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November 2006 Archive (I of I)


WHEN RULES OF COMPETITION CONFLICT WITH THE REAL WORLD

Question:
I just finished the recently released playoff rules for our upcoming league playoff games. I am concerned about the method of determining a winner in the championship game. I have pasted the rule below directly from the website.

1. Final games tied at the end of regulation play two full ten minute overtimes switching goals at the end of the first period of overtime. NO SUDDEN DEATH/GOLDEN GOAL.
2. Final games tied at the end of the two overtime periods will play two five minute overtime periods with the regulation number of players on the field. NO SUDDEN DEATH/GOLDEN GOAL. During these overtime periods - ALL PLAYERS ARE FIELD PLAYERS - NO player (goalkeeper) may use their hands. The exception to the "No Hands Rule" is in the event of a violation resulting in a penalty shot, a player may be designated as the goalkeeper and may use his hands during the penalty shot only If there is no score on the penalty shot, play will continue without the use of hands.
3. Final games tied at the end of the two five minute "No Hands" overtime period will result in co-champions.

I am of the opinion that this No Keeper/No Hands rule violates the Laws of the Game, as it is required that one player from each team be designated as a goalie. I have decided that if asked, I will turn down any assignment to call a game that is to be played under these rules.

My question is, am I correct that this rule is contrary to the Laws of the Game? If so can a referee be disciplined by the USSF for calling a game like this? Can the league be disciplined for instituting this rule? The league is associated with the USSF through US Youth Soccer.

Answer (November 7, 2006):
A referee cannot be disciplined for refereeing a game in accordance with the rules of the competition. Simply report the matter to the state association and then forget about it. It is up to the state association to make sure its leagues and tournaments are conducted in accordance with FIFA Laws of the Game. As you point out, the Laws state that each team MUST have a goalkeeper. It's always possible that this decision by the USYS has not made its way down to the local tournaments yet

 


BRINGING THE GAME INTO DISREPUTE; ABUSE BY COACHES

Question:
As part of my referee training, I have been taught that, particularly in youth soccer, I can consider sanctioning a coach if he is abusive to his players, by words or actions.

But can a player be considered to bring the game into disrepute for being abusive to their coach?

I recently reffed a U12B select game. The coach did a fair amount of criticizing and lamenting the actions of his players, but nothing that I considered even close to excessive, and none of the players seem to be seriously affected by his words. One player, however, eventually had enough of his coach's constant criticism of him, and told the coach to "shut up".

After my initial thought of mild amusement at the irony of a player giving the coach a little of what he was getting, I began to contemplate whether the player can bring the game into disrepute in this manner, and if so, what level of words or actions would be required to consider sanction?

Answer (October 31, 2006):
The intelligent referee will generally disregard coaching comments, unless they become openly disrespectful of the game and of the referee. In that case, an admonition to the coach is in order, noting that if this activity continues, the coach will be expelled for irresponsible behavior-- an offense for which the referee may expel the coach or any other team official in the team area. (No cards to be shown, unless the rules of the competition permit or require it.)

When coaches begin to abuse their players, this is irresponsible behavior and the referee must act immediately.

Proactive steps such as the admonition of the coach will usually prevent players who become disgusted with their coach's behavior from acting out and thus becoming subject to punishment themselves.

If the player does in fact act as you described, this is at least in part because you did not do your job correctly. However, if the language was abusive, rather than simply unsporting behavior, the only thing to do is to send the player off for using offensive or insulting or abusive language and/or gestures.

As to what bringing the game into disrepute means in the normal course of the game, this answer of September 7, 2006, should give you all the information you need: "Bringing the game into disrepute " means doing something that is totally counter the spirit of the game, which is meant to be played fairly and in a sporting manner. Such acts show a lack of respect for the game, e. g., aggressive attitude, inflammatory behavior, deliberately kicking the ball into one's own goal or taunting.

 


PROPER POSITIONING

Question:
This question is related to what is the proper position for a center referee during active play. I have looked at the Power Point presentation and re-read the Guide to Procedures that are available on the website and don't see advice for the exact scenario I am concerned with. The item that is closest to the situation is a throw-in by the attacking team on the AR's side of the field. This issue came up during a U-19 Boys match. The coach of the attacking team thought his attacker was fouled, and was very adamant I was not in the proper position to see the foul. The apparent foul occurred with-in a few yards of the AR, and the AR did not believe a foul occurred. The attacker did have an ankle injury during the play, and when play was stopped for the injury the coach was very vocal in his displeasure with my position during the play, and the lack of a call.

The scenario is the attacker has the ball near the touch-line on the AR's side of the field, moving towards the end-line, about 20 yards from the end-line with a single defender. The other players are in the area of the penalty box, or are trailing the play by 20 or more yards. I was trailing the play by 4 or 5 yards, on the back side of the goal so I could keep the play, the players in the penalty area, and my AR all in view, as well as avoid being in the way of the play. I believe this is the proper position for the situation, but am willing to be told otherwise, as this position is a fair distance from where the ball was.

Answer (October 31, 2006):
Lesson the First: Coaches are in the game solely to promote only one thing, the interests of themselves and their team. Put little credence in their complaints.

Lesson the Second: If the referee didn't see it and the assistant referee didn't see it (or the fourth official, if one is assigned), it didn't happen, no matter how much the coach or anyone else may complain.

Lesson the Third: As to positioning,remember the "Magic Formula" described in the PowerPoint presentation, x = a + b + c. It is there for a purpose, to show you where to be and when and why to be there.

Lesson the Fourth: No matter how thoughtful the position, things can still happen on the field that we (all officials) will miss--live with it. Our job in positioning is to OPTIMIZE (not guarantee) the likelihood that we will see what needs to be seen. If you want guarantees, go into something more certain--like options trading.

Lesson the Fifth: When the ball is being played on the far touchline, it would be appropriate to be more to the center of the field based on what you say your position was. You were too far away from play. You must be in the position you need to be in to get the call right.

 


WHERE THE THROWER MAY STAND AT A THROW-IN

Question:
Is there a distance requirement on how far back from the touch line a thrower may throw the ball in? For instance may a thrower throw the ball in from 10 yards back from the touch line at a point perpendicular to the spot where the ball went out?

Answer (October 31, 2006):
The correct answer will be found in the Advice to Referees:
15.1 LOCATION OF THROW-IN
Although the throw-in is to be taken "from the point where [the ball] crossed the touch line," this requirement is satisfied if the restart occurs within approximately one yard (one meter) of this location, farther upfield or downfield or back from the touch line. A throw-in taken beyond this limit is an infringement of Law 15.

 


SEQUENCE FOR ISSUING CARDS

Question:
A question came up in a game about the proper sequence in the order of issuing cards and I can't find the immediate answer in the guide of officals etc.
The question is: Is it proper to issue an ejection first then a caution to the second player in an incident? The incident Player A Team A elbowed to the face player B Team B. Player B retaliated with a push to player A. Please advise.

Answer (October 31, 2006):
You first issue the card that is most needed to defuse the situation and prevent further escalation. In the absence of a need to defuse a tense situation, the normal order is to issue a card first to the player who committed the first misconduct and to follow in the order in which the misconduct behaviors occurred. You then record both or issue one and record, issue the second and record.

 


USING CLUB LINESMEN AND MOVING ASSISTANTS DURING THE GAME

Question:
Your question:
I was doing the center and one of my AR's decided to cancel on a short notice. In any case I had to use the club line for two games. First game, it went fine (it was G13), second game (G14) one of the clubs was doing offside trap, and I decided to switch sides of AR and club linesman after the half, so my AR would be on the side where defense ran the trap (to make my life easier). Coach of the other team, of course, went against it (explaining that by doing this I would give advantage to another team), and I never went with the switch.

Now my question is: can I switch positions of my AR's after the half or not??

Answer (October 31, 2006):
Yes, you may switch the positions of the assistant referees at any time you wish. However, the club linesman is not an AR and should not be treated as such.

If you wish to dispense with the club linesman and make more use of the neutral AR, that is fine. Then put that AR on the side you wish covered best and orient yourself to cover the rest of the field. You are the only one who can use a whistle.

 


KEEPING TRACK OF PERSISTENT INFRINGEMENT

Question:
I'm a Grade 8 ref who does mostly 12-16 yr old games. When I do the center, how do you recommend I keep track of the player who fouls repeatedly? I've started writing down the fouling player's number. What do you think? Do most grade 8 refs let this go at these age levels? One instructor at a local training session said he never cards under age 13.

Answer (October 31, 2006):
Writing down the number is good, but do not delay the game to do this. That is why it is important to learn to keep it in your head. Many referees are lax in punishing persistent infringement, and this gets them into trouble during the game.

A referee who never cards under age 13 is unlikely to be successful at those levels. Nor is that official making the work easier for the referee who follows him or her. Neither is the referee who "doesn't card under 13" honoring his or her duty to protect the safety, fairness, and enjoyment of the players. Based on age of players, the issue is not WHETHER to card but HOW to card--the technique for carding young players can differ significantly from how it is done at older age levels.

it is good to write down the numbers you should clarify that the referee should not delay the game to do this, which is why it is important to learn to keep the information in your head.

 


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.

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

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