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2011 Referee Week in Review - Week 25



Referee Week in Review – Week 25

The Situation: Los Angeles is leading Kansas City 1-0 in the 84th minute. 

The Play: A free kick is played into the penalty area and Kansas City scores. The goal is disallowed because the goal scorer is judged to have been in an offside position and involved in active play. 

My Take: At the time the ball is played we can see two players from the attacking team in an offside position. Being in an offside position alone is not an offense but becoming involved in active play from an offside position is an offense; which is precisely what happens here when the attacker makes contact with the ball by heading it towards goal. The assistant referee does an impressive job of maintaining his focus and concentration to signal for the correct call. 

The Laws of the Game: Law 11 states that a player in an offside position is only penalized if, at the moment the ball touches or is played by one of his team, he is, in the opinion of the referee, involved in active play.


The Situations: Real Salt Lake is leading Chivas USA 1-0 in both the 48th and 79th minutes of play. 

The Plays: Two Real Salt Lake teammates collide head-to-head and one player immediately goes to the ground injured. The second clip comes from the same game where there are three players challenging for the ball. Although two teammates make contact while contesting for the ball one of the defenders is kicked in the back of the head by a Chivas USA player. In each instance, the referee stops play to manage the potential injuries. 

My Take: Medical treatment for injured players is usually reserved for when the player has been removed from the field of play. However, exceptions to this ruling can be made when players from the same team have collided and need immediate attention. In this instance, it is clear that two teammates have hit heads and the referee correctly stops play to assess the nature of the injuries. Once the player on the ground receives immediate attention for his possible head injury, he must leave the field because he is bleeding and will require further medical attention. 

In the other situation, we see three players challenging for the ball and an opponent kicks one of the defenders in the back of the head. If the referee determines the injury to be caused by the player being kicked in the back of the head by the opponent, then that player must leave the field for treatment. If the referee determines that there are injuries requiring immediate attention resulting from the contact between the teammates, then the players can remain on the field to receive immediate treatment.

The Laws of the Game: Law 5 requires that injured players leave the field of play but exceptions to this ruling are to be made only when:

  • A goalkeeper is injured
  • A goalkeeper and an outfield player have collided and need immediate attention
  • Player from the same team have collided and need immediate attention
  • A severe injury has occurred, e.g. swallowed tongue, concussion, broken leg

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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