Referee Week in Review – Week 10
The Situation: San Jose is leading New England 2-1 in the 93rd minute.
The Play: As directed by the referee, the fourth official indicates that three minutes of stoppage time are to be played.
The Decision: After only two minutes and 10 seconds into stoppage time, the referee blows the whistle to end the game.
My Take: Based on the signal from the fourth official, the teams are under the impression that at least three minutes of time will be added. This time cannot be reduced, and the minimum expected by all involved in the game. The referee’s job is to maintain his or her concentration and awareness to ensure that play is not ended prior to the expiration of the announced remaining time and is correctly applied.
The Laws of the Game: The 2008 Position Paper titled “Allowance for Time Lost,” states the following: Once the indication of the minimum time allowed has been given by the Fourth Official, this time cannot be reduced. This time shall be stated to the closest lower minute (i.e., one minute and 30 seconds will be expressed as one minute).
The Situation: Kansas City and Seattle are tied 0-0 in the 92nd minute.
The Play: The ball is headed back towards the endline and the Kansas City defender attempts to play the ball out for a throw-in rather than surrender a corner kick. The Seattle players are unaware that a corner kick has been awarded so they restart play with a throw-in.
The Decision: The assistant referee signals that the ball has crossed the touchline and a corner kick is awarded.
My Take: Despite the defender’s best efforts, the ball crosses the endline and the assistant referee is in the correct position to make the call and signal for a corner kick. After the referee recognizes the confusion surrounding the call he signals to the corner arc and verbalizes the correct decision to the players on the field. Although the score is tied in stoppage time, the referee crew maintains their concentration and composure to ensure the correct call is made at such a crucial stage in the game.
The Laws of the Game: As stated in Law 5, the referee is charged with enforcing the Laws of the Game at all times. This play not only displays elements such as proper positioning, composure, teamwork and effective communication from the referee crew but is also a fine example of the Laws of the Game being properly enforced regardless of the pressures being caused by the playing environment.
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.