I have become frustrated on many occasions when an opposition player, after going down feeling he was fouled, has place his arms around the ball to stop it from moving. It often seems to be the case that before this happens, the referee allows play to continue, but when the player handles the ball, gives the free kick in that players favour.
Recently in a game I was watching, the opposite of this happened, and when the player handled it, a free kick was given the other way. The only obvious reason for this would be hand ball. In this case, why was a yellow, or even red card not given, since it was a deliberate hand ball?
The only other reason that a free kick was given was because of simulation, and in that case, what could be the reason for a yellow card not to be given?
USSF answer (January 18, 2009):
Strange and mysterious are the ways of referees. It would appear that there is a vast difference between what you see happening on the field and what the referees see.
In the first case you cite, it would seem that the referee him- or herself was not certain what was happening and allowed the player to determine the call. We do not like this.
In the second case, it would seem that the referee made a partially correct decision. Several possibilities exist for solutions to this situation: (a) The referee decides it was deliberate handling, pure and simple, and awards the direct free kick. (b) The referee decides it was deliberate handling and dissent, and cautions the player and then restarts with the direct free kick. (c) The referee decides it was dissent and cautions the player and restarts with an indirect free kick.
As to simulation, there is no reason not to give a caution, unless the referee decides that he or she knows better than the Law Givers and flouts their instructions in the Laws of the Game.
Strange and mysterious are the ways of referees.