PLACEMENT OF THE BALL FOR KICK RESTARTS
This is an accumulation question that comes to mind only over years of watching games.
Referees are typically generous in placement of the ball for the taking of a free kick unless it's advanced unreasonably closer to the goal (sometimes, just sometimes an inch beyond the corner arcs) OR when the ball is advanced beyond the penalty area or beyond the halfway line. There is no instruction I'm aware of that says that placement must be within the bounds of either area. But, I keep seeing referees force the ball back before the kick is accepted. This seeming pettiness goes against the ambition of keeping the game flowing without unnecessary interruption.
Why do referees do it?
Answer (March 9, 2009):
To prevent players from gaining an unfair advantage.
WEARING OSI UNIFORM FOR NON-AFFILIATED GAMES
I know we should not wear our USSF referee badge for non-USSF matches, but...
From the USSF's point of view...
Is it 'legal' for USSF referees to wear the OSI uniform shirt and shorts with the USSF logo as shown here (http://www.officialsports.com/det_8070.jpg) for non-USSF matches, say for example high school matches?
Answer (March 9, 2009):
Referees must wear apparel that is approved for the competition in which they officiate. If there is no uniform requirement in a competition that is not affiliated with the United States Soccer Federation, then referees may wear what they like, as long as they do not bring dishonor on the uniform or themselves.
CAN A PLAYER BE OFFSIDE AT A KICK-OFF?
After years of officiating, I find this question almost funnyŠ but then I realized (at the higher level of play) the play begins once the whistle is blown, not when the ball is kickedŠ so can a player be offside if he/she receives the ball from a kick-off?
Answer (March 9, 2009):
At a kick-off play does not begin until the ball is kicked and moves forward. No, a player cannot be offside directly from a kick-off; however, that player would have failed to follow the requirement of Law 8 that "all players must be in their own half of the field" and the kick-off would be retaken.
This month's meeting of our local official's association had us discussing the position paper found on your website concerning advantage in the penalty area (04/11/08). We took the tips from the paper and it was beneficial information for all involved. The discussion then turned to advantage. Half of those in attendance believe that advantage ended with the shot attempt by the teammate that was passed the ball (i.e. video highlight Kansas City v. New England attached to position paper). The other half indicated that no advantage developed because the teammate missed the shot. That left us with the question; what constitutes 'advantage' and when is it realized or finished? We realize that this scenario that we are proposing is not exactly like the video in that the referee in the video never exhibited the 'advantage' signal. What we are asking is if the referee had moved his arms in an upward manner and shouted "advantage" and then the play continued exactly like the video in that the teammate received the pass and did not score. Is the advantage finished with the missed shot or can the referee then go to the penalty spot with the explanation that the advantage never occurred because the shot was missed? We have a group of officials that referee from the lowest levels of youth games all the way up to the collegiate level and the room was pretty evenly divided on when the advantage ended. We need your help.
Answer (March 7, 2009):
We believe you will find your answer at the bottom of this excerpt from the position paper:
The basic elements of the decision are straightforward:
- Where it does not continue, the Laws of the Game provide for the referee to stop play for the original foul.
- If the original foul involved violence, the referee is advised not to apply advantage unless there is an immediate chance of scoring a goal.
Inside the penalty area, the competitive tension is much greater and the referee is called upon to make quicker decisions. The time during which the referee looks for advantage to continue becomes defined by the probability of scoring a goal directly following the foul or from the subsequent play.
END OF QUOTE
While the decision lies solely in the opinion of the referee on the particular game, the thrust of the excerpt above is that giving the advantage within the penalty area means there is some definite reason to expect a goal will be scored immediately (within a play or, at most, two) if play is allowed to continue. If a shot is taken -- after the foul -- by the player who was fouled or by a teammate, and a goal was not scored, then in most cases the advantage has not been realized and the original foul must be penalized. That is why the referee must make the initial decision to invoke the advantage clause very carefully.
WEARING RUNNING SPIKES FOR FITNESS TEST
While taking the fitness test for recertification and during the Pro Clinics (now know as Referee Seminars) I've noticed that some referees will wear track spikes while running the 200m and 50m sprints.
While I'm getting up in age I still feel that I can run with my much younger brothers and sisters with whistles. However if every second counts in determining the types of matches one will get for "pro assignments", it might be in my best interest to follow in their footsteps and wear spikes as well.
What are USSF's thoughts of this practice?
Answer (March 6, 2009):
At present there is no written policy. The Federation will review the matter and make a decision in the near future. Thank you very much for bringing this to our attention.
MISCONDUCT COMMITTED OFF THE FIELD
Today at a referee clinic, we discussed the new memorandum about when players leave the field to commit misconduct. Unless I understood incorrectly, I believe that they said that if a player is running and leaves the field of play to strike an AR, it would be a dropped ball. They said that since the misconduct was not against an opponent, a dropped ball is the only possible restart.
However, looking at the memorandum now, it does not specify whether or not that misconduct must occur against an opponent, just that the intent to misconduct was the reason for leaving the field of play. By this logic, wouldn't there be a IFK for the opposing team?
Additionally, if a player left the field to strike a substitute on his/her own team, would that also be an IFK?
Answer (February 24, 2009):
We assume you refer to Supplementary Memorandum 2008/2009, which contains this information:
Law 12 In its guidelines, the International Board has in effect created two scenarios for when the referee stops play for misconduct committed off the field by a player. In the first case, the referee must decide if the player left the field in the normal course of play and, while off the field committed the offense. In this case, after dealing with the misconduct, the referee will restart play with a dropped ball where the ball was when play was stopped (except for the special circumstances involving restarts in the goal area). However, if the referee decides that the player left the field for the purpose of committing the offense and after dealing with the misconduct, play is restarted with an indirect free kick for the opposing team where the ball was when play was stopped (except for the special circumstances involving restarts in the goal area).
In the first case, a dropped ball is the correct restart based on the fact that misconduct was committed off the field. In the second case, an indirect free kick is the correct restart because the player has illegally left the field before committing the restart.
Please remember that misconduct is misconduct, not necessarily involving any foul, and may be committed by a player, a substitute, or a substituted player against anyone, anywhere, and at any time. A foul, on the other hand, is any unfair or unsafe act committed ONLY BY A PLAYER, against an opponent (or the opposing team), on the field, and while the ball is in play.
We hope that your instructor had the knowledge and wisdom to explain to everyone in the clinic that the indirect free kick restart is not for the misconduct committed off the field, but for the illegal exit from the field.
That, of course, opens up an interesting discussion of whether, since misconduct was committed in the departure as well as in the conduct off the field, then it would follow that the referee could also give a second yellow and then a red. But that decision would be up to the referee on that game, at that moment, with those players, and in that specific situation.
LOCATION OF FREE KICK FOLLOWING OFFSIDE INFRINGEMENT
I have a question about the placement of the free kick following an offside infringement.
Law 10 states "In the event of an offside offence, the referee awards an indirect free kick to the opposing team to be taken from the place where the infringement occurred (see Law 13 - Position of Free Kick)."
Advice to Referee's (section 11.13) says the restart should be where the offside player was when his teammate played the ball. The kick should not be taken from the position of the second to last defender.
OK - here's my question. Why is the kick always taken at the position of the second to last defender? Granted, sometimes the offside player and the second to last defender are very close so it doesn't matter. But when they are not close - one always sees the ball moved up to the position of the AR.
Isn't this wrong? It seems to me the general practice and the laws are not in synch. Comment?
Answer (February 25, 2009):
You quote correctly both the Law (though you should be citing Law 11, not 10) and the Advice, and then ask why is the kick always taken at the position of the second-last defender. In point of fact, the kick is indeed taken from the place where the player was when his teammate played the ball, even though the player may have moved elsewhere by the time he becomes involved in play.
If the kick is taken from the place where the second-last defender was, that is because of sheer laziness on the part of either the assistant referee or the referee. The AR is expected to stay with the second-last defender or the ball, whichever is nearer to the goal, but must remember where the player in the offside position was when it comes time to flag for the offense. Too many ARs take the easy way out, but you should not allow that to influence how you officiate the game.
MISTAKENLY EXTENDED TIME
Situation: USSF sanctioned match. In the second half, the referee allows the match to continue past the standard (sanctioned) length of the half as adjusted for time lost based on his error as to the proper duration of the half for a particular age group (eg., in a U12 match, the referee runs a 35 minute half instead of the standard 30 minute half). During this unauthorized extension, one team scores a goals which proves to be the winning goal. Additionally, the referee administers a card (caution or send off). This fact situation presents the following two questions/problems:
Question # 1: Does the goal stand?
This question presents two subquestions depending on the timing of the referee's recognition of his error:
Subquestion # 1a: After the goal is scored, but before the restart, the referee realizes that he has improperly extended the match. Can the referee disallow the goal and end the match as a tie immdiately (and describe these circumstances in his match report)?
Scenarioi # 1b: The referee allows the goal and restarts the match but, at a later point (but prior to blowing the whistle to end the match), the referee realizes his error. Must the referee allow the goal to stand, end the match immediately, and describe his error and the consequences in his match report to the competition authority?
Question # 2: Does the card stand?
This question also raises two subquestions depending on the timing of the referee's recognition of his error:
Subquestion # 2a: The referee administers a card, but, prior to the restart, he discovers his timing error. May he rescind the card and end the match immediately as a tie (and describe these circumstances in his game report)?
Subquestion # 2b: The referee administers a card, restarts play, but at a later point (but prior to blowing the whistle to end the match) realizes his error. Must the referee let the card stand, end the match immediately, and report the circumstances in his match report to the competition authority?
Law 5 Denotes that the referee is the official timekeeper for the match
Law 7: The referee may add time for time lost
The referee may not arbitrarily shorten or lengthen the duration of the halves where the competition authority has specified the duration of the halves
NOTE: Asked for further information, the questioner stated that he "should have said something to the effect of 'mistakenly extended' time. In the case which prompted my questions, the referee simply made a mental error and ran a 35 minute second half having run a 30 minute first half. However, . . . in this case, both AR's were inattentive and of no help to the referee and both coaches (including the coach whose team was ahead) did not question the referee about the time during the running of 'extended time'."
Answer (February 24, 2009):
1. Does the goal stand?
1a. The goal may be disallowed once the referee realizes his error.
1b. The goal must stand.
In both of these situations the referee must provide full details in the match report.
2. May the referee rescind a card? The card stands and the referee must provide full details in the match report.
2a. The referee COULD rescind the card, but SHOULD the referee do it? Probably not in this case, since the player's misconduct is cautionable whether committed during play or (if time has run out) during the period immediately following the end of play.
2b. No, in this case the he card stands and the referee must provide full details in the match report.
To sum it up: The referee ran an overly long second half. If he had been smart and quick on his mental feet, he would have simply described the extra time as "taking into account time lost" -- not true, of course, but an overly long half is easier to "explain" than a half which is short by any amount.
In a different situation, it might have been that the referee hit the 35th minute in the second half and said "Oh my God! I forgot that the half for this age group is 30 minutes long. I got it right on the first half but was so absorbed in the game and the players were playing so much above their age level that I let the half go too long."
The match is not over until the referee says it is over. If the error is realized during a stoppage (e. g., for a goal), the goal can be cancelled and the match ended. If it is not realized until after play restarts after the goal, it stands and the match ends when the referee stops play. The same principle applies for the card shown at a stoppage -- it can be cancelled if play has not resumed, it stands if play has resumed.
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. Direction is provided by Alfred Kleinaitis, Manager of Referee Development and Education, with further assistance from Paul Tamberino, Director of Referee Development; David McKee, National Director of Assessment (assessment matters); and Ulrich Strom, National Instructor and National Assessor (matters in general).
Submit your questions via e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.