I was an AR during a tournament U14 Boys game. The ball as headed out of Red’s defensive end about 10 yards from the half line.

Red committed an IFK foul via dangerous play in my clear view, but could not be viewed by the referee. I raised my flag and gave it a wave, which the referee acknowledged and blew his whistle.

Unfortunately, this was about 5 minutes into the second half and therefore I indicated the incorrect direction for the restart (Red kick). BEFORE play was restarted, the direction was corrected, but Blue clearly recovered better than Red and quickly restarted play. The kick was made directly to another Blue player, who shot on goal and scored with the referee indicating a good goal and moving to the center circle for the restart. Red’s coach was understandably upset and complaining his boys did not have time to get back on defense.

Blue’s coach was saying nothing.

The referee came over to me to discuss the goal. We both agreed there was no misapplication of the LOTG, so a protest would not be upheld. We both agreed no matter what decision we made, one team was going to be upset. I asked the referee if he had signaled/indicated for Blue to wait for his whistle, and the referee said no. The final decision came down to this question – What is the right thing to do for the game? The answer was to not count the goal, and restart with Blue taking an IFK from the original spot of the foul. The confusion occurred due to our (mine for indicating incorrect direction, and referees for not requiring a ceremonial restart) error. Red of course was happy, and the amazing part was Blue’s coach made NO issue of the decision.

Our review of the incident yielded a learning point of making sure to use a ceremonial restart in future similar situations.

The question is, does USSF agree with our decision on the field?

Final note, Blue went on to win the game 2-1 and I made certain to greatly compliment Blue’s coach after the game for his touchline behavior (meaning he didn’t make any sort of scene or any display of dissent & Blue was on my touchline) as well has his team’s response which was to continue to put their energy into playing football, and not put their energy into the referees.

USSF answer (August 25, 2009):
Although normally we stress that the guilty team at a free kick has zero to very few rights, and thus neither deserves nor may demand any special treatment, in this case the officiating crew confused them and violated the defending team’s right not to be misled by the officials. Therefore, the restart must be ceremonial in nature.

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