Was just catching up on Ask A Ref.

I was reading November 2008 III of III. There was a question about a couple of recert questions, and the guy mentioned a 50 question recert test. The answer seemed to imply that the number of questions on a recert can vary widely across the country.

I just took my test tonight (8 recert) and it had 75 questions. Not that I really care, but I thought the test was standard across the USA, so every 8 recert would take a similar 75 question test.

And we had a 12 recert taking a 50 question test, so that may explain that guys’ understanding of the laws 🙂

Anyway, another topic. I saw a professional game on tv a few weeks ago.

I think it was MLS. Situation was this – note Im seeing all this on tv without a lot of explanation from the announcers.

Attacker kicks ball out over goal line. Keeper looks over to sidelines, lifts up one leg, points to cleat, then rolls hands around like for a substitution, implying he wants to change his cleats. The trainers run out onto the field, he changes his cleats. He goes to reset the ball for the goal kick, and just before he kicks the ball, the center comes over and shows him a yellow card.

Again, no explanation from the announcers – they dont know definitively what is going on anyway. Side note – am I crazy, or does John Harkes not have a clue about the laws of the game?

I presume the caution was for delaying the restart. But if the delay was caused by the changing of the cleats, can the ref logically show a caution for that, when he allowed the trainers onto the field in the first place?

If you know what really happened in this situation, I would like to know, as it keeps me awake at night, but more importantly it might make a good instructive question for Ask A Ref.

USSF answer (December 12, 2008):
1. Recertification testing
The Federation supplies tests of 100 questions for use in testing referees in grades 12 through 5 to the state directors of instruction. Recertification testing is run differently in each state. Some states randomly select 50 (or 75, as in your state) questions and use them for recerts. Other states take these tests and rewrite them to suit themselves, changing answers from the correct one to an answer that fits the particular need of the state or the individual instructor. Unfortunately, there is little the Federation can do about this.

2. Television commentators
Most — not all, but certainly most — television commentators, even those who have played professionally and internationally, have no clear grasp of the Laws of the Game. They look at the game from the viewpoint of the position they played (or their experience in other sports), rather than at the overall picture. Additionally, the commentators are also watching the game unfold from a significantly different location than are the referee and the assistant referees. They do the game a great disservice by suggesting that the referees do not know what they are doing.

3. The incident
The game you saw was the playoff game between the Chicago Fire and the New England Revolution. Prior to taking the goal kick, the Chicago goalkeeper, Bush, indicated that he was injured and the referee permitted the trainers to enter the field. However, then Bush also indicated that he wanted to change his boots, as they were not suitable for the field conditions. He failed to get the referee’s permission for this and then took too long with it and the referee rightly cautioned him for delaying the restart of play.

There are, of course, other questions that could be asked, such as what was the score (and the rhythm) of the game? Was the delay for tactical purposes? Was Chicago trying to “use” this time to interfere with the Revolution’s pace of play? However, the core of the matter is the actual delay of the restart.

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