

Making contact with the opponent before touching the ball applies ONLY to tackling for the ball, not to a charging offense. “Tackling” means going for the ball on the ground, not shielding the ball or (illegally) impeding the opponent’s access to it. There is no other prohibition on fair and reasonable contact with an opponent in competing for the ball.

Here are two citations from the 2006 edition of the USSF publication “Advice to Referees on the laws of the Game” that may be helpful:

Making contact with the opponent before the ball when making a tackle is unfair and should be penalized. However, the fact that contact with the ball was made first does not automatically mean that the tackle is fair.Ê The declaration by a player that he or she has played the ball is irrelevant if, while tackling for the ball, the player carelessly, recklessly, or with excessive force commits any of the prohibited actions.

A foul committed while tackling an opponent with little or no concern for the safety of the opponent shall be cause for the player to be sent from the field and shown the red card for serious foul play.


“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).


I am having problems with one area of the ATR. It is on page 64 and it refers to the ball being played backwards by the kicker. How do I explain that if the ball is not in play, the referee can change the restart from penalty kick to an indirect free kick? Also, if a player other than the kicker takes the kick, it results in an indirect free kick for the opponents. Again, we are taking a kick restart and changing it during a time when the ball is not legally in play. Was this a position paper and I missed it?

USSF answer (January 3, 2007):
In its infinite wisdom, the IFAB has chosen to set aside, at least in respect of Law 14, the tradition that an offense that occurs when the ball is not in play cannot affect the restart. For the reason for the change in the 2006 edition of the Advice to Referees, see the Laws of the Game 2006, Law 14:

If the referee gives the signal for a penalty kick to be taken and, before the ball is in play, one of the following situations occurs:The player taking the penalty kick infringes the Laws of the Game:
– the referee allows the kick to proceed
– if the ball enters the goal, the kick is retaken
– if the ball does not enter the goal, the referee stops play and restarts the match with an indirect free kick to the defending team, from the place where the infringement occurred.
A team-mate of the player taking the kick infringes the Laws of the Game:
– the referee allows the kick to proceed
– if the ball enters the goal, the kick is retaken
– if the ball does not enter the goal, the referee stops play and restarts the match with an indirect free kick to the defending team, from the place where the infringement occurred.
//rest deleted//


now i am grade 9 ref im going to get upgraded but my question is when i ref games and there is a player down cause this happens a lot on minor injuries instead of blowing my whistle all the time i try to get players to play the ball out you know fifa fair play and then get the other team to throw the ball back to them is this bad?USSF answer (December 12, 2006):
No, this is not bad, but neither is it sanctioned under the Laws of the Game. The referee has no authority to direct the players to put the ball out of play or to tell them to play it back in to the other team to restart.

It is the job of the referee to stop play for injury, regardless of what players may or may not do, only if a player is, in the referee’s opinion, seriously injured–keeping in mind the age of the players. There are considerable practical differences between the referee stopping play for a serious injury and players stopping play for what they believe is an injury. If the players do it on their own, there is little the referee can do to control it, at least as the Laws read now.


This issue came up during recertification when talking about gaining an advantage by being in an offside position.How is parry defined as it applies to goalkeeper possession?

From Decision 2 in Law 12, it seems apparent that a parried ball by a goalkeeper constitutes possession. So if the ball was parried by a goalkeeper and next touched by a player who had been in an offside position when the shot was taken, it would seem that the player would not be offside.

The discussion then turned to what was a parry. Some thought a parry required that the ball be knocked to the ground while others thought that any deliberate (and controlled) touch of the ball by the keeper was a parry (as in fisting or punching a ball away from the goal).

Laws, ATR and Q&A were checked but no reference seems to exist. Can you provide guidance?

USSF answer (December 12, 2006):
See the definition of “possession” in Law 12, IFAB Decision 2:

“The goalkeeper is considered to be in control of the ball by touching it with any part of his hand or arms. Possession of the ball includes the goalkeeper deliberately parrying the ball, but does not include the circumstances where, in the opinion of the referee, the ball rebounds accidentally from the goalkeeper, for example after he has made a save.”

To “parry” the ball is to handle the ball deliberately, pushing it to a place where the goalkeeper may play it to more advantage. By parrying the ball, the goalkeeper has done two things: (1) established possession and (2) given up possession. The ball is now free for all to play. The six-second rule has no further application in this situation.

So, in answer to your question, no, if the goalkeeper has clearly established possession by parrying the ball, rather than simply deflecting it in a “save,” then the opposing player cannot be declared offside.


My question is if 12 players are on the field of play and a goal is scored, what must the ref do either if the game has started for one minute after the kick off and the 12th player is noticed or the game has not restarted from a kick off after the goal is scored.USSF answer (December 12, 2006):
In all cases the extra player is removed and cautioned (unless an outside agent) for unsporting behavior.

If the extra player is discovered only after the ball has been kicked off, the goal counts. The game is restarted in accordance with the Law–i. e., if it went out of play, the restart is a throw-in, corner kick, goal kick, or free kick, depending on the reason the ball was out of play. If the referee stopped play, it is an indirect free kick from the place where the ball was when the referee stopped play.

If the extra player is discovered BEFORE the kick-off, the goal is canceled only if the extra player was on the scoring team or if the extra person was an outside agent who, in the opinion of the referee, did not in any way interfere with play or any player. The restart is determined by who the extra “player” was. If it was an outside agent–not a player or a substitute or substituted player–the restart is a dropped ball at the top of the defending team’s goal area. If it was a player who had left the game with the referee’s permission but re-entered without permission , the restart is an indirect free kick for the defending team, to be taken from within their goal area. If it was a substitute who had entered without the referee’s permission, the restart is an indirect free kick to be taken from the defending team’s goal area.

2006 Part 4

Your question:
Situation: A blue team attacker is guilty of an offside infraction, and the AR puts up his flag to signal the offside. Since the infraction occurred near the far touchline away from the AR, the CR has his back to the AR and does not notice that the ARÕs flag is straight up. The red team kicks the ball out, and the CR awards a throw-in to the blue (attacking) team. The blue team quickly takes the throw in while the AR is still standing on the far side of the field unnoticed by the CR.
Question: Should the AR (a) put down his flag after the blue team throw-in or (b) keep his flag raised until he is seen by the CR or the ball clears the red teamsÕ half of the field?

USSF answer (December 4, 2006):
The assistant referee should keep the flag raised in this case–and the referee should be ashamed not to have maintained communication (eye contact) with the assistant. In addition, the AR at the other end of the field should also be ashamed to have missed the flag and not “mirrored” it to the referee.

Your question:
IÕm hoping you can help resolve a topic thatÕs gotten much discussion on a number of referee forums as of late. In the 2006 USSF Advice to Referees (ATR), item 11.3 #3 states that a player can become onside when ÒAn opponent intentionally plays or gains possession of the ballÓ. The question that has been raised is that playing the ball and possession of the ball are conspicuously separate items in this clause and seem to be two different things. Therefore, what is required to rule that a player has Ògained possessionÓ. Is contact with the ball specifically a requirement? Consider the following scenario.

A red attacker is in an offside position near the center of the field (obviously in the attacking half) when the ball is kicked by a teammate from the defending half deep into the attacking half. The ball comes to a complete stop just outside the PA. The attacker knowing he is offside makes no play or chase on the ball and the opposing kicker comes and stands over the ball without touching it. The keeper stands there for some time (for argument sake, figure 3-4 seconds) until finally the attacker that had been offside makes a charge at the ball to force the keeper to make a play. Can the keeper be determined to have gained possession and therefore the attacker is now onside or should the attacker be called for offside?

USSF answer (November 30, 2006):
If there is no physical control of the ball there is no possession. Offside. To force the defender to play the ball, just have an attacker from an onside position start challenging.

As to “conspicuously separate” items, someone will always find (nonexistent) fault when a statement contradicts his or her own opinion.

Your question:
Issuing Cards: I usually center about U12-U16 games in Recreation level, and U12-U13/14 games in comp (with the exception of a forced U15 comp game I had to center).

My real question is this, in the recreation level games, lets say U16, how would you go on about giving a yellow card? I have given cards in Comp games, and only 2 times in Rec level U14 boys games. But in Rec, do you warn once, then warn that you will card, then card? Or just warn, then card? Help!

USSF answer (November 27, 2006):
If the offense deserves an immediate caution, you may caution first without any warning. You would temper your decision based on the skill and developmental level of the players. Complete guidance is contained in the USSF publication “Cautions and Cautionable Offenses,” downloadable from the website. A condensed version of the philosophy on cautions is contained in the USSF publication “Advice to Referees on the Laws of the Game” and is cited here to help in your decision making:
The Laws of the Game identify seven cautionable offenses (Law 12). These include fairly specific actions (leaving the field without the permission of the referee), very general actions (unsporting behavior), and highly judgmental areas (dissent). In all cases, the referee is expected to evaluate a playerÕs behavior based on several factors:
– Does the act meet the generally accepted and understood meaning of the offense?
– Was the act, even if an offense, trifling?
– Would the issuance of a caution for this misconduct likely have desirable results for game and/or player management?
If the playerÕs act meets the criteria for the offense, is not trifling, and its punishment will have a salutary effect, the caution should be given. Whether the referee should stop play to do so or whether play should be allowed to continue until the next stoppage involves the application of the same advantage concept that is used to decide whether to stop play for a foul.

Every caution must be given for one and only one of the seven reasons listed in Law 12. Player behavior, of course, may involve several forms of misconduct at the same time and the referee must decide whether to caution each one separately (in which case, the second caution must also be followed by a send-off and display of the red card) or to issue a single caution for the total behavior. If the latter is chosen, the referee must decide which specific reason in the Law will be reported as the basis for the caution. In either case, however, the referee should fully describe in the game report all misconduct the player has committed in addition to the misconduct for which the caution was given.

Whether a caution is “mandatory” or “discretionary” is often discussed among referees, but the use of these terms tends to obscure the primary issues central to handling misconduct and should therefore generally be avoided. The Laws of the Game require that the referee further decide whether the misconduct is not trifling and that the caution will result in a desirable change in player conduct. The refereeÕs judgment (discretion) is a critical element in deciding, for example, whether what a player has just said or done is dissent within the meaning of Law 12 and guidance from USSF (see the USSF memorandum on “Misconduct Involving Language/Gestures,” dated March 14, 2003). If the referee decides that it is “dissent,” then the offense must be considered cautionable, but this does not mean that the yellow card must be displayed.

The referee must then make a second decisionÑin this particular case involving this particular player at this particular point in the match, based on the way the match has proceeded so farÑas to whether or not the dissent is trifling and whether or not displaying the card would have a positive effect on this player’s behavior and the behavior of the other players in the game. Each caution must be approached in this way as a combination of mandatory and discretionary elements. In no case may a caution (or send-off) be delayed beyond the next restart. It must be given as soon as play is stopped, even if this means preventing a team from taking advantage of a quick restart (if the kick is taken, it must be called back and not taken until the delayed card is shown). No alteration of this procedure is permitted.

We might add that there are a few cautions for which, unless the action is really blatant and cynical, it is generally better to warn a player first before giving the card for persistent infringement (else how is the player to know how many offenses the referee may consider “persistent”) or for delaying the restart of play (else how is the player to know when the “extra” time he is taking to restart is riding the edge of impermissible delay). However, such warnings must never include any “if you do X, I will caution” sort of threat, as this is counterproductive, restricts the referee’s flexibility, and sounds foolish.

Your question:
Should a referee threaten a coach with ejection for interfering with his ability to “call” the gameÊwithout explaining how that interference occurred? Are coaches allowed to yell hands or offsides during a game? Are not cautions and warnings to be issuedÊat the moment of the offence or next stoppage of play so as to be in context?ÊÊIs a ref allowed to declare the game a forfeit after ejecting a coach?

This involves aÊU 13 Rec league semi final game?

USSF answer (November 27, 2006):
Referees should never threaten anyone with anything; that is a poor management technique and can only lead to greater problems. The referee should present the coach or other antagonist with options, but not with threats. Nor must the referee explain any calls to the coach or any other team official. Any necessary details will be contained in the match report.

Coaches and other team officials are allowed to behave responsibly. If, in the opinion of the referee, they behave irresponsibly, they can be expelled from the field and its environs. Constantly yelling “hands” and “offside” is a form of intimidation towards the referee and might be considered irresponsible behavior by the thin-skinned referee. Nor should referees be cautioning (or showing any cards to) coaches unless it is specifically required by the rules of the competition.

No referee can ever declare any game a forfeit. The referee can only declare a game abandoned or terminated and then provide full details in the match report to the competition authority, the only body competent to make a decision on the result of the game.

Your question:
Sometimes kids do the strangest things – and I was not sure of the answer.

Boys U9. The GK of Team A makes a save in front of his goal mouth. All of Team B’s field players, anticipating a long punt, retreat into their own half of the field (U9 appropriate size field). The Team A GK the throws the ball in a high, arching manner toward the top of of PA. He runs under the ball, catches it in the air (it never strikes the ground); and, while inside the PA and under 6 seconds, punts the ball deep into Team B’s territory.

According to ATR 12.16, second sentence “Possession is given up if, while throwing the ball into the air, it is allowed to strike the ground.” However, the next sentence indicates “… handling extends from the shoulder to tips of the fingers.

So, is the GK guilty of releasing the ball into play by throwing it in the manner he did, and, therefore guilty of a double touch when he caught it? Or, is the GK still in possession of the ball and permitted to do what he did?

Another element also needs to be addressed. If there were an attacking player standing near the edge of the PA could he attempt to make a play on the ball (as noted in ATR 12.17), or is he guilty of interfering with a GK in possession of the ball?

I must admit that I was bedazzled by the whole thing. Why couldn’t the GK have run to the edge of the PA with the ball tucked under his arm and made my life simple?

I am not entirely sure why I made the call I did, but I called the GK for a doubleÊtouch and awarded an IFK the the opponentsÊinside the PA.ÊÊThe opposingÊcoach agreed that the ball had been released into play. The coach of the GK said he never relinquished possession.

USSF answer (November 27, 2006):
As long as the goalkeeper is simply throwing the ball into the air, not allowing it to hit the ground, and the time remains within the 6 seconds limitation, what does it really matter how far he is throwing the ball? ÊIt is not being unfairly withheld from challenge by the opponents and we cannot see what unfair advantage the ‘keeper is gaining from such a long throw. In fact, one could argue that the ‘keeper is at a higher risk of losing possession by failing to make the catch.

The answer to the second question is equally simple–no opponent is allowed to challenge for the ball while it is merely being thrown into the air while retaining possession and in the process of releasing the ball into play.

Your question:
There seems to be two different opinions in our state on where the proper position is for the AR when the ball is to be kicked on the far side corner. One opinion is that the referee should stand directly behind the corner flag, the other that the AR may take a few steps in on the goal line to have a Òbetter lookÓ when the ball comes into play. Could you render your opinion and is there a right and wrong position for AR corner kicks, far side?

USSF answer (November 27, 2006):
The correct procedure for the assistant referee at a corner kick on the referee’s side of the field is given in the USSF publication “Guide to Procedures for Referees, Assistant Referees and Fourth Officials”:
Assistant Referee
– Moves to the near corner and takes position on the goal line behind the flag
– Signals only if referee makes eye contact to ask for assistance
– If the ball passes out of play and immediately returns to the field, signals with a vertical flag until acknowledged by the referee, then points flag 45 degrees downward toward the near corner
– Steps upfield from goal line to avoid pointing the flag off the field
– Following the kick, recovers to the offside position as quickly as possible

Your question:
Although this seems to be a very basic question, when I went to research it, I could not easily find anything directly on point.

Here was the scenario I had in a recent U-14 game. Player takes a throw-in directly down the touchline. It hits the line and then bounces out of touch. My training has been that the line becomes part of the area which it contains – so that from the point of view of a throw-in (ball coming from out of field of play into the field of play), the line is out of the field of play. Therefore, the whole of the ball must pass over the whole of the line for the ball to “enter the field of play”. Therefore, I ruled that the throw-in be taken over since the ball had never entered the field of play. Of course, the opposite team’s coach (who was a few yards from the play on that side of the field) said “But it hit the line, then went out of play! It should be a throw-in the other way”.

Please clarify who was correct.

USSF answer (November 27, 2006):
The ball is in play from a throw-in as soon as it breaks the plane of the touchline–and has been released by the thrower. There is no need for the whole of the ball to break the plane of the line. In this case the coach was absolutely correct: the throw-in should have been awarded to the team that did not take the throw-in.

Your question:
Have looked in the LOTG/Advice/Guide to Proced/past Memorandums and cannot find the source for this:
While following the ball to the goal line, it is quite often impossible to keep up with the ball, especially at higher levels of play….the ball simply rockets across the goal line, while the AR is 20-30yds out or so with 2nd to last defender.

Everyone knows that it’s a goal kick. The Center ref often announces it verbally and with the hand signal…but must the Center wait until the AR runs all the way to the goal line in situations like this….which is a major waste of precious playing time for players while it holds up the Center Ref’s signaling too—if they are to make the signal at same time….

or, should the Center simply go ahead with his/her signal, ignoring the fact that the AR hasn’t gotten down there yet….pretty much ignoring the whole process?

Common sense, our Law 18, and common practice for many in this situation is to stop advancing toward the goal line and provide the goal kick signal…usually in tandem with the Center….then to proceed to the appropriate position for the restart. But, if already close to the goal line when this happens, to quickly move to goal line before giving the signal.

USSF answer (November 27, 2006):
Assuming a standard pregame in accordance with the Guide to Procedures and other traditional guidelines, the AR has primary responsibility for “his” end of the touchline and “his” side of the goal line. If the ball crosses these parts of the perimeter lines, the AR is expected to signal. If the referee sees no reason to disagree, the AR’s signal may in fact be the only indication of the restart.

We all understand that, as play becomes more skilled and competitive, the AR may find himself caught out of position (though we should all strive to be at the goal line when the ball crosses it). Should this be the case, the AR has two choices–stop wherever he is when the ball leaves the field and give the appropriate signal or continue on to the goal line and then signal. Common sense suggests that the AR does the latter if he is close to the goal line but does the former when he is farther away. Notice that these choices do not include “doing nothing” beyond expecting the referee to signal. Do not assume that “everyone knows” anything … and even if the referee does know what the correct restart should be, he is (or should be) waiting to see what the AR does.

So, if caught a couple of yards off the goal line when the ball crosses it for a goal kick or corner kick, continue on to the goal line and signal the correct restart. If caught more than, say, 3-4 yards up field, stop there, signal, make eye contact with the referee to ensure the signal was seen and understood, and then take up the correct position for the restart.

Your question:
A tournament semi-final match ends 0-0 and goes to penalty kicks by rules of the tournament. On one of the penalty kicks, the goalkeeper dives to his right and stops the ball, clearly gaining possession as the ball rests on the goal line, clearly not completely over the goal line. As the keeper rises to his feet with the ball in his hands, he steps slightly backward so that all of the ball is over the goal line. Is this counted as a successful penalty kick for the player who took the kick, or does the penalty kick end when the keeper has clear possession of a stationary ball that is not over the goal line?

Same situation, except the penalty kick deflects off the keeper without the ball crossing the goal line, the ball goes high in the air, hits the ground about 20 feet away from the goal, but due to extreme spin the ball bounces over the goal line into the goal. Is the penalty kick successful or did the penalty kick end when the keeper deflected the ball away from the goal?

Same situation, but when the keeper deflects the ball, the ball goes hard back to the kicker, deflects off his knee, and goes into the goal. Is the kick successful or did the penalty kick end at some point during this exchange?

USSF answer (November 27, 2006):
The penalty kick or kick from the penalty mark is not completed until the referee declares it so, and the referee should not declare the kick to be completed if there is any possibility that it is still in play.

In other words, if, in the opinion of the referee, the motion of the ball had stopped completely and clearly, then it makes no difference where the ‘keeper carried the ball. If the ball had not stopped, then the kick was still in progress and a goal could still be scored, even if this was caused solely by an error of the goalkeeper.

The answer to your third question is easier: In kicks from the penalty mark, the kicker may not play the ball again after kicking it. Nor may any other member of the kicker’s team play the ball in any way after it has been kicked.

Your question:
A question has come up in an international referee’s forum about the following situation:
A referee mistakenly signals the end of the game ten minutes early, probably by three short blasts on his whistle and pointing to the center spot. When the mistake is pointed out to him, he chooses not to restart, but rather to file a complete report to the competition authority. As a result, the game must be replayed.

Participants in the forum are of two minds. One group points to Law 5 and the fact that a referee cannot change his decision once there is another restart or he has terminated the match. This group feels that the whistle and signal constitute termination.

The second group believes that, if he wanted to, the referee could have determined, upon learning of his mistake (and so long as the referee team and the competing teams were still present), that it was an inadvertent whistle and restarted with a dropped ballÊfrom the point of the game where it was stopped. In this view, it was an error, not an actual termination that occurred.

Is there one correct answer to this situation, or maybe two? Thanks in advance for your answer.

USSF answer (November 17, 2006):
This excerpt from the USSF publication “Advice to Referees on the Laws of the Game” should answer your question:
If the referee ends play early, then the teams must be called back onto the field and the remaining time must be played as soon as the error is detected. The halftime interval is not considered to have begun until the first period of play is properly ended. If the ball was out of play when the period was ended incorrectly, then play should be resumed with the appropriate restart (throw-in, goal kick, etc.). If the ball was in play, then the correct restart is a dropped ball where the ball was when the referee incorrectly ended play (subject to the special circumstances in Law 8).

If a period of play (first half or first overtime period) was ended prematurely and this fact was not discovered until the next period of play had been started, the referee will complete the match using the correct length of time for the period of play as prescribed by the competition authority and then include full details of the error in the match report.

Your question:
I just finished the recently released playoff rules for our upcoming league playoff games. I am concerned about the method of determining a winner in the championship game. I have pasted the rule below directly from the website.

1. Final games tied at the end of regulation play two full ten minute overtimes switching goals at the end of the first period of overtime. NO SUDDEN DEATH/GOLDEN GOAL.
2. Final games tied at the end of the two overtime periods will play two five minute overtime periods with the regulation number of players on the field. NO SUDDEN DEATH/GOLDEN GOAL. During these overtime periods – ALL PLAYERS ARE FIELD PLAYERS – NO player (goalkeeper) may use their hands. The exception to the “No Hands Rule” is in the event of a violation resulting in a penalty shot, a player may be designated as the goalkeeper and may use his hands during the penalty shot only If there is no score on the penalty shot, play will continue without the use of hands.
3. Final games tied at the end of the two five minute “No Hands” overtime period will result in co-champions.

I am of the opinion that this No Keeper/No Hands rule violates the Laws of the Game, as it is required that one player from each team be designated as a goalie. I have decided that if asked, I will turn down any assignment to call a game that is to be played under these rules.

My question is, am I correct that this rule is contrary to the Laws of the Game? If so can a referee be disciplined by the USSF for calling a game like this? Can the league be disciplined for instituting this rule? The league is associated with the USSF through US Youth Soccer.

USSF answer (November 7, 2006):
A referee cannot be disciplined for refereeing a game in accordance with the rules of the competition. Simply report the matter to the state association and then forget about it. It is up to the state association to make sure its leagues and tournaments are conducted in accordance with FIFA Laws of the Game. As you point out, the Laws state that each team MUST have a goalkeeper.

It’s always possible that this decision by the USYS has not made its way down to the local tournaments yet

Your question:
As part of my referee training, I have been taught that, particularly in youth soccer, I can consider sanctioning a coach if he is abusive to his players, by words or actions.

But can a player be considered to bring the game into disrepute for being abusive to their coach?

I recently reffed a U12B select game. The coach did a fair amount of criticizing and lamenting the actions of his players, but nothing that I considered even close to excessive, and none of the players seem to be seriously affected by his words. One player, however, eventually had enough of his coach’s constant criticism of him, and told the coach to “shut up”.

After my initial thought of mild amusement at the irony of a player giving the coach a little of what he was getting, I began to contemplate whether the player can bring the game into disrepute in this manner, and if so, what level of words or actions would be required to consider sanction?

USSF answer (October 31, 2006):
The intelligent referee will generally disregard coaching comments, unless they become openly disrespectful of the game and of the referee. In that case, an admonition to the coach is in order, noting that if this activity continues, the coach will be expelled for irresponsible behavior– an offense for which the referee may expel the coach or any other team official in the team area. (No cards to be shown, unless the rules of the competition permit or require it.)

When coaches begin to abuse their players, this is irresponsible behavior and the referee must act immediately.

Proactive steps such as the admonition of the coach will usually prevent players who become disgusted with their coach’s behavior from acting out and thus becoming subject to punishment themselves.

If the player does in fact act as you described, this is at least in part because you did not do your job correctly. However, if the language was abusive, rather than simply unsporting behavior, the only thing to do is to send the player off for using offensive or insulting or abusive language and/or gestures.

As to what bringing the game into disrepute means in the normal course of the game, this answer of September 7, 2006, should give you all the information you need: “Bringing the game into disrepute ” means doing something that is totally counter the spirit of the game, which is meant to be played fairly and in a sporting manner.Ê Such acts show a lack of respect for the game, e. g., aggressive attitude, inflammatory behavior, deliberately kicking the ball into one’s own goal or taunting.

Your question:
This question is related to what is the proper position for a center referee during active play. I have looked at the Power Point presentation and re-read the Guide to Procedures that are available on the website and don’t see advice for the exact scenario I am concerned with. The item that is closest to the situation is a throw-in by the attacking team on the AR’s side of the field. This issue came up during a U-19 Boys match. The coach of the attacking team thought his attacker was fouled, and was very adamant I was not in the proper position to see the foul. The apparent foul occurred with-in a few yards of the AR, and the AR did not believe a foul occurred. The attacker did have an ankle injury during the play, and when play was stopped for the injury the coach was very vocal in his displeasure with my position during the play, and the lack of a call.Ê

The scenario is the attacker has the ball near the touch-line on the AR’s side of the field, moving towards the end-line, about 20 yards from the end-line with a single defender. The other players are in the area of the penalty box, or are trailing the play by 20 or more yards. I was trailing the play by 4 or 5 yards, on the back side of the goal so I could keep the play, the players in the penalty area, and my AR all in view, as well as avoid being in the way of the play. I believe this is the proper position for the situation, but am willing to be told otherwise, as this position is a fair distance from where the ball was.

USSF answer (October 31, 2006):
Lesson the First: Coaches are in the game solely to promote only one thing, the interests of themselves and their team. Put little credence in their complaints.

Lesson the Second: If the referee didn’t see it and the assistant referee didn’t see it (or the fourth official, if one is assigned), it didn’t happen, no matter how much the coach or anyone else may complain.

Lesson the Third: As to positioning,remember the “Magic Formula” described in the PowerPoint presentation, x = a + b + c. It is there for a purpose, to show you where to be and when and why to be there.

Lesson the Fourth: No matter how thoughtful the position, things can still happen on the field that we (all officials) will miss–live with it. Our job in positioning is to OPTIMIZE (not guarantee) the likelihood that we will see what needs to be seen. If you want guarantees, go into something more certain–like options trading.

Lesson the Fifth: When the ball is being played on the far touchline, it would be appropriate to be more to the center of the field based on what you say your position was. You were too far away from play. You must be in the position you need to be in to get the call right.

Your question:
Is there a distance requirement on how far back from the touch lineÊa thrower may throw the ball in? For instance may a thrower throw the ball in from 10 yards back from the touch line at a point perpendicular to the spot where the ball went out?

USSF answer (October 31, 2006):
The correct answer will be found in the Advice to Referees:
Although the throw-in is to be taken “from the point where [the ball] crossed the touch line,” this requirement is satisfied if the restart occurs within approximately one yard (one meter) of this location, farther upfield or downfield or back from the touch line. A throw-in taken beyond this limit is an infringement of Law 15.

Your question:
A question came up in a game about the proper sequence in the order of issuing cards and I can’t find the immediate answer in the guide of officals etc.
The question is: Is it proper to issue an ejection first then a caution to the second player in an incident? The incident Player A Team A elbowed to the face player B Team B. Player B retaliated with a push to player A. Please advise.

USSF answer (October 31, 2006):
You first issue the card that is most needed to defuse the situation and prevent further escalation. In the absence of a need to defuse a tense situation, the normal order is to issue a card first to the player who committed the first misconduct and to follow in the order in which the misconduct behaviors occurred. You then record both or issue one and record, issue the second and record.

Your question:
I was doing the center and one of my AR’s decided to cancel on a short notice. In any case I had to use the club line for two games. First game, it went fine (it was G13), second game (G14) one of the clubs was doing offside trap, and I decided to switch sides of ARÊand club linesman after the half, so my AR would be on the side where defense ran the trap (to make my life easier). Coach of the other team, of course, went against it (explaining that by doing this I would give advantage to another team), and I never went with the switch.

Now my question is: can I switch positions of my AR’s after the half or not??

USSF answer (October 31, 2006):
Yes, you may switch the positions of the assistant referees at any time you wish. However, the club linesman is not an AR and should not be treated as such.

If you wish to dispense with the club linesman and make more use of the neutral AR, that is fine. Then put that AR on the side you wish covered best and orient yourself to cover the rest of the field. You are the only one who can use a whistle.

Your question:
I’m a Grade 8 ref who does mostly 12-16 yr old games. When I do the center, how do you recommend I keep track of the player who fouls repeatedly? I’ve started writing down the fouling player’s number. What do you think? Do most grade 8 refs let this go at these age levels? One instructor at a local training session said he never cards under age 13.

USSF answer (October 31, 2006):
Writing down the number is good, but do not delay the game to do this. That is why it is important to learn to keep it in your head. Many referees are lax in punishing persistent infringement, and this gets them into trouble during the game.

A referee who never cards under age 13 is unlikely to be successful at those levels. Nor is that official making the work easier for the referee who follows him or her. Neither is the referee who “doesn’t card under 13” honoring his or her duty to protect the safety, fairness, and enjoyment of the players. ÊBased on age of players, the issue is not WHETHER to card but HOW to card–the technique for carding young players can differ significantly from how it is done at older age levels.

it is good to write down the numbers you should clarify that the referee should not delay the game to do this, which is why it is important to learn to keep the information in your head.

Your question:
During a game that i was refereeing recently, a player was on a break-away, dribbled past the keeper and just before the ball crossed the goal line, got down on the ground and attempted to head the ball into the goal, however the ball crossed the goal line before he made contact with his head. I counted the goal and yellow carded the player for usb. Was this the correct decison or should i have not counted the goal, cautioned the player and restarted with an IFK because the USB occured before the ball crossed the goal line. If his attempt to head the ball across the goal was successful should the situation be handled differently?

USSF answer (October 11, 2006):
Although the attempt to head the ball was unsuccessful, the player must be cautioned for unsporting behavior (taunting the opponent); restart with the kick-off.

If the attempt had been successful, caution for unsporting behavior (taunting) and restart with an indirect free kick to the defending team, taken from the place where the misconduct occurred (bearing in mind the special circumstances outlined in Law 8.

Your question:
A defender passes the ball within his own penalty area. The ball is about to be poked in to the empty net by an attacker when the goalkeeper grabs the ball. You blow the whistle for an indirect free kick. What do you do next?
a) Award a yellow card to the goalkeeper
b) Award a red card to the goalkeeper
c) Nothing. Just award the indirect free kick and ensure that it is taken correctly.

in this case the goalkeeper prevented an obvious goal scoring opportunity – what is the right answer – this happened in my game the other day

USSF answer (October 11, 2006):
If a player deliberately kicks the ball towards his (or her) own goalkeeper and the goalkeeper deliberately handles the ball, thus denying the opposing team a goal or an obvious goalscoring opportunity, the restart is an indirect free kick from where the offence occurred, bearing in mind the special circumstances covered in Law 8.

If the referee believes that the goalkeeper knew that without this illegal intervention, the ball would enter the goal, the referee could take action. The goalkeeper’s action could be considered as unsporting behavior. The argument would be that the goalkeeper could have chosen not to handle the ball deliberately but rather to use another part of his body to change the path of the ball.

In short, an indirect free kick and a definite caution is the correct action to take if, in the opinion of the referee, the goalkeeper knew that without the illegal intervention the ball would enter the goal.

Your question:
Many portable goals have sets of wheels that can be lowered to move the goals when needed. I refereed a game yesterday on a field whose goals had wheels that were, I believe, less than a foot from the front of the goal. In my quadrant, a ball started to leave the field, then bounced off the goal wheel and rolled into the hands of the keeper, completely on the field. From my position (not near the goal line), I could see the ricochet off the wheel, but I thought the ball had crossed completely over the goal line, so I was prepared to call for a goal kick. My assistant referee shouted out that the ball had not completely left the field, so I let play continue.

In this particular instance, it didn’t matter much to the game whether (a) I let the keeper punt the ball or (b) I stopped play and restarted with a goal kick. In other circumstances, it might. Hence my question: should contact with goal wheels be treated like contact with a tree limb hanging over the goal line (i.e., a pre-existing condition, so ignore the contact) or like contact with football uprights extending above the goal (i.e., a non-regulation appurtenance, so call the ball out)?

USSF answer (October 10, 2006):
If the referee has inspected the field and determined that the goals and flags meet the requirements of the Law, then he or she cannot later rule that the equipment is no longer acceptable–unless something has happened that changes the state of the equipment. This is not unlike playing games on fields with combination soccer and football goals. Any contact with a portion of the goal that is not in accordance with the Law makes the ball out of play for the corresponding restart–corner kick or goal kick in the case of goal posts.

The intelligent referee will either not permit equipment that is not in accordance with the Law or be prepared to face the problems that occur. Full details should be included in the match report.

Your question:
I was working as an AR in a match and a situation occurred which has raised a question regarding keeper possession. The keeper bobbled the ball and an attacker challenged for the loose ball. In the scuffle the ball ended up trapped under the keeperÕs ankles and the ground. The referee called possession and awarded an indirect kick to the defenders. I questioned his decision at the half and have since asked several referees their opinion getting different responses. I believe possession only occurs with the hands and an indirect kick should have been awarded to the attacking team for dangerous play. Some agree with no possession but would have not made any call in that position. A few agree with the possession call. What is correct?

USSF answer (October 9, 2006):
While many referees mistakenly give the goalkeeper more protection than the Law allows, the correct call here would have been an indirect free kick against the goalkeeper’s team for playing dangerously, because there was no possession to be claimed.

Your question:
U14 Game. Center ref is positioned between midfield and 18. Defending team midfielder intercepts a pass and boots a long one towards the goal they are attacking (going the other way now). FYI – No one is offside. Keeper comes out to field the ball but ends up deflecting it to one side. Attacking forward, who has not touched the ball yet, outruns the keeper and kicks the ball in the goal. CR, who is trailing the play says goal is good. However, he notices the AR with his flag up. CR asks for an explanation. AR is calling handling by the keeper. Apparently, the keeper was completely out of the box when ball was deflected.ÊÊÊ

My question: Goal or No Goal?

By the way, CR decision was No Goal, DK for attacking team at spot of foul. CR and AR interpretation is the attacking forward had no advantage until after the handling foul and handling was not deliberate. It was a night game, poor lighting and the lines were not very clear. Easy keeper mistake because of field condition.Ê

USSF answer (October 5, 2006):
If the handling was not deliberate, then there was no foul and the goal should have been scored. However, even if the referee and the assistant referee agreed that the handling was deliberate, the referee should have invoked the advantage and scored the goal. The intelligent referee will not take away a goal that has been scored legitimately–as in this case.

Your question:
[Note: This Q&A corrects an answer previously sent on September 25, 2006.]
Your question: A substitute for the defending team enters the field and handles the ball just as it is struck by an opposing player. What does the referee do if, in his or her opinion, the ball would have gone into the goal if it had not been handled by the substitute?

USSF answer (October 5, 2006):
The answer to your question will be found in the IFAB’s Questions and Answers to the Laws of the Game 2006, Law 13, Q&A 13.1. Note that the word “player” in this case refers to a substitute who has entered illegally:
13.1. If the player prevents the goal with his hand, what action does the referee take?
The referee stops play and sends off the substitute for denying the opposing team a goal by deliberately handling the ball and the match is restarted with an indirect free kick to the opposing team where the ball was when play was stopped *.

This situation illustrates the need for referees and assistant referees and fourth officials of youth and adult games to maintain very close vigilance over where substitutes are. They must be restricted to the team area and not allowed to warm up anywhere but behind their teams.

Your question:
I am a coach in a youth league for 12-15 year olds. My goalie caught a shot with her hands and held onto the ball. A kid from the opposing team took 2-3 steps, lowered his shoulder and plowed into my goalie. Somehow she held onto the ball. As she was lying there (a little woozy), I ran onto the field as is allowed in our league on an injury. I asked the ref what he was going to do and this was his response: “Well, I could give the boy a yellow card, but there is only about 30 seconds left in the game. You get a free kick from your goal mouth (where the goalie was hit)”. So my goalie gets hit, no card is shown (I thought that it should be a red card), and the best that we get is a free kick on a wet field in front of our goal. Was this the correct call?

PS – I had another incident with time management. In the same game as above (first half), we had the ball on the opposing teams 18. We had six players at the 18 and the other team had four defenders (including the goalie). Just as my player got open for a shot on goal, the referee from the other side of the file (who was keeping time), blue his whistle to signify the end of the half.

USSF answer (October 4, 2006):
Shame on this referee for being a coward!! There is no excuse for not dealing with misconduct, particularly if it is, as you suggest, serious misconduct.

The second question is another matter altogether. When you play in a competition that uses the dual system of control (two referees on the field), all bets are off. Such games are not being played in accordance with the Laws of the Game and thus we cannot provide a satisfactory answer to your question.

Your question:
An instructor asks: In our class last evening, the question of whether or not a captain could be cautioned for the behavior of his teammates. I’ve copied the pertinent part of the game report of the incident below.

The referee’s assertion was the captain is responsible for his team’s behavior, and therefore if the team isn’t responding to the referee’s efforts at controlling dissent, then he can caution the captain for PI. This is a grade 7 referee seeking upgrade to state.

We told him the captain has certain responsibilities, but that did not include riding herd in place of the referee. The captain can help the referee but is not required to do so, other than to “to see that the referee’s decisions are respected by the captain’s teammates and by team officials” USSF answer Ask a Referee, Jan. 14, 2004.

He cited the Add’l Instruc. regarding attitude towards referees as well, all of which we were well aware, and he also brought up the MLS crackdown on dissent.

We maintained that cautioning the captain is not proper procedure in this circumstance. A referee might show a card to a captain, if for some reason the player who was to receive the card could not be carded (i.e. the Tab Ramos situation).

Any words of wisdom? n the 8th minute of the first half the Classics Elite scored their first goal. The Revoution then began fouling the Classics as they stepped up their attack. I called several hard DFK fouls on the Revolution from which they verbally dissented. I first cautioned Revolution player #3 for dissent in the 16th minute of the first half and soon after warned their team to stop the multiple dissents or that I would issue a caution to their captain for persistent infringment. I made a point to ensure that the captain heard this warning. The dissent continued to escalate for about ten more minutes at which time I located the Revolution captain (player no. 17) near midfield on the parents side and cautioned him for persistent infringement. After showing him the yellow card, I asked the captain if he would take control of his teammates to stop the escalating dissent. He replied “no.” I asked him once again if he would attempt to control the dissent, to which he replied “no” a second time. I showed him the red card for 2nd caution (for dissent) and told him that he would have to leave the field. The dissent from the Revolution players continued at a lower level through the rest of the half, but was almost non-existent in the second half.

USSF answer (October 4, 2006):
While the team captain may have “a degree of responsibility” for his or her team’s behavior (Additional Instructions), that does not mean that the referee may caution the captain for the misconduct of those teammates. (That is neither fair nor in the Spirit of either the Game or the Laws. ) Cautioning the team captain for the actions of others is the last resort of a referee who cannot manage the players properly.

We are quite concerned about the game report, which shows a number of misconceptions about the Law and proper mechanics. ÊFirst, a referee should NEVER box him- or herself into a corner by making a public statement threatening to caution anyone (much less the captain) if a teammate acts in a certain way (the multipurpose “I will deal with it” works just fine). ÊSecond, even if the captain could be cautioned for the behavior of his teammates, it couldn’t be for persistent infringement–if a PI card is given, it must be to a player who actually infringes the Law. ÊThird, to give a red card to the captain under these circumstances is unconscionable (the caution was bad enough but the red card is completely unbelievable).

Your question:
When a goalie has stopped the ball from being a goal and they are u-10 girls…. is there a rule that they can not kick it over half field????? we have a coach that is determined to make our refs believe this…

USSF answer (October 3, 2006):
The coach is almost, but not quite, correct. The U. S. Youth Soccer rule for U10 small-sided soccer (where each team may field no more than six players) states:
“Law 12 Ð Fouls and Misconduct: Conform to FIFA with the exception that an indirect free kick is awarded to the opposing team at the center spot on the halfway line if a goalkeeper punts or drop-kicks the ball in the air from his/her penalty area into the opponents penalty area.”

So, unless your league has some other rule, the coach is confused and thus mistaken as to the location of the place where the ball drops from the initial kick in order for it to be an infringement of the Law. The rule’s intent is that the ball fly directly from the place the goalkeeper kicked it in his or her penalty area to the other team’s penalty area, not simply across the halfway line.

Your question:
As a coach and new referee I have the following question: an opposing team member beats my last defender and is in the penalty area in a 1vs1 with my keeper. My keeper charges the ball sliding to block a shot. The keeper makes contact with the ball first but cannot hang onto it and it slides out from under him. The opposing team member, due to his forward run trips over the keeper. The referee calls tripping and awards a penalty kick. I argued this call citing that the keeper made contact with the ball first and was no different than a slide tackle. Under the LOTG slide tackles are permitted as long as the player makes contact with the ball first. Did the referee make the right call?

USSF answer (October 3, 2006):
If the facts are as you present them, then the referee has made a serious mistake. As you give them, the facts show no foul by either player and the referee should have let it go.

We are concerned about the misinformation implicit and explicit in your question … though none of this changes the answer. ÊIt is NOT the case that a player can avoid being called for a foul on any play, much less a tackle or “sliding tackle,” simply “by getting the ball first.” ÊGetting the ball first does not bless anything that happens during or immediately after the play. ÊYou are misinterpreting the section of Law 12 which states that it is a foul if a player makes contact with an opponent before making contact with the ball, but it does not follow that making contact with the ball first makes the tackle legal. Further, even if one extrapolates this principle to the goalkeeper sliding in to make hand contact with the ball, it remains the case that, just because this is what the goalkeeper did, the ‘keeper could not be charged with a foul if he or she in fact trips the opponent in passing (by grabbing the opponent’s leg or by lifting his/her body up high enough to cause the opponent to be upended. ÊIn short, the referee may have had a perfectly valid reason for charging the ‘keeper with an offense–we can’t know for sure since we weren’t there. The problem is that, given the misinformation about the nature of this offense, your description of the play may be faulty.

Your question:
A player is unhappy with an offside call by an assistant referee, and verbally abuses him using multiple curse words. The Center Referee is unable to hear it from his position on the field, what is the proper course of action from the assistant referee?

USSF answer (October 3, 2006):
The assistant referee (AR) should immediately bring abuse to the attention of the referee. By the same token , the intelligent referee will be alert to such things and should not need to be informed by the AR. It is the referee’s job to protect the ARs and the fourth official, if there is one.

This issue should be discussed in the pre-game–and if the referee doesn’t bring it up, the AR should ask the question. In the absence of such a talk, the AR should signal the referee if/when this happens in the same way they would signal a foul or misconduct observed by the AR but not seen/heard by the referee. ÊIn other words–flag straight up (other AR cross-flags if necessary), eye contact with the referee, wiggle the flag briefly and then put a hand over the shirt pocket or back pocket of shorts to indicate a recommendation for a card (shirt pocket = yellow, back pocket = red).