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September 2005 Archive (I of II)


Submit your questions via e-mail to askareferee@ussoccer.org.


GAMESMANSHIP AND SUBSTITUTIONS

Question:
My state has changed their youth soccer rules to allow subs at any stoppage in play. This change, when coupled with unlimited substitutions, has produced some issues for referees, especially when a sharp coach is trying to hold onto a lead in the final minutes of a game. For example, one team in the final minutes this past weekend had a sub ready at midfield to enter the game at every stoppage and then his team repeatedly kicked the ball out of bounds, obviously to waste time while the substitution process repeatedly took place. A few questions that have come up in discussions among referees:
1. One referee has stated that he will just ignore the requests for substitution, even if the player is ready to enter, if he feels it is for the purpose of wasting time. I say that he cannot due this since ATR specifically says: "Even if it seems that the purpose is to waste time, the referee cannot deny the request (for substitution)". Am I correct that the referee can never refuse to allow a sub to enter if that sub is ready to enter before the stoppage and the request is properly made?
2. ATR also state the following: "Referees should prevent unnecessary delays due to the substitution process. One source of delay is a request for a substitution that occurs just as a player starts to put the ball back into play. This often (incorrectly) results in the restart being called back and retaken. One referee says that this means if Team A is trying for a quick restart (either a quick throw-in or a quick direct kick), then the sub should not be allowed in EVEN IF that sub is already waiting to enter at midfield before the stoppage takes place. Based on the item quoted in Question 1 I do not believe this is correct. The question: Does a referee have the discretion to refuse to allow a sub to enter, if that sub is already waiting to enter before the stoppage occurs, if the other team is trying for a quick restart?
3. I know ATR states: "Even if it seems that the purpose is to waste time, the referee cannot deny the request, but should exercise the power granted in Law 7 to add time lost through "any other cause." Does this mean, if the referee believes that the primary purpose of multiple substitutions is to waste time, that he can add the full time used for each substitution? Or can he only add time for the amount of time wasted if the substitution process is slower than ideal? (e.g. the sub delays entering or the player on the field is slow to exit, etc.)
4. In the final 10 minutes of another game, one coach had a sub always waiting at midfield, but, when the referee asked her to enter, he often said she was not ready. He would have the prospective sub wait at midfield until it looked like the other team might gain an advantage from a quick restart and then yell out for a "sub!". My inclination would be to instruct her to get back to the bench unless she is ready to enter and to warn the coach not to send her to midfield until she is ready to enter. Then future violations might lead to a caution. However, the referee in this particular game allowed the coach to selectively decide when to have the waiting sub enter the game. Your comments?

This rule change has stirred up a lot of discussion and inconsistencies so your answers to the `four questions above would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.

Answer (September 14, 2005):
Let several things be clear from the beginning: (1) Your state is to be congratulated for making its rules of substitution conform--at least in part--to the Laws of the Game. (2) Team officials and players will always try to manipulate the rules. (3) The referee must be extremely careful in games whose rules of competition allow multiple substitutions and players/substitutes constantly running in and out of the game. Referees would not have any of the problems described in your questions if the requirements of Law 3 were followed. (4) Referees must exercise common sense in managing such situations.

Directly to your questions:
1. The referee can and may not ignore requests for substitutions. As you pointed out, the Advice tells us "that the referee can[not] deny permission for any reason other than to ensure that the substitution conforms to the Law. Even if it seems that the purpose is to waste time, the referee cannot deny the request, but should exercise the power granted in Law 7 to add time lost through 'any other cause.'"
2. If the substitute has reported correctly to the match official (fourth official or the assistant referee on that side of the field) before the stoppage, the referee, upon recognizing that fact, should allow the player to leave the field and the new player (substitute) to enter the field. If the immediacy of the restart (which is the right of the team with the restart) naturally draws the referee's attention away from any pending substitution requests, then the substitution will have to wait. A substitution, if properly requested, is a right not to be lightly denied. There are only two reasons to do it: Either the substitute is not ready or the team with the restart wants to restart immediately.
3. The referee must always add time lost, however, as Law 7 tells us: "The allowance for time lost is at the discretion of the referee." In other words, the amount of time added is up to the referee.
4. This is an excellent example of how team officials will try to work the system. We need to remember that technically it is the player who requests the substitution, not the coach or any other team official. Your inclination is correct: Send the player back to the bench and instruct both the player and the coach that the player will have to report in again when he is ready for her to enter. When the referee recognizes the subsequent substitution opportunity, then and only then may the player enter. The failure of the substitute to enter the game when the referee has given permission could be regarded as delaying the restart of play, a cautionable offense.


ALLOW NO INTERFERENCE WITH GOALKEEPER POSSESSION

Question:
I am in my 5th year of refereeing and have been able to get loads of good information from your site. Thanks much for a superb job on clarifying potentially obtuse, or ambiguous situations that are brought up by fellow referees.

My question is this....
Can you confirm for me, if a defender is allowed, or if it's legal for a defender, to play the ball when the goalkeeper has the ball in either hand, one-handed, with the palm facing up and the ball away from their body? I thought that I had seen a law change that made this legal but cannot seem to locate that text. I would really appreciate any clarification you could provide.

I am under the impression that for the goalkeeper to be considered to have possession, or control, of the ball they must hold it with either two hands or have it close to their body if holding it with one hand.

Answer (September 12, 2005):
No, no one is allowed to play the ball once the goalkeeper has established possession and while it is still in the 'keeper's hand in preparation for release to general play.

What you saw was from the International F. A. Board's Questions and Answers on the Laws of the Game, commonly known as the FIFA Q&A. The 2004 edition allowed players to head the ball from the goalkeeper's open hand, provided it was not done in a dangerous manner. That was changed in the 2005 edition and is no longer allowed.


OFFSIDE TRAP

Question:
A standard defense in response to a dfk is to have the defense line up in a line and then, at the last moment, take a step up thereby putting many of their opponents in an offside position. As such, when this occurs, AR's will proceed to signal offside. My question - in this situation, should no opponent, realizing that they were placed in an offside position, proceed to go after the ball (simply stand still or attempt to return to an onsides position) is it appropriate for the AR to still call offside?

Answer (September 9, 2005):
If a player in an offside position does not become actively involved in play when a teammate plays the ball, then no offside has occurred.

There is, of course, the opposite side of the equation: If the defenders step too far up, they may be encroaching on the kicking team's free kick.


INFRINGEMENTS OF LAW 14

Question:
With the changes to Law 14, is it now the case that an IFK is awarded to the defending team for encroachment by the attacking team, even when the ball goes out of play? That is, if the kick is missed wide or deflected by the GK, the restart is an IFK instead of a GK or CK.

This is causing some discussion in our area here. Clarification would be helpful.

Answer (September 7, 2005):
The correct restart in this case is indirect free kick for the opposing team.

A chart in the June 13, 2005, USSF position paper on penalty kicks may be of help. We have put it into normal form here for ease of posting:
Consequences of an Infringement of Law 14
We look first to see who infringed the Law. Then we consider what the outcome of the kick was, in other words, whether the ball entered the goal or did not enter the goal.

If an attacker (including the kicker) infringed the Law and the ball entered the goal, the penalty kick is retaken. If the ball did not enter the goal, the referee awards an indirect free kick (from the place where the infringement occurred). Please that this is the ONLY change in Law 14 this year.

If a defender (including the goalkeeper) infringed the Law and the ball entered the goal, the goal is awarded and the restart is a kick-off. If the ball did not enter the goal, the penalty kick is retaken.

If both an attacker and a defender infringed the Law, the penalty kick is retaken.


IMPORTANCE OF ENFORCING LAW 3

Question:
This happened in a college game last week:
Throw in. Team A allowed to substitute. As player from Team A is leaving the field, referee turns and blows whistle for play to continue. Substituted Team A player suddenly falls to the ground with a cramp, some 10 yards from technical area, not making it to bench. Both AR and 4th ref see the situation but assume the player will leave the field soon. Play goes on and a teammate of Team A player kicks ball far downfield in attack mode. Injured player, still on the field on other side of halfline, is clearly in offside position but away from the action. Team B coach screams for offside call. Play continues as injured player crawls to her bench. AR does not raise flag and indicates with a small hand gesture that he recognizes the player is not a part of the action. She makes it to the bench and everything turned out OK. BUT...

The player is still a "player" until she reaches the tech area, right? Or is it a no harm no foul situation?

What if the ball touched the injured substituted player? Outside interference, offside, illegal substitution or what?

Answer (September 6, 2005):
We cannot speak with authority on NCAA rules here, so your question will be answered as if this had been a game played under the Laws of the Game. This is a situation that can cause problems, but is easily resolved through following the Laws of the Game and proper refereeing procedure. (As luck would have it, NCAA rules are the same in this case.)

Law 3 tells us that "from [the] moment [the substitute has been waved on by the referee and enters the field], the substitute becomes a player and the player he has replaced ceases to be a player." Nevertheless, as a matter of good game management, the referee should never restart a game with a player leaving the field but not yet off. In fact, the intelligent referee should never allow any substitute to enter until the player who is leaving has completely left the field. That referee will recognize that this "extra" person, even though no longer a player, could present many problems, particularly in the area of misconduct.

As to the "offside," it is a non-issue in the scenario you present. The now former player is treated as an outside agent and thus cannot be declared offside. If the ball hits that former player or the former player otherwise interferes with play or with an opponent, the correct restart is a dropped ball from the point of impact.


IT'S "OFFSIDE," NOT "OFFSIDES"

Question:
At what point is a player determined to be involved in the play for an off sides call? The scenario both teams are in team B's zone except team A goalie and 1 player from team B. The ball is cleared by team B and is going directly to the goalie, it is clear that the goalie will get the ball before the player from team B but it will be close, And this is actually what happened. Because at the time of receipt of the ball by the team A goalie the player from team B would be interfering with the play because of his proximity to the play but not before hand, should off sides be called? Team A goalie cleared the ball back in to team B area and no call was made. Was this correct?

Answer (September 1, 2005):
Given the circumstances you describe, IF the player from team B causes the goalkeeper from team A to move toward either him or the ball in order to gain possession, the player from team B has interfered with an opponent and must be declared offside. The restart will be an indirect free kick at the place where the player from team B was when his teammate played the ball. This is true even if the player from team B was just over the halfway line and did not near the goalkeeper of team A until he reached team A's penalty area.

Referees need to remember that if it is going to be close--or even close to close--the offside must be called to prevent any collision between the two players no matter who gets to the ball first.

Strictly as a matter of information, the term used in soccer is "offside," not "offsides."


"KICKING" MEANS "KICKING"

Question:
The last line of section 13.6 of the new Advice to Referees reads:
"Stepping on top of the ball or merely tapping the ball with the foot does not constitute kicking."

I've been told that this is a misprint, but other sources claim that it is correct and it is being implemented elsewhere.

Could you please advise whether this is correct or a typographical error?

Answer (August 31, 2005):
The information in Advice to Referees 13.6 is correct. The portion you cite was changed in the 2005 edition. It should be implemented throughout the United States.
QUOTE
13.6 BALL IN PLAY
The ball is in play (able to be played by an attacker other than the kicker or by an opponent) when it has been kicked and moved. The distance to be moved is minimal and the "kick" need only be a touch of the ball with the foot in a kicking motion. Simply tapping the top of the ball with the foot or stepping on the ball are not sufficient. The referee must judge carefully whether any particular kick of the ball and subsequent movement was indeed reasonably taken with the intention of putting the ball into play rather than with the intention merely to position the ball for the restart. Referees should not penalize a kicker unfairly by calling as a restart a touch and movement of the ball which, either at the time or based on the kicker's immediately subsequent actions, was clearly not intended as such. Likewise, referees should not unfairly punish "failing to respect the required distance" when an opponent was clearly confused by a touch and movement of the ball which was not a restart.

Stepping on top of the ball or merely tapping the ball with the foot does not constitute kicking.
END OF QUOTE

What we are saying is that simply tapping the ball with the bottom of the foot or stepping on top of the ball does not constitute "kicking." For there to be "kicking," the player's foot must move in a kicking motion. If this results in only a slight movement, one that could be considered as making the ball "move," so be it. That is a kick.

While the kicking team is allowed to practice guile and attempt to fool their opponents, they must still observe the requirements of the Law and "kick" that ball.


GAMESMANSHIP AND SUBSTITUTIONS

Question:
My state has changed their youth soccer rules to allow subs at any stoppage in play. This change, when coupled with unlimited substitutions, has produced some issues for referees, especially when a sharp coach is trying to hold onto a lead in the final minutes of a game. For example, one team in the final minutes this past weekend had a sub ready at midfield to enter the game at every stoppage and then his team repeatedly kicked the ball out of bounds, obviously to waste time while the substitution process repeatedly took place. A few questions that have come up in discussions among referees:
1. One referee has stated that he will just ignore the requests for substitution, even if the player is ready to enter, if he feels it is for the purpose of wasting time. I say that he cannot due this since ATR specifically says: "Even if it seems that the purpose is to waste time, the referee cannot deny the request (for substitution)". Am I correct that the referee can never refuse to allow a sub to enter if that sub is ready to enter before the stoppage and the request is properly made?
2. ATR also state the following: "Referees should prevent unnecessary delays due to the substitution process. One source of delay is a request for a substitution that occurs just as a player starts to put the ball back into play. This often (incorrectly) results in the restart being called back and retaken. One referee says that this means if Team A is trying for a quick restart (either a quick throw-in or a quick direct kick), then the sub should not be allowed in EVEN IF that sub is already waiting to enter at midfield before the stoppage takes place. Based on the item quoted in Question 1 I do not believe this is correct. The question: Does a referee have the discretion to refuse to allow a sub to enter, if that sub is already waiting to enter before the stoppage occurs, if the other team is trying for a quick restart?
3. I know ATR states: "Even if it seems that the purpose is to waste time, the referee cannot deny the request, but should exercise the power granted in Law 7 to add time lost through "any other cause." Does this mean, if the referee believes that the primary purpose of multiple substitutions is to waste time, that he can add the full time used for each substitution? Or can he only add time for the amount of time wasted if the substitution process is slower than ideal? (e.g. the sub delays entering or the player on the field is slow to exit, etc.)
4. In the final 10 minutes of another game, one coach had a sub always waiting at midfield, but, when the referee asked her to enter, he often said she was not ready. He would have the prospective sub wait at midfield until it looked like the other team might gain an advantage from a quick restart and then yell out for a "sub!". My inclination would be to instruct her to get back to the bench unless she is ready to enter and to warn the coach not to send her to midfield until she is ready to enter. Then future violations might lead to a caution. However, the referee in this particular game allowed the coach to selectively decide when to have the waiting sub enter the game. Your comments?

This rule change has stirred up a lot of discussion and inconsistencies so your answers to the `four questions above would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.

Answer (September 14, 2005):
Let several things be clear from the beginning: (1) Your state is to be congratulated for making its rules of substitution conform--at least in part--to the Laws of the Game. (2) Team officials and players will always try to manipulate the rules. (3) The referee must be extremely careful in games whose rules of competition allow multiple substitutions and players/substitutes constantly running in and out of the game. Referees would not have any of the problems described in your questions if the requirements of Law 3 were followed. (4) Referees must exercise common sense in managing such situations.

Directly to your questions:
1. The referee can and may not ignore requests for substitutions. As you pointed out, the Advice tells us "that the referee can[not] deny permission for any reason other than to ensure that the substitution conforms to the Law. Even if it seems that the purpose is to waste time, the referee cannot deny the request, but should exercise the power granted in Law 7 to add time lost through 'any other cause.'"
2. If the substitute has reported correctly to the match official (fourth official or the assistant referee on that side of the field) before the stoppage, the referee, upon recognizing that fact, should allow the player to leave the field and the new player (substitute) to enter the field. If the immediacy of the restart (which is the right of the team with the restart) naturally draws the referee's attention away from any pending substitution requests, then the substitution will have to wait. A substitution, if properly requested, is a right not to be lightly denied. There are only two reasons to do it: Either the substitute is not ready or the team with the restart wants to restart immediately.
3. The referee must always add time lost, however, as Law 7 tells us: "The allowance for time lost is at the discretion of the referee." In other words, the amount of time added is up to the referee.
4. This is an excellent example of how team officials will try to work the system. We need to remember that technically it is the player who requests the substitution, not the coach or any other team official. Your inclination is correct: Send the player back to the bench and instruct both the player and the coach that the player will have to report in again when he is ready for her to enter. When the referee recognizes the subsequent substitution opportunity, then and only then may the player enter. The failure of the substitute to enter the game when the referee has given permission could be regarded as delaying the restart of play, a cautionable offense.


ALLOW NO INTERFERENCE WITH GOALKEEPER POSSESSION

Question:
I am in my 5th year of refereeing and have been able to get loads of good information from your site. Thanks much for a superb job on clarifying potentially obtuse, or ambiguous situations that are brought up by fellow referees.

My question is this....
Can you confirm for me, if a defender is allowed, or if it's legal for a defender, to play the ball when the goalkeeper has the ball in either hand, one-handed, with the palm facing up and the ball away from their body? I thought that I had seen a law change that made this legal but cannot seem to locate that text. I would really appreciate any clarification you could provide.

I am under the impression that for the goalkeeper to be considered to have possession, or control, of the ball they must hold it with either two hands or have it close to their body if holding it with one hand.

Answer (September 12, 2005):
No, no one is allowed to play the ball once the goalkeeper has established possession and while it is still in the 'keeper's hand in preparation for release to general play.

What you saw was from the International F. A. Board's Questions and Answers on the Laws of the Game, commonly known as the FIFA Q&A. The 2004 edition allowed players to head the ball from the goalkeeper's open hand, provided it was not done in a dangerous manner. That was changed in the 2005 edition and is no longer allowed.


OFFSIDE TRAP

Question:
A standard defense in response to a dfk is to have the defense line up in a line and then, at the last moment, take a step up thereby putting many of their opponents in an offside position. As such, when this occurs, AR's will proceed to signal offside. My question - in this situation, should no opponent, realizing that they were placed in an offside position, proceed to go after the ball (simply stand still or attempt to return to an onsides position) is it appropriate for the AR to still call offside?

Answer (September 9, 2005):
If a player in an offside position does not become actively involved in play when a teammate plays the ball, then no offside has occurred.

There is, of course, the opposite side of the equation: If the defenders step too far up, they may be encroaching on the kicking team's free kick.


INFRINGEMENTS OF LAW 14

Question:
With the changes to Law 14, is it now the case that an IFK is awarded to the defending team for encroachment by the attacking team, even when the ball goes out of play? That is, if the kick is missed wide or deflected by the GK, the restart is an IFK instead of a GK or CK.

This is causing some discussion in our area here. Clarification would be helpful.

Answer (September 7, 2005):
The correct restart in this case is indirect free kick for the opposing team.

A chart in the June 13, 2005, USSF position paper on penalty kicks may be of help. We have put it into normal form here for ease of posting:
Consequences of an Infringement of Law 14
We look first to see who infringed the Law. Then we consider what the outcome of the kick was, in other words, whether the ball entered the goal or did not enter the goal.

If an attacker (including the kicker) infringed the Law and the ball entered the goal, the penalty kick is retaken. If the ball did not enter the goal, the referee awards an indirect free kick (from the place where the infringement occurred). Please that this is the ONLY change in Law 14 this year.

If a defender (including the goalkeeper) infringed the Law and the ball entered the goal, the goal is awarded and the restart is a kick-off. If the ball did not enter the goal, the penalty kick is retaken.

If both an attacker and a defender infringed the Law, the penalty kick is retaken.


IMPORTANCE OF ENFORCING LAW 3

Question:
This happened in a college game last week:
Throw in. Team A allowed to substitute. As player from Team A is leaving the field, referee turns and blows whistle for play to continue. Substituted Team A player suddenly falls to the ground with a cramp, some 10 yards from technical area, not making it to bench. Both AR and 4th ref see the situation but assume the player will leave the field soon. Play goes on and a teammate of Team A player kicks ball far downfield in attack mode. Injured player, still on the field on other side of halfline, is clearly in offside position but away from the action. Team B coach screams for offside call. Play continues as injured player crawls to her bench. AR does not raise flag and indicates with a small hand gesture that he recognizes the player is not a part of the action. She makes it to the bench and everything turned out OK. BUT...

The player is still a "player" until she reaches the tech area, right? Or is it a no harm no foul situation?

What if the ball touched the injured substituted player? Outside interference, offside, illegal substitution or what?

Answer (September 6, 2005):
We cannot speak with authority on NCAA rules here, so your question will be answered as if this had been a game played under the Laws of the Game. This is a situation that can cause problems, but is easily resolved through following the Laws of the Game and proper refereeing procedure. (As luck would have it, NCAA rules are the same in this case.)

Law 3 tells us that "from [the] moment [the substitute has been waved on by the referee and enters the field], the substitute becomes a player and the player he has replaced ceases to be a player." Nevertheless, as a matter of good game management, the referee should never restart a game with a player leaving the field but not yet off. In fact, the intelligent referee should never allow any substitute to enter until the player who is leaving has completely left the field. That referee will recognize that this "extra" person, even though no longer a player, could present many problems, particularly in the area of misconduct.

As to the "offside," it is a non-issue in the scenario you present. The now former player is treated as an outside agent and thus cannot be declared offside. If the ball hits that former player or the former player otherwise interferes with play or with an opponent, the correct restart is a dropped ball from the point of impact.


IT'S "OFFSIDE," NOT "OFFSIDES"

Question:
At what point is a player determined to be involved in the play for an off sides call? The scenario both teams are in team B's zone except team A goalie and 1 player from team B. The ball is cleared by team B and is going directly to the goalie, it is clear that the goalie will get the ball before the player from team B but it will be close, And this is actually what happened. Because at the time of receipt of the ball by the team A goalie the player from team B would be interfering with the play because of his proximity to the play but not before hand, should off sides be called? Team A goalie cleared the ball back in to team B area and no call was made. Was this correct?

Answer (September 1, 2005):
Given the circumstances you describe, IF the player from team B causes the goalkeeper from team A to move toward either him or the ball in order to gain possession, the player from team B has interfered with an opponent and must be declared offside. The restart will be an indirect free kick at the place where the player from team B was when his teammate played the ball. This is true even if the player from team B was just over the halfway line and did not near the goalkeeper of team A until he reached team A's penalty area.

Referees need to remember that if it is going to be close--or even close to close--the offside must be called to prevent any collision between the two players no matter who gets to the ball first.

Strictly as a matter of information, the term used in soccer is "offside," not "offsides."


"KICKING" MEANS "KICKING"

Question:
The last line of section 13.6 of the new Advice to Referees reads:
"Stepping on top of the ball or merely tapping the ball with the foot does not constitute kicking."

I've been told that this is a misprint, but other sources claim that it is correct and it is being implemented elsewhere.

Could you please advise whether this is correct or a typographical error?

Answer (August 31, 2005):
The information in Advice to Referees 13.6 is correct. The portion you cite was changed in the 2005 edition. It should be implemented throughout the United States.
QUOTE
13.6 BALL IN PLAY
The ball is in play (able to be played by an attacker other than the kicker or by an opponent) when it has been kicked and moved. The distance to be moved is minimal and the "kick" need only be a touch of the ball with the foot in a kicking motion. Simply tapping the top of the ball with the foot or stepping on the ball are not sufficient. The referee must judge carefully whether any particular kick of the ball and subsequent movement was indeed reasonably taken with the intention of putting the ball into play rather than with the intention merely to position the ball for the restart. Referees should not penalize a kicker unfairly by calling as a restart a touch and movement of the ball which, either at the time or based on the kicker's immediately subsequent actions, was clearly not intended as such. Likewise, referees should not unfairly punish "failing to respect the required distance" when an opponent was clearly confused by a touch and movement of the ball which was not a restart.

Stepping on top of the ball or merely tapping the ball with the foot does not constitute kicking.
END OF QUOTE

What we are saying is that simply tapping the ball with the bottom of the foot or stepping on top of the ball does not constitute "kicking." For there to be "kicking," the player's foot must move in a kicking motion. If this results in only a slight movement, one that could be considered as making the ball "move," so be it. That is a kick.

While the kicking team is allowed to practice guile and attempt to fool their opponents, they must still observe the requirements of the Law and "kick" that ball.


HIGH SCHOOL QUESTION 1

Question:
Team A takes a weak rolling shot on goal against Team B keeper. Team B keeper picks up the ball with 16 seconds on game clock. Keeper punts ball from top of 18 at 12 seconds. Ref calls delay of game and stops the clock with 12 seconds left. Allows team A to set up on top of 18 for 25 seconds before blowing play live and they finally play the ball. Is this a correct time to stop the clock?

(I realize it was only 4 secs before the punt - but he called delay).

Answer (September 23, 2005):
We don't have the authority to answer high school rules questions here.

If this were a game played under the Laws of the Game, the referee would have been totally wrong in two things: stopping play for time wasting by the goalkeeper, who still had at least two seconds to spare, and for adding time (as there is no clock stoppage under the LOTG).

As for stopping the clock, high school rules allow for it (assuming the time wasting itself were valid) ONLY if the goalkeeper were being cautioned for the alleged time wasting. The clock stops for, among other things, the giving of a card regardless of the reason. Without a caution, there was no reason under high school rules to stop the clock--at least not based on what was presented in the scenario.


HIGH SCHOOL QUESTION 2

Question:
High school soccer---- Kid got a "soft" red card during a game. Team played down 1 player. Game went into overtime. Does the team continue to have to play down 1 during overtime?

Answer (September 23, 2005):
We don't have the authority to answer high school questions here, as no games played under the aegis of the U. S. Soccer Federation play those rules. There no such thing as a "soft" red card in the Laws of the Game. A player is either sent off or not.

If we were able to answer the question, we might say that since there was no requirement under high school rules to "play down" after the soft red, there is no reason why this self-imposed limitation has to last any longer than the team wants. In short, no.


PERSISTENT INFRINGEMENT

Question:
What is the correction way to apply the call of Persistent Infringement? Is it two fouls by a player a short time apart or is it a series of fouls over a prolonged period? Does game control figure into the equation? I was doing a U12 game the other day and a player from Team A was very aggressive -- on the border between fair play and fouling. He eventually committed an obvious foul and then a minute later committed another. I cautioned him for PI and his coach got all over me for it. I felt this player needed to be controlled before his play escalated into a more serious situation. Advice?

Answer (September 23, 2005):
Persistent infringement is a relative thing. A player may commit 3 or 4 fouls during a game and not be found guilty of persistent infringement. However, if that same player commits 2-3 fouls within a brief amount of time, that may well qualify. This would certainly apply to an aggressive player who commits two fouls within a minute's time.

Players may also be found guilty of persistent if they participate with their teammates in a pattern of fouls against an opponent.

Here is what the USSF publication "Advice to Referees on the Laws of the Game" has to say:
QUOTE
12.28.3 PERSISTENT INFRINGEMENT
Persistent infringement occurs either when a player repeatedly commits fouls or infringements or participates in a pattern of fouls directed against the same opponent. Persistent infringement also occurs if a player repeatedly fouls multiple opponents. It is not necessary for the multiple fouls to be of the same type or all to be direct free kick fouls, but infringements must be among those covered in Law 12 or involve repeated violations of Law 14. In most cases, the referee should warn the player that the pattern has been observed and, upon a subsequent violation, must then issue the caution. Where the referee sees a pattern of fouls directed against a single opponent, it is proper to warn the team that the pattern has been seen and then to caution the next player who continues the pattern, even if this specific player may not have previously committed a foul against this single opponent. If the pattern is quickly and blatantly established, then the warning should be omitted and the referee should take immediate action. In determining whether there is persistent infringement, all fouls are considered, including those to which advantage has been applied.

Examples of persistent infringement include a player who:

* Violates Law 14 again, having previously been warned

* Fails to start or restart play properly or promptly, having previously been warned

* If playing as a goalkeeper, wastes time, having previously been warned or penalized for this behavior
END OF QUOTE

We would suggest that the system of warning the players that a pattern has been observed be followed. Also, please remember that the concept of a "team caution" does not exist under the Laws of the Game, so you could not caution (yellow card) and then send off (red card) one player for doing the same thing for which you had just cautioned one of his teammates.

The caution for persistent infringement, if rightly understood and used, is a powerful tool. It says to the cautioned player, don't foul again because you run the risk (if it happens soon enough) of it being considered a continuation of the same pattern that got you the caution in the first place and, being a second caution, will result in your being sent off. In the case of the pattern directed against the star opponent, it says to EVERY player on the offending team that they, individually, had better not foul that opponent again because each individual player runs the risk of it being considered a continuation of the same pattern that got their teammate cautioned in the first place and they may well receive a caution for what they think is simply their first foul.

And a final word of advice: Referees should use common sense in applying any of the discretionary cautions. Do not make trouble for yourself by carding unnecessarily and just because you feel the player is acting incorrectly. Your decisions must be based in Law, not some gut feeling.


RESTART WHEN THERE ARE TOO MANY PLAYERS

Question:
I have a little confusion on the correct restart if a goal is scored by a team that is determined to have too many players on the field, after the goal is scored but before the kick-off is taken. I'm interested in knowing what the correct restarts are, and if there are in fact different restarts, if you can suggest a simple way to remember them. After all, this situation does not occur often, but the impact on a game is significant.

After cautioning and removing the extra player, the "correct" restarts I've read in various sources, (Q&A, ATR, your website, etc.) range from . . .
1) Retake PK
2) Dropped Ball at top of Goal Area
3) Goal Kick

Option #1 at least appears inconsistent. If goal is scored directly from a PK, AND it's determined there are too many players on the field prior to kick-off, AND the correct restart would be retake of PK; wouldn't it follow that the correct restart would be retake of a FK, if a goal resulted directly from that FK?

Option #2 appears consistent IF a dropped ball restart is limited to situations where the goal was actually scored by the "extra" player, (ie extra player = outside agent). However, in most amatuer and youth matches with free substitutions (ie substitutes do not submit a substitute's card to officials), it would often be difficult to identify the "extra" player. As a practical matter, one of the most recently substituted players essentially "becomes" the perpetrator. A little arbitrary in most real life cases.

Option #3 at least appears the most consistent and most practical to sell. Ball kicked over the goal line by attacking team, and since goal is dissallowed, simply restart with goal kick. (i.e. Same as if "goal" were scored directly from an IFK.)

Any guidance to what the correct restart is and under which situations, would be very helpful.

Answer (September 23, 2005):
First things first. Do not get too wrapped up in the Advice to Referees as a source--at least not this year. There were too many changes in interpretations both last year and this year (when last year's changes were changed back or changed altogether). Once the Advice hits the street it is already obsolete and any changes in the Laws for the current year likely will not be there. The Advice is an excellent source for historical precedent and for continuing matters. When there are wholesale changes made in the Laws or in the Q&A (as in 2004 and 2005), much of what is in the Advice is affected. Always go with what is in the Laws and the Q&A, unless you hear otherwise from a reliable source. The only reliable source in the United States is the U. S. Soccer Federation.

Not sure where you are getting your information, but, as of July 1, 2005, there is only one correct restart for too many players on the field of play if play has been stopped for that reason. If a player or a substitute has entered the field without the referee's permission and the referee stops play to caution that player, the correct restart is an indirect free kick, to be taken from the place where the ball was when play was stopped, keeping in mind the Special Circumstances under Law 8 for infringements within the goal area. (See Law 12, final bullet point under Indirect Free Kicks, and Law 3, Infringements/Sanctions.)


THE DELIBERATE PASS TO THE GOALKEEPER

Question:
In tonight's game, a defender passed the ball to his goalkeeper. It was very clear that was his intent on the play. What made the play difficult was he took advantage of an attacker who was returning to an onside position. He defender banked the pass off the back of the attacker's leg and the goal keeper then picked it up before the attacker could turn and make a play.

I allowed play to go on, over the protests of the opposing coach; my line of thinking was that the touch negated a the call on the pass to the keeper. I consulted the rules after the game and began to question whether the call I made was correct.

The facts of the play as I saw it were:
- The defender meant for the ball to go to the keeper
- the touch by the attacking player was completely unintentional
- the keeper picked up the ball

What should have the call been?
-Play on, no call
-IFK to the attacking team for intentionally handling a pass from a team mate

If the call is that the play was illegal, should the defender have been carded for trickery?

Answer (September 23, 2005):
As we have stated in the past, a touch by any other player of the ball deliberately kicked by a teammate to the goalkeeper removes any and all restrictions from the goalkeeper on handling the ball. It makes no difference if the ball was played afterwards either deliberately or inadvertently by any other player--who may be a teammate or an opponent.

While we are here, let's straighten out a bit of terminology. The ball deliberately kicked to one's own goalkeeper is not an illegal pass. The kicker has played according to the rules. The only "sinner," if there has to be one, is the goalkeeper who then touches the ball with the hands.


RETAKE OF PENALTY KICK

Question:
This past weekend in a U13 girls game a team was awarded a penalty kick for a hand bal. The call was correct. The referee set the ball at the spot, did not ask the goal keeper if she was set and blew the whistle. The kick was taken and missed badly. The lines man however called the goalkeeper for not having their heels on the line. The kick was retaken and was good. I have two questions: if a penalty kick is missed is it retaken even if the goalie is not set or moves? Isn't the ref supposed to ask the goalie if they are set? Thanks for the input.

Answer (September 19, 2005):
Law 14 (The Penalty Kick) tells us that before the penalty kick is taken, the referee should ensure that all players are in the proper position:
QUOTE
Position of the Ball and the Players
The ball:
- is placed on the penalty mark
The player taking the penalty kick:
- is properly identified
The defending goalkeeper:
- remains on his goal line, facing the kicker, between the goalposts until the ball has been kicked
The players other than the kicker are located:
- inside the field of play
- outside the penalty area
- behind the penalty mark
- at least 9.15 m (10 yds) from the penalty mark
The Referee
- does not signal for a penalty kick to be taken until the players have taken up position in accordance with the Law
- decides when a penalty kick has been completed
END OF QUOTE
There is absolutely NO REQUIREMENT that the referee _ask_ the goalkeeper if she is ready. She should know that her position for the penalty kick is on the goal line--not in front and not in back. However, in the end, despite the original error in not checking player positions carefully, the referee's decision was correct. Retake the kick.


CORNER FLAGS/GOAL KICKS

Question:
I have two question for you.
1. A field is using corner flags that are similar to bike flags. These are the corner flags that have the flimsy pole and usually bend instead of stand straight up. These types of flags get in the way of the player taking the corner kick. Is it legal for a player to move the flag out of the way? Is it legal for the player to hold the flag while he takes the kick so that flag is not in his way?

2. A goal kick has been taken by the team that holds a one goal lead. It is played to a teammate that is in the penalty area with the intent that the player will first touch it outside the penalty area. When the kick is taken, the opponent closes the receiver fast enough that if the receiver waits until the ball clears the box the opponent will put the receiver in a very dangerous situation at the top of the penalty area. So, he touches the ball before it leaves the penalty area so that his team can retake the goal kick. Should that player receive a caution for delay of game or unsporting behavior?

Answer (September 19, 2005):
1. One of life's little lessons is that when there is no recourse--as in this situation--we have to make do with what we have. No, the player may not move the flag out of the way. It is possible that it would be legal for the player to hold the flag while he takes the kick, as long as it is not removed from the place where it has been planted. And, depending on the actual nature of the flag posts, if they bend to such a degree that they routinely become lower than the mandatory five-foot height required by Law 1, they constitute a safety hazard for all players who are near them. The referee should not allow anything that is dangerous to the players to be part of the field.

2. If a player touches the ball before it has left the penalty area on a goal kick, the kick must be retaken. There would be no caution for any player, unless this particular ploy was repeated as part of an obvious ploy to waste time.


GAMESMANSHIP AND SUBSTITUTIONS

Question:
In a recent game, Blue team had the second half kick off. Prior to the kick, I counted the players on the field and Blue had only ten on the field. As all the players on the field were ready and no one appeared to be coming from Blue's bench, I blew the whistle and allowed play to begin. As Blue maintained possession and neared the penalty area, a Blue player left their bench and took a defender position in Blue's half of the field. Shortly thereafter, Blue scored a goal.

Blue player should have been cautioned for entering the field of play without the referee's permission. However, should play have been stopped in order to issue the card? (There was not a stoppage in play until the goal was scored.) Should the goal have been disallowed? Would the answer be different if Blue had 12 on the field and a player left the field without permission? Would the answer be different if the defending team had been shorthanded? Would the answer be different if the entering player was involved in the scoring play? Was I wrong to allow the kick off, knowing that Blue was shorthanded?

Answer (September 19, 2005):
Technically, the team was not shorthanded, as their "missing" player had simply neglected to enter the field prior to the beginning of the second half. Nevertheless the player required your permission to enter once the half had begun.

Your first mistake was a failure to be proactive by not asking why there were only ten players present for the kick-off. Referees should prevent or solve problems, not create them. Your second mistake was not acknowledging the player's presence when you saw that he/she had entered the field, remarking that you would speak to him/her at the next stoppage--meaning that you would be issuing a caution for entering the field without your permission. There is no need to stop play to issue a caution in this situation; simply apply the advantage and deal with the matter at the next stoppage.. Again, we seek to prevent problems before they occur. Because you did not prevent the problem, you are stuck with it.

Nor is there any need to cancel the goal. Simply score the goal and restart with a kick-off. It might be a different story if the Blue player had contributed to the goal, but this was apparently not the case. But since the Blue player did not contribute to the goal, there is no real need to caution that player--why create unnecessary problems!

As to your further questions: (1) If the Blue team had 12 players on the field and 1 left before the goal, you would likely take no action--create no unnecessary problems! At worst, you might caution the player, but you would be unlikely to gain anything from this. (2) If the defending team had been shorthanded, you would likely take no action. What would it gain you? (3) if the entering player had been involved in the goal, the answer would be the same as for the original scenario. (4) This was already answered with an emphatic YES. It is not against the Laws for a team to start the half shorthanded, but the proactive referee will ensure that the team is aware of its mistake before anything else needs to be done.


MORE ON "KICKING" THE BALL

Question:
The last line of section 13.6 of the new Advice to Referees reads:
"Stepping on top of the ball or merely tapping the ball with the foot does not constitute kicking."

I've been told that this is a misprint, but other sources claim that it is correct and it is being implemented elsewhere. Could you please advise whether this is correct or a typographical error?

Answer (September 15, 2005):
In an answer dated August 31, 2005, we stated:
The information in Advice to Referees 13.6 is correct. The portion you cite was changed in the 2005 edition. It should be implemented throughout the United States.
QUOTE
13.6 BALL IN PLAY

The ball is in play (able to be played by an attacker other than the kicker or by an opponent) when it has been kicked and moved. The distance to be moved is minimal and the "kick" need only be a touch of the ball with the foot in a kicking motion. Simply tapping the top of the ball with the foot or stepping on the ball are not sufficient. The referee must judge carefully whether any particular kick of the ball and subsequent movement was indeed reasonably taken with the intention of putting the ball into play rather than with the intention merely to position the ball for the restart. Referees should not penalize a kicker unfairly by calling as a restart a touch and movement of the ball which, either at the time or based on the kicker's immediately subsequent actions, was clearly not intended as such. Likewise, referees should not unfairly punish "failing to respect the required distance" when an opponent was clearly confused by a touch and movement of the ball which was not a restart.

Stepping on top of the ball or merely tapping the ball with the foot does not constitute kicking.
END OF QUOTE

What we are saying is that simply tapping the ball with the bottom of the foot or stepping on top of the ball does not constitute "kicking." For there to be "kicking," the player's foot must move in a kicking motion. If this results in only a slight movement, one that could be considered as making the ball "move," so be it. That is a kick.

While the kicking team is allowed to practice guile and attempt to fool their opponents, they must still observe the requirements of the Law and "kick" that ball.

To that answer we must add:
What may yet be unclear is what a "kicking motion" is. It would be the same motion as used in any normal free kick, not a dainty foot placed on top of the ball. It doesn't have to be forceful, but it must look as if the player is kicking the ball, not resting his or her foot on top of it.


VIOLENT CONDUCT/DELIBERATE KICK TO THE GOALKEEPER

Question:
I have two separate questions.
1. GK and attacker come together as a result of both making a fair effort for the ball. While the GK is down he elbows the attacker who then knees the GK in the back. Both players are sent off as a result of their actions. My question is what is the proper restart procedure. I say a PK since the first foul was commited by the GK in the box, others have disagreed saying the attackers foul cancels out the other foul and an indireck kick is awarded to the GK's team.

2. If a GK intentionally plays a ball played back to him by a team mate( foot pass). Where is the indireck FK taken from? The spot where the ball was played from or the spot where the GK picks it up? Thanks.

Answer (September 15, 2005):
1. After sending off both players for violent conduct (not serious foul play, as they were no longer competing for the ball), the referee should restart with a penalty kick for the attacker's team.

2. The indirect free kick would be taken from the place where the goalkeeper handles the ball, bearing in mind the special circumstances described in Law 8 regarding the goal area.


GAMESMANSHIP AND USING TIME

Question:
Delay of Game. I was the C on a local adult Mexican game. One of the teams began from the middle of the first half, after taking the lead, resorted to when they kicked the ball out, to blasting it out, far from the field of play. The spare game balls, sometimes were far from the goal as well..no ball holders etc.

I verbally warned the team..added time for half time,spoke to the captain of the team at half time.I told him I was aware of what was happening, and I would caution and or add on time if this continues in a excessive way. As the 2cnd half continued, and they maintained there lead, this began to begin again , and they started to take the time at the goal kicks. Three quarters of the way through, I warned one playe who was blasting the ball, kickin git out repeatedly..after twice doing this, I carded him.Yellow. I added on time at the end of the game.

Question...delays the restart of the game is not appropriate as it was a a live ball when the ball was repeatedly kickedout. Unsportsmanlike conduct Š appropriate Š yes in my opinion as he was warned Š it was excessive, and against the spirit of the game,

So advice on this situation would be appropriate.

What Yellow caution did I give him??? yes I made a error in calling it a delay of restart...I believe it can be under a yellow UC.

Answer (September 14, 2005):
Kicking the ball out of play is not an infringement of the Laws of the Game. The only provision under the Laws regarding that sort of time wasting is that the time lost shall be added to the period of play. Unfortunately, adding time for kicking the ball out of play may not be an available alternative in some tournament situations and, at other times, simply results in more time being available to kick the ball hard off the field.

Timewasting tactics at restarts are another matter. These acts can be dealt with through a caution for delaying the restart or for unsporting behavior, whichever is applicable.


THOSE NAUGHTY COACHES!

Question:
This happened at a recent game: At the half, Coach A took his team away from the field to "discuss" their play in the first period. He was not happy with his team's performance and started to berate them. During his tirade, he dropped the F-bomb several times. As an AR, I looked to the CR for direction and he said that the coach was only trying to motivate his team and that he would not intervene. I know that the coach was heard by spectators and the other team -- even though he removed himself from the proximity of the field. I thought the coach needed to be approached and asked to control his language. How should this situation have been handled?

Answer (September 14, 2005):
The Laws of the Game require that the team officials behave responsibly. If they do not, they may be expelled from the field of play and its environs. Your act as assistant referee was a good one. The referee should approach the coach and ask that all language be kept within normal bounds and not cross the line into words that are offensive or insulting or abusive. If this does not work, then the referee should expel the coach for irresponsible behavior and include full details of the entire incident in the match report.

A further option for you is to indicate to the assignor your wish not to be part of that referee's officiating team in the future.


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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