CHANGING ‘KEEPERS DURING KICKS FROM THE PENALTY MARK

Question:
I have a question about PK’s that were taken at a local sanctioned tournament. The situation was that two teams were tied after preliminary rounds of matches. All tie breakers were the same, so it came down to PK’s. The opposing team told the refs that they were going to us two keepers for the PK’s. The coach for our team questioned the ref about this and was told that he wasn’t sure if it was legal but he didn’t have time to find out so he allowed it. My question is this legal? The rotation of the keepers did not change the outcome, but I would like to know for myself.USSF answer (February 20, 2007):
As long as both players who will be exchanging turns at goalkeeper for the team were both on the field at the end of the game, this is perfectly legal. The Laws of the Game permit a field player to exchange positions with the goalkeeper, as long as the referee is notified; this would also apply to kicks from the penalty mark.

BALL KICKED TO THE GOALKEEPER BY A TEAMMATE

Question:
A defending player (red) kicks the ball away from the goal line past the goalkeeper (red) who has his back to the kicker and could not have seen how the ball was propelled past him. Goalkeeper sees the ball as it travels within 2-3 feet of him and, in the penalty area, picks it up with his hands. Same scenario but the ball initially goes no less than than 7-8 feet from the goalkeeper yet the goalkeeper chases the ball and in the penalty area picks it up with his hands.In either case should the referee stop play and award an indirect free kick to white? Is the determination of an infraction founded in the referee’s opinion of whether or not the kicker was deliberately kicking the ball to the goalkeeper or that the kicker deliberately kicked the ball and it happened to go close enough for the goalkeeper to handle it?

USSF answer (February 12, 2007):
As stated in the USSF publication “Advice to Referees on the Laws of the Game,” the decision to punish this possible infringement of the Laws is always in the opinion of the referee.

CHANGING A DECISION AFTER A RESTART

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

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

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

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

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

NO CHANGE IN REFEREE UNIFORM; NEW AGREEMENT BETWEEN US SOCCER AND OSI

Question:
In the area I am from, there is talk that there will be a change in the approved Referee Uniform. This due to the fact tha Official Sports will longer be the “Official” supplier for referee gear for USSF. I work with many Youth referees (under 14yrs) and I hate to ask them to purchase all the jerseys colors if they will have to buy them all again in a year or so. Can you give me any insight to this?

USSF answer (February 6, 2007):
You and your colleagues seem to have heard totally unfounded rumors. The fact is that OSI has just signed another 4 year agreement with US Soccer.

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

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

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

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

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

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

3. Yes.

OXYGEN AT THE TOUCHLINE

Question:
With the allowance of players drinking water at the touchline is it permissible for a player to take a breath of oxygen in the same manner under the same stipulations?USSF answer (January 29, 2007):
Oxygen for breathing is available in the air, but water for drinking is not; therefore they are not the same thing. If players cannot breathe properly on the field, then they should not be playing. Oxygen on the sideline would be for emergency use only in the hands of an athletic trainer or medical person. Anyone needing to avail themselves of oxygen in an emergency capacity would be out of that game and need a medical release from a doctor, after a check-up, to be permitted to play. Making the decision to keep the player out of the game is within the authority of the referee.

ACTING ON OUTSIDE AGENTS

Question:
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.

KEEP YOUR HANDS OFF THE PLAYERS!

Question:
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 รข 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.

THE WALL AS “CHORUS LINE”

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

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

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

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

PLAYING THE BALL IN THE POSSESSION OF THE ‘KEEPER

Question:
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.