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October 2006 Archive (II of II)


During a game that i was refereeing recently, a player was on a break-away, dribbled past the keeper and just before the ball crossed the goal line, got down on the ground and attempted to head the ball into the goal, however the ball crossed the goal line before he made contact with his head. I counted the goal and yellow carded the player for usb. Was this the correct decison or should i have not counted the goal, cautioned the player and restarted with an IFK because the USB occured before the ball crossed the goal line. If his attempt to head the ball across the goal was successful should the situation be handled differently?

Answer (October 11, 2006):
Although the attempt to head the ball was unsuccessful, the player must be cautioned for unsporting behavior (taunting the opponent); restart with the kick-off.

If the attempt had been successful, caution for unsporting behavior (taunting) and restart with an indirect free kick to the defending team, taken from the place where the misconduct occurred (bearing in mind the special circumstances outlined in Law 8.



A defender passes the ball within his own penalty area. The ball is about to be poked in to the empty net by an attacker when the goalkeeper grabs the ball. You blow the whistle for an indirect free kick. What do you do next?
a) Award a yellow card to the goalkeeper
b) Award a red card to the goalkeeper
c) Nothing. Just award the indirect free kick and ensure that it is taken correctly.

in this case the goalkeeper prevented an obvious goal scoring opportunity - what is the right answer - this happened in my game the other day

Answer (October 11, 2006):
If a player deliberately kicks the ball towards his (or her) own goalkeeper and the goalkeeper deliberately handles the ball, thus denying the opposing team a goal or an obvious goalscoring opportunity, the restart is an indirect free kick from where the offence occurred, bearing in mind the special circumstances covered in Law 8.

If the referee believes that the goalkeeper knew that without this illegal intervention, the ball would enter the goal, the referee could take action. The goalkeeper's action could be considered as unsporting behavior. The argument would be that the goalkeeper could have chosen not to handle the ball deliberately but rather to use another part of his body to change the path of the ball.

In short, an indirect free kick and a definite caution is the correct action to take if, in the opinion of the referee, the goalkeeper knew that without the illegal intervention the ball would enter the goal.



Many portable goals have sets of wheels that can be lowered to move the goals when needed. I refereed a game yesterday on a field whose goals had wheels that were, I believe, less than a foot from the front of the goal. In my quadrant, a ball started to leave the field, then bounced off the goal wheel and rolled into the hands of the keeper, completely on the field. From my position (not near the goal line), I could see the ricochet off the wheel, but I thought the ball had crossed completely over the goal line, so I was prepared to call for a goal kick. My assistant referee shouted out that the ball had not completely left the field, so I let play continue.

In this particular instance, it didn't matter much to the game whether (a) I let the keeper punt the ball or (b) I stopped play and restarted with a goal kick. In other circumstances, it might. Hence my question: should contact with goal wheels be treated like contact with a tree limb hanging over the goal line (i.e., a pre-existing condition, so ignore the contact) or like contact with football uprights extending above the goal (i.e., a non-regulation appurtenance, so call the ball out)?

Answer (October 10, 2006):
If the referee has inspected the field and determined that the goals and flags meet the requirements of the Law, then he or she cannot later rule that the equipment is no longer acceptable--unless something has happened that changes the state of the equipment. This is not unlike playing games on fields with combination soccer and football goals. Any contact with a portion of the goal that is not in accordance with the Law makes the ball out of play for the corresponding restart--corner kick or goal kick in the case of goal posts.

The intelligent referee will either not permit equipment that is not in accordance with the Law or be prepared to face the problems that occur. Full details should be included in the match report.



I was working as an AR in a match and a situation occurred which has raised a question regarding keeper possession. The keeper bobbled the ball and an attacker challenged for the loose ball. In the scuffle the ball ended up trapped under the keeper's ankles and the ground. The referee called possession and awarded an indirect kick to the defenders. I questioned his decision at the half and have since asked several referees their opinion getting different responses. I believe possession only occurs with the hands and an indirect kick should have been awarded to the attacking team for dangerous play. Some agree with no possession but would have not made any call in that position. A few agree with the possession call. What is correct?

Answer (October 9, 2006):
While many referees mistakenly give the goalkeeper more protection than the Law allows, the correct call here would have been an indirect free kick against the goalkeeper's team for playing dangerously, because there was no possession to be claimed.



U14 Game. Center ref is positioned between midfield and 18. Defending team midfielder intercepts a pass and boots a long one towards the goal they are attacking (going the other way now). FYI - No one is offside. Keeper comes out to field the ball but ends up deflecting it to one side. Attacking forward, who has not touched the ball yet, outruns the keeper and kicks the ball in the goal. CR, who is trailing the play says goal is good. However, he notices the AR with his flag up. CR asks for an explanation. AR is calling handling by the keeper. Apparently, the keeper was completely out of the box when ball was deflected.

My question: Goal or No Goal?

By the way, CR decision was No Goal, DK for attacking team at spot of foul. CR and AR interpretation is the attacking forward had no advantage until after the handling foul and handling was not deliberate. It was a night game, poor lighting and the lines were not very clear. Easy keeper mistake because of field condition.

Answer (October 5, 2006):
If the handling was not deliberate, then there was no foul and the goal should have been scored. However, even if the referee and the assistant referee agreed that the handling was deliberate, the referee should have invoked the advantage and scored the goal. The intelligent referee will not take away a goal that has been scored legitimately--as in this case.



Your question:
[Note: This Q&A corrects an answer previously sent on September 25, 2006.]
Your question: A substitute for the defending team enters the field and handles the ball just as it is struck by an opposing player. What does the referee do if, in his or her opinion, the ball would have gone into the goal if it had not been handled by the substitute?

Answer (October 5, 2006):
The answer to your question will be found in the IFAB's Questions and Answers to the Laws of the Game 2006, Law 13, Q&A 13.1. Note that the word "player" in this case refers to a substitute who has entered illegally:
13.1. If the player prevents the goal with his hand, what action does the referee take?
The referee stops play and sends off the substitute for denying the opposing team a goal by deliberately handling the ball and the match is restarted with an indirect free kick to the opposing team where the ball was when play was stopped *.

This situation illustrates the need for referees and assistant referees and fourth officials of youth and adult games to maintain very close vigilance over where substitutes are. They must be restricted to the team area and not allowed to warm up anywhere but behind their teams.



I am a coach in a youth league for 12-15 year olds. My goalie caught a shot with her hands and held onto the ball. A kid from the opposing team took 2-3 steps, lowered his shoulder and plowed into my goalie. Somehow she held onto the ball. As she was lying there (a little woozy), I ran onto the field as is allowed in our league on an injury. I asked the ref what he was going to do and this was his response: "Well, I could give the boy a yellow card, but there is only about 30 seconds left in the game. You get a free kick from your goal mouth (where the goalie was hit)". So my goalie gets hit, no card is shown (I thought that it should be a red card), and the best that we get is a free kick on a wet field in front of our goal. Was this the correct call?

PS - I had another incident with time management. In the same game as above (first half), we had the ball on the opposing teams 18. We had six players at the 18 and the other team had four defenders (including the goalie). Just as my player got open for a shot on goal, the referee from the other side of the file (who was keeping time), blue his whistle to signify the end of the half.

Answer (October 4, 2006):
Shame on this referee for being a coward!! There is no excuse for not dealing with misconduct, particularly if it is, as you suggest, serious misconduct.

The second question is another matter altogether. When you play in a competition that uses the dual system of control (two referees on the field), all bets are off. Such games are not being played in accordance with the Laws of the Game and thus we cannot provide a satisfactory answer to your question.



An instructor asks: In our class last evening, the question of whether or not a captain could be cautioned for the behavior of his teammates. I've copied the pertinent part of the game report of the incident below.

The referee's assertion was the captain is responsible for his team's behavior, and therefore if the team isn't responding to the referee's efforts at controlling dissent, then he can caution the captain for PI. This is a grade 7 referee seeking upgrade to state.

We told him the captain has certain responsibilities, but that did not include riding herd in place of the referee. The captain can help the referee but is not required to do so, other than to "to see that the referee's decisions are respected by the captain's teammates and by team officials" USSF answer Ask a Referee, Jan. 14, 2004.

He cited the Add'l Instruc. regarding attitude towards referees as well, all of which we were well aware, and he also brought up the MLS crackdown on dissent.

We maintained that cautioning the captain is not proper procedure in this circumstance. A referee might show a card to a captain, if for some reason the player who was to receive the card could not be carded (i.e. the Tab Ramos situation).

Any words of wisdom? n the 8th minute of the first half the Classics Elite scored their first goal. The Revoution then began fouling the Classics as they stepped up their attack. I called several hard DFK fouls on the Revolution from which they verbally dissented. I first cautioned Revolution player #3 for dissent in the 16th minute of the first half and soon after warned their team to stop the multiple dissents or that I would issue a caution to their captain for persistent infringment. I made a point to ensure that the captain heard this warning. The dissent continued to escalate for about ten more minutes at which time I located the Revolution captain (player no. 17) near midfield on the parents side and cautioned him for persistent infringement. After showing him the yellow card, I asked the captain if he would take control of his teammates to stop the escalating dissent. He replied "no." I asked him once again if he would attempt to control the dissent, to which he replied "no" a second time. I showed him the red card for 2nd caution (for dissent) and told him that he would have to leave the field. The dissent from the Revolution players continued at a lower level through the rest of the half, but was almost non-existent in the second half.

Answer (October 4, 2006):
While the team captain may have "a degree of responsibility" for his or her team's behavior (Additional Instructions), that does not mean that the referee may caution the captain for the misconduct of those teammates. (That is neither fair nor in the Spirit of either the Game or the Laws. ) Cautioning the team captain for the actions of others is the last resort of a referee who cannot manage the players properly.

We are quite concerned about the game report, which shows a number of misconceptions about the Law and proper mechanics. First, a referee should NEVER box him- or herself into a corner by making a public statement threatening to caution anyone (much less the captain) if a teammate acts in a certain way (the multipurpose "I will deal with it" works just fine). Second, even if the captain could be cautioned for the behavior of his teammates, it couldn't be for persistent infringement--if a PI card is given, it must be to a player who actually infringes the Law. Third, to give a red card to the captain under these circumstances is unconscionable (the caution was bad enough but the red card is completely unbelievable).



When a goalie has stopped the ball from being a goal and they are u-10 girls.... is there a rule that they can not kick it over half field????? we have a coach that is determined to make our refs believe this...

Answer (October 3, 2006):
The coach is almost, but not quite, correct. The U. S. Youth Soccer rule for U10 small-sided soccer (where each team may field no more than six players) states:
"Law 12 - Fouls and Misconduct: Conform to FIFA with the exception that an indirect free kick is awarded to the opposing team at the center spot on the halfway line if a goalkeeper punts or drop-kicks the ball in the air from his/her penalty area into the opponents penalty area."

So, unless your league has some other rule, the coach is confused and thus mistaken as to the location of the place where the ball drops from the initial kick in order for it to be an infringement of the Law. The rule's intent is that the ball fly directly from the place the goalkeeper kicked it in his or her penalty area to the other team's penalty area, not simply across the halfway line.



As a coach and new referee I have the following question: an opposing team member beats my last defender and is in the penalty area in a 1vs1 with my keeper. My keeper charges the ball sliding to block a shot. The keeper makes contact with the ball first but cannot hang onto it and it slides out from under him. The opposing team member, due to his forward run trips over the keeper. The referee calls tripping and awards a penalty kick. I argued this call citing that the keeper made contact with the ball first and was no different than a slide tackle. Under the LOTG slide tackles are permitted as long as the player makes contact with the ball first. Did the referee make the right call?

Answer (October 3, 2006):
If the facts are as you present them, then the referee has made a serious mistake. As you give them, the facts show no foul by either player and the referee should have let it go.

We are concerned about the misinformation implicit and explicit in your question ... though none of this changes the answer. It is NOT the case that a player can avoid being called for a foul on any play, much less a tackle or "sliding tackle," simply "by getting the ball first." Getting the ball first does not bless anything that happens during or immediately after the play. You are misinterpreting the section of Law 12 which states that it is a foul if a player makes contact with an opponent before making contact with the ball, but it does not follow that making contact with the ball first makes the tackle legal. Further, even if one extrapolates this principle to the goalkeeper sliding in to make hand contact with the ball, it remains the case that, just because this is what the goalkeeper did, the 'keeper could not be charged with a foul if he or she in fact trips the opponent in passing (by grabbing the opponent's leg or by lifting his/her body up high enough to cause the opponent to be upended. In short, the referee may have had a perfectly valid reason for charging the 'keeper with an offense--we can't know for sure since we weren't there. The problem is that, given the misinformation about the nature of this offense, your description of the play may be faulty.



A player is unhappy with an offside call by an assistant referee, and verbally abuses him using multiple curse words. The Center Referee is unable to hear it from his position on the field, what is the proper course of action from the assistant referee?

Answer (October 3, 2006):
The assistant referee (AR) should immediately bring abuse to the attention of the referee. By the same token , the intelligent referee will be alert to such things and should not need to be informed by the AR. It is the referee's job to protect the ARs and the fourth official, if there is one.

This issue should be discussed in the pre-game--and if the referee doesn't bring it up, the AR should ask the question. In the absence of such a talk, the AR should signal the referee if/when this happens in the same way they would signal a foul or misconduct observed by the AR but not seen/heard by the referee. In other words--flag straight up (other AR cross-flags if necessary), eye contact with the referee, wiggle the flag briefly and then put a hand over the shirt pocket or back pocket of shorts to indicate a recommendation for a card (shirt pocket = yellow, back pocket = red).


U.S. Soccer thanks Jim Allen (National Instructor Staff/National Assessor), assisted by Dan Heldman (National Instructor Staff), for their assistance in providing this service.

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