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2011 Referee Week in Review - Week 28



Referee Week in Review – Week 28

The Situation: The Columbus Crew and Los Angeles Galaxy are tied 0-0 in the 93rd minute.

The Play: A pass is played over the top of the Columbus defense in the vicinity of two Galaxy attacking players, one of which is an offside position. The player in the offside position discontinues any effort to play the ball, allowing his teammate to run past him and take a shot that leads to a goal.

The Decision: No offside is called, and the goal is allowed.

My Take:  This is a great example of the assistant referee applying the ‘wait and see’ approach. The player in an offside position does not become involved in active play by contacting the ball or interfering with an opponent, and therefore is not offside. The play was properly allowed to continue, and the goal correctly stood.

The Laws of the Game: Law 11 indicates that a player in an offside position is only penalized if they are, in the opinion of the referee, involved in active play by: interfering with play, interfering with an opponent, or gaining an advantage by being in that position. The interpretations of Law 11 further define these elements.


The Situation: Sporting Kansas City is leading Philadelphia Union 1-0 in the 63rd minute.

The Play: A shot from a Union player appears to be going over the end line. His teammate runs down the ball and keeps it in play, but he leaves the field in the process. He steps back on the field and passes the ball to a teammate who scores.

The Decision: No infraction is called and the goal is allowed.

My Take: The Laws of the Game state that it is an offense for a player to deliberately leave the field of play and then re-enter without permission from the referee. In this case, the momentum of the attacking player carried him over the line unintentionally; therefore he did not require permission to return. The assistant referee is in excellent position to see that the ball never crossed out of bounds. The player legally touched the ball again, and play properly continued leading to a goal.

The Laws of the Game: Law 12 states that it is a cautionable offense for a player to deliberately leave the field of play, or to enter or re-enter without permission.

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.

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