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August 2005 Archive (II of II)

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During a local Men's league playoff game, I issued a sendoff to a player for the following situation:
The location was about 1 yard outside the corner of the goal area. The defensive player had just fallen to the ground on a sweet move by the offensive player. The offensive player was just about to cut the ball back or perhaps shoot from there. In my opinion, he was 1 or 2 touches from an uncontested shot on goal. He was not facing direct to the goal, and facing somewhat to the end line, more facing the near post and end line junction rather than direct to the goal. This was the only one of the 4Ds that may not have been met. The goalie was in the center of the goal on line because there was another unmarked, onside offensive player at the opposite corner of the goal area. The defensive player while on the ground deliberately punched the ball with his hand past the end line directly away from the offensive player. I called the PK and after discussion with the AR sent off the defensive player.

During the post games discussion and after review of the Advice to Referees LOTG at one of our esteemed local drinking establishments, the following issues arose:
1 The situation did not meet the 4Ds because the "presence of each of the elements must be 'obvious'".
2 One official and former player disagreed saying he could score from that position and location 'all day'
3 It would seem there are other situations where the 4Ds are not met but still warrant a send off, within the spirit of the game. E.G., One could reasonably imagine a deliberate handle of the ball to deny a goal on a direct shot corner kick that does not meet all the 'obvious' 4Ds.

I don't know if I would make the same judgement due to the 'all elements must be obvious' clause.

Your input please to my situation and situation to #3

Answer (August 29, 2005):
There is already a send-off offense for deliberate handling, number 4 under the seven send-off offenses: denies the opposing team a goal or an obvious goal-scoring opportunity by deliberately handling the ball (this does not apply to a goalkeeper within his own penalty area). It does not require any particular alignment of players for either team, but simply the occurrence of the offense.

We are not aware of any offenses that might occur under send-off reason number 5 ("denies an obvious goal-scoring opportunity to an opponent moving towards the player's goal by an offence punishable by a free kick or a penalty kick") that would not require that all of the 4 Ds be included.

However, in the final analysis, it is all in the opinion of the referee.


A player is standing in an offside position (just behind the second to the last defender). The instant the ball is is played forward, the player in the offside position steps to collect the pass and become actively involved in play, BUT can not become actively involved in play because the defender reaches out and holds the player's jersey and prevents him from collecting the pass, and advancing the ball..

The question.. is this a simultaneous foul situation in which the more serious foul (the holding) would be enforced, OR is the player who is in an offside position and would normally have been penalized the moment he became actively involved attempting to play for the ball the foul that is enforced?

Answer (August 29, 2005):
The old maxim remains true: a player may not be rewarded for an infringement of the Laws. Punish the offside with an indirect free kick for the opposing team and caution the defender for blatant holding (unsporting behavior).

And no, this is is NOT an example of a simultaneous foul (if you are thinking of Law 5). That reference in Law 5 is to a situation in which the SAME PLAYER commits two offenses simultaneously (i. e, the same act constitutes two different infractions of the Law -- e. g., the player who just did a throw-in rushing onto the field and directly handling the ball (second touch plus handling) or a player who dissents using abusive language (caution plus red card language).


At a recent tournament game, I was on the line with an experienced referee and an inexperienced ar on the other line. A shot was taken from about 30 yards out. It hit the crossbar and rebounded downwards. The keeper caught it on the bounce. Everybody froze to see whether the referee was going to signal a goal. He waived off the goal and directed play to continue. The ball was played up to midfield, where a girl on the keeper's team picked it up because she mistakenly believed that a goal had been scored. The referee called the handball, and set up for the kick. Then he went over to the inexperienced ar, and after a discussion, signaled that the previously disallowed goal would now be counted. The ar had not followed the shot down the line, and was a mile out of position to make the call as to whether the ball had crossed the line. It was clear to me from my location at midfield that the ball had rebounded forward off of the crossbar back into play, and that the entire ball had not crossed the line. The ar had not originally signaled a goal by running up the line. He was apparently subsequently talked into believing that a goal had been scored by the parents. First, after ordering play to continue all the way back to midfield, was it too late to "correct" the previous decision to play on? Second, what, if anything, could I do as the other, unconsulted member of the crew, certain that the original call was correct. Obviously, I cannot run out on the field uninvited to discuss it with the referee, and re-reversing the reversal would bring its own set of problems. Of course, the disputed goal was the margin of victory. Your thoughts?

Answer (August 23, 2005):
As play had not been restarted following the stoppage for the deliberate handling, the referee was certainly within his right to allow the goal. However, the evidence as you present it would suggest that at least three grievous errors were made: (1) The other assistant referee did not follow the ball to the goal line as is required in correct procedure. (2) The other assistant referee accepted the word of spectators (biased spectators at that) that a goal he or she cold not verify had been scored. (3) And, worst of all, the referee accepted this hearsay evidence and awarded the goal.

As you were at the other end of the field and clearly even more unable to verify the goal or lack thereof, there is nothing you could do in this situation. Any advice you offered would be worthless--though not as worthless as that offered by the other assistant referee.


I as an instructor was administering the State Referee Exam at our annual clinic. The question on the exam talked about a player taking a penalty passing the ball backward to a teammate to then shoot on goal. The correct answer was to retake the penalty kick as the ball was not properly put into play as it is required to be kicked forward. One of the referees in the class said that the FIFA Q&A stated that the ball would be turned over to the defending team and that they would be given a IFK at the penalty mark. That information was then verified by reading it in the FIFA Q&A. Is the FIFA Q&A answer correct? All starts and restarts in the Laws of the game require the ball to be put into play correctly or to be retaken, not given to the other team. This answer in the Q&A would not be consistent with al the other restarts.

Answer (August 23, 2005):
The U. S. Soccer Federation is inquiring further into the intent and meaning of certain of the newest Q&As (of which this issue is one). Until USSF issues a memo clarifying the matter, referees are to continue applying the Law based on our current understanding. The "current understanding" in this case is that the ball is not in play and therefore the correct restart is to have the PK taken properly. In practical terms for instructors, this means that the given answer in the Key for this question on both the entry and state exams continues to be correct.


I have a question on Law 14. Suppose the referee gives the signal for a PK to be taken and, before the ball is in play, the laws are infringed by someone on the kicking team (either the kicker or one of his teammates). The referee allows the kick to proceed, and the ball does not enter the goal directly. Instead, it goes out of bounds for one of the following reasons:
1. it is kicked directly over the goal line (NOT between the goalposts and under the crossbar) OR
2. it deflects off the goalkeeper and goes
a. over the goal line (but not in the goal),
b. over the goal line (and into the goal), or
c. over a touchline.

How does the referee restart play in these four situations?

Answer (August 23, 2005):
If the infringement was of Law 14, then the correct action by the referee is to award an indirect free kick to the defending team from the place where the infringement occurred.

However, if the violation was of some other Law, the referee should prevent the penalty kick from occurring (or cancel whatever the result was if momentum caused the kick to occur before the referee could signal), deal with the violation, and then order the PK taken. For example, suppose the "infringement" fell under Law 12--A14 struck B29--misconduct (because the ball is not in play yet) -- so we send off A14 and then order the penalty kick taken.


Team "A" scores a goal and the AR signals with her flag. Although the entire sideline is calling to the center referee to check the AR he lets play continue and team "B" takes the ball down field and scores with no stoppage of play. The AR continues to signal that team "A" had already scored and now the coach has gotten the attention of the center referee to speak with the AR. After a brief conversation the center referee admits that he has made a mistake but refuses to allow team "A's" goal and does allow team "B's" goal to stand. I understand that if there was a stoppage of play and then play continues without consultation that team "A's" goal would not be counted. However, with no stoppage of play is that the correct call?

Answer (August 22, 2005):
Yes, this was the "correct" call, but certainly not the "right" call. Because the referee did not see the goal or watch for the assistant referee's flag, and thus did not realize that the ball had gone out of play (into Team B's goal), the goal for Team B must stand.

As to the referee's observation skills (or lack thereof), several things are at issue here. What was the other AR doing? The trail AR should immediately have mirrored the lead AR's flag and thus increased the likelihood of the referee recognizing that an error had been committed. Why did the lead AR not do something a bit more active than merely standing (correctly, certainly, but not EFFECTIVE) with the flag up in the air? Although it would not happen at higher competitive levels, there is nothing wrong with the AR calling out to the referee.


I was center referee on very competitive Girls U18 match. Defender fouls attacker A1 near the attackers left touch line. Foul is called but the ball continues to roll 8-10 yards laterally across field. Player A2 quickly stops the balls motion, restarts play by performing a short, quick pass to A3 who takes a shot on goal. Shot is unsuccessful, restart with Goal Kick.

Before A3's shot was taken, the sideline for opposing team immediately howled in protest that the ball was not placed where the foul was called and that the ball should be moved back and restarted. I chose to let play continue rather then penalize the attacking team for being fouled and rather encourage them to restart quickly.

My question: In what circumstances would you stop play and bring the ball back to original foul location?

Answer (August 16, 2005):
Howls of protest should roll off the referee's mind like water from a duck's back--but the referee should think about the reason for the howls and adjust his or her calls accordingly.

You don't say how close to the opponents' goal line the attackers were at the moment of the foul and subsequent restart, but distance to the goal line (and particularly the goal) should be a consideration in correct placement of the restart. While it is very rare and usually totally unnecessary that the restart take place on the precise blade of grass on which the incident occurred, the amount of latitude the referee allows the kicking team decreases greatly the closer the incident is to the goal. And, as to this particular situation, if a goal HAD been scored, the referee should have called the ball back for a retake of the kick from the correct location (using the guidance above). In this case, no harm, no foul -- the infringement of Law 13 was likely trifling. To call it back after an unsuccessful attack would be to give the team an unfair second chance. Let your conscience be your guide, not the howls of the fans or players, but remember the spirit of fair play.

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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