The following two clips are generating a lot of discussion among some referee groups. The two clips are very similar and seem to have the same issues.

How should the referee address these situations?

USSF answer (April 19, 2009):
Note for clarity in answer:
Situation 1 = (White throw)
Situation 2 = (Blue throw)

You indicate that these games are being played at college level. We could not possibly comment on how the game is officiated under NCAA rules, but, if these games were being played under the Laws of the Game, we could say several things about the acts of the throwers and the opponents and the officiating itself.

First, players at this level know the tactics of their opponents, especially of the throw-in specialists, and in these two games they were seeking to negate the thrower’s skills by placing a player at a spot to interfere with the thrower’s ability to gain distance. In addition, there is the added element of coaching: In the game (Situation 1) in which the White player throws the ball at the Blue player, one can clearly hear the coach telling the Blue player to “Move up, move up!” The coach is obviously asking his player to distract and impede the thrower.

Nevertheless, we cannot condone the tactics of the throwers in either situation. In both cases, the throwers have committed violent conduct and must be sent off. Note in Situation 1 that in the second throw-in the thrower elevates his throw so as to miss the Blue opponent, as well as a coach or other person advising the Blue player to cover his face.

Second, although it is not required at a throw-in, the referee and the AR could have been proactive and moved the player who was attempting to unfairly impede the thrower back the required two meters from the point of the throw-in. (The referee could, in addition to sending-off the throwers, have cautioned the opponents for unsporting behavior, but that would depend on factors not in evidence in these clips.)

We are puzzled by several aspects of officiating in the first situation: Play is stopped following the ball in the face.  For what?  If the whistle was blown for a “serious injury” to the opponent but the throw was deemed good and legal, then (a) the opponent should have been required to leave the field and the restart should have been a dropped ball.  If play was stopped because the throw was deemed legal but striking occurred, then the restart (after a red card for the thrower) should have been a direct free kick.  If play was stopped because the opponent failed to respect the required distance, only then could the throw-in be retaken but again the opponent should have been cautioned.  (And it is likely that the opponent would have been struck in the face even if he had been the required distance away.)

in both cases, the matter should have handled in accordance with 15.8 of the USSF publication “Advice to Referees on the Laws of the Game”:

A throw-in taken in such a way that the ball strikes an opponent is not by itself a violation of the Law. The act must be evaluated separately as a form of striking and dealt with appropriately if judged to be unsporting behavior (caution) or violent conduct (send off from the field). In either event, if deemed a violation, the restart is located at the place where the throw-in struck the opponent. If the throw-in is deemed to have been taken incorrectly, the correct restart is a throw-in.

Leave a Reply