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Ask A Referee Update: March 1, 2010


An attacker A1 shoots the ball toward the goal and the ball is handled by defender D in the penalty area preventing a goal. As a result of D's handling, the ball is deflected to another attacker A2 with a possible shot on goal that is at least as good an opportunity to score as a penalty shot. Say, no real challenge by a defender on A2. The referee allows advantage, and A2 shoots toward the goal but misses. The ball goes directly over the goal line after A2's shot.

Q1.What is the restart? Penalty kick or goal kick ?

Q2. Does D get a caution or a send off? Note that according to 12.39 of "Advice...", if A2 had scored, then D would be cautioned and the restart would be a kick off.

Game level: To the extent that the answer is level dependent, I would appreciate a response reflecting that up thru adult pro.

Answer (March 1, 2010):
According to the Laws of the Game 2009/2010 (Interpretation of the Laws of the Game and Guidelines for Referees, p. 122), "If the referee applies advantage during an obvious goalscoring opportunity and a goal is scored directly, despite the opponent's handling the ball or fouling an opponent, the player cannot be sent off but he may still be cautioned." In this case, the referee applied the advantage, which was realized, in that the attacking team was able to shoot, but failed to score a goal. Decision? See below.

You cited Advice 12.39, but apparently did not consider its second paragraph:
In cases where a goal or goalscoring opportunity has been denied by handling (DGH) or by a foul (DGF), but advantage has been applied, it is advisable to stop play as soon as possible once it becomes clear that the offended team has not been able to benefit from the advantage. This would be the case when, after roughly 3-5 seconds and at least one subsequent play, the team was not able to maintain a successful attack. In such cases, of course, the referee should return to the original foul and, additionally, show the red card for the denied opportunity associated with the foul. Because circumstances vary from game to game, there is no single mandatory decision that would be universally correct. The referee must use discretion in making the decision, based on experience, game circumstances, and common sense.


Last week I was officiating a game when an indirect free kick was issued. While the wall was being set by the official, an attacking player stood with a foot on the ball. The referee then got into position and blew his whistle while the attacking player's foot was still on the ball. The player removed his foot from the ball and the wall immediately charged before the ball was kicked by the attacking team. By the time the attacking team kicked the ball the wall had charged to within 1 yard.

I immediately signaled for an infraction as, by my interpretation, the wall delayed the restart by moving inside the 10 yard zone before the kick.

Needless to say the defending team was livid as they felt that the ball had been played by the attacking team and so they charged.

I stand behind my call because I do not feel the ball was "kicked" or "moved" by the attacking team (as well I believe the official was in the wrong by blowing the whistle while the player was still in contact with the ball, making this muddy situation happen).

Any insight would be appreciated. Thanks!

Answer (March 1, 2010):
The kicking team is allowed to use deceptive tactics when taking the free kick, but they are not required to kick the ball into play immediately. The defending team is required to remain at least ten yards away until the ball has been kicked and moved, unless the kicking team decides to take the free kick quickly without waiting for a signal from the referee. To be put into play, the ball must be kicked from "here" to "there." In other words, it must clearly move from one spot to another spot (which need be more than a trivial distance away).

The kicker (or putative kicker) may place and rest his or her foot on the ball. That is not an infringement of any of the Laws and there is no need for the referee on this game to be displeased with this portion of the restart. The kicker may then remove his foot from the ball and walk away, possibly to be replaced as kicker by a teammate or to immediately return and kick the ball. That is the right of the kicking team. The defending team should know that they have NO RIGHTS in this situation other than the right not to be confused by the referee -- and that did not happen. They confused themselves and failed to follow the requirements of the Law.

Accordingly, the opposing team crashed in and, therefore, the free kick should have been halted immediately by the referee, at least one or more of the crashers cautioned for failing to respect the required distance, and play resumed with the original free kick.


I am aware that as of 2008 the referee uniform rumor had been addressed as merely a rumor. However, it has been two years since that time and I'm writing tin inquire as the status of those claims that OSI contract is expiring and a new brand will be taking over. If you could please clarify this for me it would be greatly appreciated.

Answer (February 28, 2010):
It was and remains a rumor with no facts whatsoever connected with it.


If during a game, a player is injured and no trainers or first-aid providers are available but one of the referees has extensive medical training; is it appropriate for that referee to assess the injury and provide advice to the coach on how to treat the injury or instruct the coach to seek emergency medical care for the player?

Answer (February 20, 2010):
Only as an absolute last resort. In this litigious society of ours, a referee who is not a licensed medical practitioner would be well advised to stay out of any medical emergency that occurs during the game that referee is working.

The situation is generally controlled by state law (sometimes called a "good Samaritan" law, but also laws that cover specific professions). In some states, you are expected to perform whatever emergency services you are trained/certified to do. An EMT who is also a referee must therefore take off his referee hat and put on his EMT hat if faced with a serious injury on the field. Otherwise, stay out of it and remember that there are other important referee things you could be doing while staying out of it.


goal keeper throws his shoe to deflect a ball from going into the goal. The ball goes out of bounds over the endline.

What is the call and what is the restart?

Answer (February 20, 2010):
The goalkeeper is cautioned for unsporting behavior and the match is restarted by an indirect free kick to be taken from the place where the ball was when it was struck by the boot or similar object (see Law 13 for position of free kick).

The correct action for the referee depends on where contact with the ball occurred, not where the goalkeeper was when he threw his boot. If the place of contact was inside the penalty area, caution for unsporting behavior and indirect free kick where the goalkeeper was when he threw his boot. If the place of contact was outside the penalty area, red card for denying the obvious goalscoring opportunity and direct free kick where contact with the ball was made. If it was a defender other than the 'keeper, red card for denying the obvious goalscoring opportunity regardless of where contact was made and a direct free kick if that location was outside but a penalty kick if inside.

The boot or similar object is considered as an extension of the player's arm. Play would be stopped. If the boot struck the ball inside the penalty area, a penalty kick would be awarded and the offending player would be sent off for preventing a goal by deliberately handling the ball. If the boot struck the ball outside the penalty area, a direct free kick would be awarded and the offending player would be sent off for preventing a goal by deliberately handling the ball (see Law 13 for position of free kick).


When in a match can you wear small white socks over the original colours of your kit like so many players do in the premiership?

Answer (February 16, 2010):
In theory, never, unless all players on a side wear them. Each player's kit (other than the goalkeeper's) is expected to be exactly like his/her teammates' kit as regards color and the color of any under- or overgarments. For answers pertaining to the EPL, you should direct your question to the appropriate authorities.

U.S. Soccer thanks Jim Allen (National Instructor Staff and National Assessor ret., assisted by National Instructor Trainer Dan Heldman, for their assistance in providing this service. Direction is provided by Alfred Kleinaitis, Manager of Referee Development and Education, with further assistance from Paul Tamberino, Director of Referee Development; David McKee, National Director of Assessment (assessment matters); Jeff Kollmeyer, National Instructor, indoor and Futsal; and Ulrich Strom, National Instructor and National Assessor (matters in general).

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