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2011 Referee Week in Review - Week 26

Referee Week in Review – Week 26

The Situation: Vancouver leads the New York Red Bulls 1-0 in first-half stoppage time.

The Play: An attacking player is running on to a through pass towards goal and is pulled down by his marker while another defender closes in on the play. 

The Decision: The referee determines that the foul fits the description of denying an obvious goalscoring opportunity and issues a red card.

My Take:  In order to send off a player for denying an obvious goalscoring opportunity, one of the criteria that must be met is that there is only one other defender present between the foul and the goal, not including the player who commits the foul. In this case, there are two: the supporting defender in the area, as well as the goalkeeper behind them. Therefore, the defender committing the foul should only have been cautioned for a tactical foul.

The Laws of the Game: Law 12 deals with fouls and misconduct. Week 24 of the Referee Week in Review outlines the criteria for determining a denying a goalscoring opportunity.

The Situation: Chivas USA and D.C. United are tied 0-0 in the 11th minute.

The Play: The Chivas attacker attempts a pass back to his teammate. The ball strikes the referee and goes to a D.C. United player, who then starts a counterattack that leads to a goal.

The Decision: After being hit ball by the ball, the referee allows play to continue and the goal is allowed.

My Take: The Laws of the Game clearly state that match officials are considered part of the field, so if they are struck by the ball while it is in play, then play must be allowed to continue. This situation is handled precisely as if the ball had hit the goal post or crossbar. While it is unfortunate that being hit by the ball inadvertently led to a goal, the referee made the proper decision.

The Laws of the Game: The interpretation of Law 9 explicitly states that “if, when the ball is in play, it touches the referee or an assistant referee who is temporarily on the field of play, play continues because the referee and the assistant referees are part of the match.”

Michael Kennedy is a current MLS referee and has officiated in the league since its founding in 1996. In addition to serving as a professional referee, he has also represented U.S. Soccer as both a FIFA referee and assistant referee.