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Position Papers


As part of our continuing effort to service and educate our membership, each Thursday U.S. Soccer will provide an informative article from one of its departments. Once a week, we will bring you an article/paper/essay that will hopefully enhance your enjoyment and knowledge of the game of soccer – on and off the field.

This week, we examine position papers put out by the U.S. Soccer Federation’s National Program for Referee Development.

Position Papers

As the U.S. Soccer Federation’s Referee Membership has grown tremendously in the past decade, American referees are also beginning to play an increasing role in CONCACAF and continue to get more and better appointments to work international competitions. At the conclusion of 2002, the total number of referees registered through the USSF surpassed 119,000. American referees were assigned to over 180 international matches across 11 nations in three continents.

The United States Soccer Federation's National Program for Referee Development puts together a number of publications that offer advice to referees on applying the 17 Laws of the Game established by the International Football Association Board (IFAB). These include memorandums, manuals, videos, booklets and position papers.

Position papers are issued periodically to provide our members with the most current information about U.S. Soccer's official stance on the application of the laws. At times a new ruling by the IFAB or even a change in a league's rules of competition may cause confusion and concern not only for the referees, but for coaches, players and team administrators. For example, many questions arose after last year's ruling prohibiting sleeveless jerseys. U.S. Soccer immediately contacted FIFA for guidance on the application and subsequently issued a position paper called "Jersey Sleeves Rule Suspended." The paper was widely distributed by e-mail and alleviated the concerns of the teams who had already ordered uniforms, and provided the referees with the guidance they needed to insure consistent application throughout the country.

The latest position paper, "Managing Match Time," was issued recently to help referees apply Law 7 (Duration of the Match) fairly and consistently.

These and other position papers are posted on the U.S. Soccer web site (www.ussoccer.com) and are listed below. The papers are reviewed and updated as needed.

  • Abandoning a Match (.pdf) - revised 11/22/02
  • Bleeding (.pdf)
  • Celebration (.pdf)
  • Ceremonial Restart After Misconduct (.pdf)
  • Feinting (.pdf)
  • Jersey Sleeves Rule Suspended (.pdf) - This position paper refers to this previous announcement.
  • Mandatory Suspension Following Dismissal (.pdf)
  • Medical Alert Jewelry (.pdf)
  • Misconduct by Attackers at a Free Kick (.pdf) - revised 11/22/02
  • No Replacement for Player Sent Off (.pdf) - revised 11/22/02
  • Obvious Goal-Scoring Opportunity Denied - The 4 Ds (.pdf)
  • Player Dress (.pdf) - revised 11/22/02
  • Positioning at Free Kick Restarts (.pdf) - revised 11/22/02
  • Reduce to Equate (.pdf)
  • Restarts after Striking, Throwing or Spitting (.pdf) - revised 11/22/02
  • Sequential Infringements of the Law (.pdf) - revised 11/22/02
  • Shinguards (.pdf)
  • Throw-In to Keeper (.pdf)

As the U.S. Soccer Federation’s Referee Membership has grown tremendously in the past decade, American referees are also beginning to play an increasing role in CONCACAF and continue to get more and better appointments to work international competitions. At the conclusion of 2002, the total number of referees registered through the USSF surpassed 119,000, and American referees were assigned to over 180 international matches across 11 nations in three continents.

For more information, please contact Carol McGuire, U.S. Soccer's Referee Programs Manager. Carol can be reached at cmcguire@ussoccer.org, or (312) 528-1241.

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