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November 2007 Archive (III of III)


I have a question for you. but first i will tell you about an incident that happened {supposedly} during one of my games. i caution a player for a foul in the penalty area in the first half. in the second half the same player does the same thing, this time last defender, in the penalty area again. denying goalscoring opportunity. i send off this player. now the game is over. i then find out from the parents of the team that did not get the red card that when the player got to the touch line he high fived his teammates. unfortunately i did not observe this as i was tending to the injured player that was taken down from behind. now my question for you is this: if i observed this behavior, would a caution to his teammates and or coach be in order. or would i be able to terminate the game. i would think that if i saw this happening i would say that it is unsporting behavior. thank you for your time and wisdom as i am getting different answers from different referees.

Answer (November 27, 2007):
Once you have sent off a player you may not then caution that player for anything he does. And don't even think about sending him off a second time! Nor may you caution his teammates and certainly not his coach -- coaches may not be cautioned for anything unless the rules of the competition specifically allow it; the Laws allow you simply to expel the coach or other team official for irresponsible behavior. The only option open to you is to include complete details of everything you observed and heard in your match report. As you did not observe the high-fiving, you might suggest that the parents of the other team also submit reports to the competition authority.



We had a situation in a match that raised a question that I (and other referees) could not definitively answer. Here it is:
Attacker evades goalkeeper (who goes to the ground) in a one-on-one and attacker proceeds unchallenged to the goal line where he stops the ball with his foot just outside the goal (it would have gone in for a goal if he did not stop it) and waits for the goalie to get up and try to recover before putting the ball into the goal. The action was clearly taunting and deserving of a caution. If given a yellow card for unsporting behavior, what is the appropriate restart? IFK from point of foul and goal does not count because foul stops play? Kick off (goal counts) after the caution. Another option.

Answer (November 26, 2007):
Without delving deeper into the matter of the attacking player's sportsmanship, the correct restart, if the referee does indeed stop to caution the player for unsporting behavior -- and has decided to do so before the ball is kicked -- is an indirect free kick, taken from the place where the misconduct occurred. (Don't forget the special circumstances described in Law 8.) And if the game is stopped for the misconduct, the goal certainly cannot be counted.



My question is regarding a technical error made by the referee and the consequences from it. The referee in error ended a game 3-5 minutes early; this is a fact. The losing team protested the score.

What is the correct ruling?

The game has to be replayed in its entirety or the last (non played) minutes have to be played out to be considered a full game. Or are there any other options.

Answer (November 26, 2007):
There is no fixed formula for this situation and it is not covered in the Laws of the Game. Unless there is some other provision for this in the rules of the competition, tradition says that the game must be replayed in its entirety.

It would have been nice if the error had been caught immediately, in which case the game could have been completed on the spot, restarting with a dropped ball from the place where the ball was when the referee stopped play or, if the ball had already passed out of play, with the correct restart for the reason the ball was out of play.



My questions relate to Advice 11.6 that an off-sides player is "gaining an advantage" when he can capitalize immediately on a defender's mistake (usually seen in non-controlled keeper deflections or goal post rebounds per Advice) and 11.14.2 that the off-sides determination is "re-set" when a defender gains possession/control of the ball (not simply deflecting it).

Consider Attacker A1 passes to the right flank area where A2 is standing in an off-sides position (10 yards). A2 makes no movement for the ball and even steps back from it (A2 judged not to be involved at this point). Onsides attacker/midfielder A3 begins to moves towards ball. A Defender will get to ball before A3 arrives. Next:
1. Defender's first touch on the ball, seeing A3 approach, is to purposefully pass it back to keeper to kick a clearing ball. A2, passively observing till now, chases the ball to intercept it or at least challenge keeper's clearance.
2. Defender gains control of ball and starts to dribble forward and within 2-3 seconds is challenged (otherwise fairly) from A2 who approached from Defenders rear.
3. Same as scenario 2 but A2 arrives 4-5 seconds later.

In each scenario, Defender exhibits some ball possession or control. To what extent, if any, should Defender be allowed to play absent A2's involvement?

Answer (November 26, 2007):
"Off-sides"? "Onsides"? First things first, with a brief lecture on terminology. In soccer, the word is singular -- offside or onside -- unless we are talking about multiple violations. Second, we must always be clear about whether we are talking about "position" or "infringement," so it is best at every opportunity to refer to offside or onside position and to an offside infringement.

Perhaps we misunderstand the question(s), but once a defender plays (meaning "possesses and controls") the ball, there is no longer any immediate concern for the offside or onside position of any opposing player because, by definition, they cannot commit any offside infringement. The referee and the Laws of the Game cannot compensate for the mistakes of players. If a defender gains control of the ball and then misplays it or is so unaware of the position of any opponent as to allow that opponent to sneak up and successfully challenge for the ball, oh well, life is hard.



Here is the scenario:
Three players are in offside position and run towards the ball, drawing defenders as they go. In the meantime, a fourth attacker runs from an onside position onto the ball and scores with it.

Are we to disallow the goal because the three players distracted their opponents? If so, how does this reconcile with the guidance that "a player in an offside position may be penalized before playing or touching the ball if, in the opinion of the referee, no other teammate in an onside position has the opportunity to play the ball."

Answer (November 20, 2007):
It is now an established principle that in situations where an attacker is coming from an onside position and another attacker coming from an offside position, each with an equally credible chance of getting to the ball, it is imperative that officials withhold a decision until either it becomes clear which attacker will get to the ball first (even if this means having to wait until one or the other player actually touches the ball) or the action of the attacker coming from the offside position causes one or more opponents to be deceived or distracted.

From from your description, it is possible that the three attackers, by drawing defenders away from play elsewhere, have interfered with their opponents. The referee in this situation must decide whether in fact that actually occurred. Did these three attackers prevent an opponent from playing or being able to play the ball by clearly obstructing the opponent's line of vision or movement, or by a gesture or movement which in the opinion of the referee deceives or distracts an opponent. If so, the correct call is offside. If not, then there is no offense.

The confusion here appears to lie in the "exclusivity" of the guidance you cite. That guidance refers only to the issue of whether an attacker is interfering with play. In other words, suggesting the need to wait for a decision when an onside attacker and an offside attacker are both making a play for the ball is related to whether one or the other of the attackers will interfere with play. If, apart from this, one or more attackers who are in offside positions are interfering with an opponent, this presents a separate issue.



Interesting thing happened here 2 days ago. 2 Select teams wanted to have a scrimmage with a referee crew. The game showed up on the assignor's list as a regular game and she booked a crew for it. During the scrimmage the game started to get out of control and the referee sent off one of the players. Many questions: should a referee accept an assignment for a scrimmage? Is the referee covered by insurance? May cards be given at a scrimmage? If they can, where does the report go and what should it say? Will the player sent off have to sit out another game? The assignor said she might not have assigned a crew had she known it was a scrimmage that is a non-sanctioned game. The teams maintain that since they are sanctioned teams the referee is covered by insurance but I don't know. I think I would have left the field once informed it wasn't a USSF sanctioned game. What would you do?

Answer (November 19, 2007):
If the scrimmage appears as part of the regular assignment process and is listed by the league assignor, it should be considered by the referee to be officially sanctioned. The teams did not call the referees directly to make the arrangements, but went through the official assignment procedure with the league assignor. Now the answers to the remaining questions follow naturally.


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 Julie Ilacqua, Managing Director of Referee Programs (administrative matters); David McKee, National Director of Assessment (assessment matters); and Ulrich Strom, National Instructor and National Assessor (matters in general).

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