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April 2003 Archive (Part II of II)


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


TRIFLING INFRINGEMENTS

Question:
Situation 1: In a competetive U11 boys game, the goalkeeper caught an incoming shot and controlled it in his hands. While running out toward the edge of his penalty area to release the ball, he accidentally dropped the ball. It rolled a few feet, but he immediately picked the ball back up in his hands and then released it up the field, while remaining inside the PA throughout. There was no challenge for the ball from the opposing team while it was on the ground (not that it matters). It was clearly an accidental release of the ball by the goalkeeper, but it also was clearly not still in his possession, as if he were dribbling the ball. I was the center referee and I let play continue. But I wondered whether this should have been called an indirect free kick for the opposing team, because the gk released the ball and then re-handled it? I have read other opinions that indicate an accidental drop and immediate retrieval don't constitute the actual "release" of the ball by the goalkeeper, but I would very much like the USSF opinion.

Situation 2: In a U14 boys game, the goalkeeper received a ball in his hands and was ready to release it. However, he noticed some problem with his uniform; he might have been tightening or re-fastening his gloves. Without any permission or acknowledgement from the referee, he set the ball down at his feet (in the penalty area), and proceeded to fix his uniform problem, which took him just a few seconds. There was no challenge for the ball by the opposing team. He then picked the ball back up and proceeded to release it back into play. I was the upfield assistant referee. Neither the center referee or nearest assistant made any call. They may have felt it was within the "spirit of the game" to let the play continue without call, and the goalkeeper was obviously very inexperienced. However, shouldn't the correct call be that the goalkeeper re-handled the ball after releasing it, and an indirect free kick should have been awarded to the opposing team?

Answer (April 30, 2003):
It's re-education time for all referees: Was there an offense? Yes. Could it have been called? Yes? Should it be called if, in the opinion of the referee, the infraction was doubtful or trifling? No. All three answers are "by the book."

The intelligent referee's action: If the goalkeeper's actions had no obvious effect on play and were accepted by both teams, consider the infringement to have been trifling and let it go. If it was not trifling, punish it.


OFFSIDE AT CORNER KICK?

Question:
Is it possible to be offside on a corner kick?

Answer (April 30, 2003):
No.


GOALKEEPER DENIES OBVIOUS GOALSCORING OPPORTUNITY

Question:
Please help me get closure on an issue that has been on more than one forum. You have answered related issues in previous responses to DOGSO-H and "passback" questions, but there continues to be disagreement about the particular elements of this question.

Player A with the ball in the center of her own half of the field is pressured by a defender. Player A kicks the ball in the direction of her keeper. The kicked pass from the player is headed toward goal and not directly at the keeper. The keeper, who is clearly outside the penalty area, dives and catches the ball with her hands while still clearly outside the penalty area. If, in the opinion of the referee, the kicked ball would have continued into goal, has the keeper denied a goal and committed a sending-off offense as described in 12.36 of the Advice to Referees?

(Leaving aside the additional factors of how one might call a U11 recreational game or how an intelligent referee might choose to form an opinion to best manage a particular adult game, what is the proper call?)

Answer (April 30, 2003):
Bowing to your wishes and leaving aside all the other possible factors and sticking strictly to the opinion of the referee (as stated in your scenario), the goalkeeper -- knowing exactly what she was doing -- has denied the opposing team a goal or an obvious goalscoring opportunity and must be sent off and shown the red card. (And because she knew what she was doing, it makes little difference what the level of the game.)


LEAVING THE FIELD TO INTERFERE WITH THE GOALKEEPER

Question:
I had an interesting call that I had in the game on Saturday. But I issued a yellow card against a red player on a corner kick, and I am not sure of the correct ruling. It is the first time I have ever run into this, and I did not know the correct call. One of those calls that you know something is not right, or does not seem right, but not sure.

Corner kick by red. Set play that they run. AR brought it to my attention at half time. Red sets up a player behind the goalie. Goalie is standing on the end-line inside the goal area. As the kick is being taken, player runs off the field, into the goal area, and back in front of the goalie. I called the red player for leaving the field of play without my permission, and issued a yellow card. Of course the red coach said that was wrong, and they have been doing this set play forever. I could see it if the goalie was up a yard or so, and the player was trying to get to the ball. But this was happening as the kick was being taken. Almost seems to me to be a deception play in a way, and yet, what is wrong with it? Just did not feel right. What is your take on it? 12 years of doing this, and run into something new (again).

Answer (April 30, 2003):
In situations like this, the referee must wait until the ball has been kicked to see what happens. If the player who is posting on the goalkeeper is attempting to play the ball, his tactics are legitimate. On the other hand, if he is attempting to interfere with the goalkeeper's ability to play the ball, his tactics are not legitimate. In addition, he has left the field of play without the referee's permission and could be cautioned and shown the yellow card at the referee's discretion.

The referee must exercise common sense.


WORLD'S OLDEST SOCCER TRICK REVISITED

Question:
I know this may seem odd and far out, but I'm really curious as to the answer to this. If a goalie caught the ball, tucked it into his jersey and sprinted up field into the other goal, would the goal count? He is not touching the ball with his hands in any way after he tucked the ball in his jersey.

Answer (April 30, 2003):
No, the goal would not count. This act would be regarded as unsporting behavior. The goalkeeper would be cautioned and shown the yellow card. The restart would be an indirect free kick for the opposing team from the place where the goalkeeper tucked the ball into his jersey.


WAIT FOR THE REFEREE'S WHISTLE

Question:
Situation; A kick on goal. Attacker requests 10 yards. Referee tells attacker to wait for his signal. Attacker kicks without signal from referee.

  1. The ball sails over the goal and out of touch.
  2. The ball goes into the goal.

What is the restart for both 1 and 2?

Answer (April 30, 2003):
The game was not restarted properly. The game must be restarted with the free kick.


LIFTING THE SHIRT

Question:
My friend was thrown out of a game after previously receiving a caution card and then later in the game he scored a goal and he lifted his shirt up and over his head, is this deserving of a 2nd yellow card?

Answer (April 30, 2003):
If the referee believed that your friend was taunting or denigrating the opposing team by lifting his shirt up and over his head, or had a political message concealed beneath the shirt, then yes, the act deserved a caution/yellow card for unsporting behavior.


GETTING UP TO STRENGTH

Question:
I was coaching a youth soccer game, 10 and 11 year old boys. My team only had 7 players to start the game. The game was stopped for a throw in for the opposing team who was playing with a full team (11 players). At this time I was wanting to add a player, that showed up late, to the field of play .I was told that I could not do this at this time and I have to wait until my team has possession of a out of bounce ball like a throw in, goal kick, corner kick etc. Please advise on this situation. Again I was not substituting but only wanting to add a player because we played short, and the play was stopped.

Answer (April 30, 2003):
Your referee was wrong. When a team is playing shorthanded for any reason other than having had one of its players sent off, that team may add a player at any stoppage. The player's equipment must be inspected by the referee or an assistant referee or the fourth official and any player pass or other paperwork must be taken care of before the player can enter the game.


JEWELRY -- PLEASE READ AND REMEMBER!

Question:
What is the interpretation of the words in Law 4: "including any kind of jewelry"?

I am a State Emeritus Referee and work various levels of competition. In adult competition, players frequently want to wear their smooth wedding bands. Some women want to wear small earrings. I generally disallow all jewelry and quote Law 4. The players say only dangerous jewelry is prohibited, and they often talk about the jewelry professional players seem to get away with wearing. The players ask whether they may play if the jewelry is taped over.

The quoted phrase would seem to ban all jewelry--taped or nor--which would certainly make my life easier. I would like to know if there has been any ruling or interpretation on this issue (besides the medical or religious medals issue, which is not on point). I would also like to pass along the information to our association so that there is uniformity in the application of the rule.

Answer (April 30, 2003):
This question was answered in the May 2001 issue of Fair Play:

    Law 4 and Jewelry
    Law 4 of FIFA's Laws of the Game states that "a player must not use equipment or wear anything which is dangerous to himself or another player (including any kind of jewelry)."

    The following items worn by players are considered dangerous and will not be allowed:
    a) jewelry (including watches) worn on the wrist
    b) rings with crowns or projections
    c) jewelry worn along the upper or lower arm
    d) earrings of any sort
    e) tongue studs
    f) any visible body piercing
    The match referee remains the sole authority regarding the danger of anything worn by a player in a specific game. Referees must enforce these guidelines strictly.

As to professional players wearing jewelry, please see the USSF position paper on "Law 4, Players' Equipment (Jewelry)," dated March 17, 2003, available for download on this and other sites.

The U.S. Soccer Federation cannot make new Laws or change the existing ones. We referees are expected to exercise common sense in enforcing the existing Laws. Referees have the guidelines: It is up to them to enforce them until we receive further guidance from FIFA.


ALL THINGS BRIGHT AND BEAUTIFUL ...

Question:
Can you get a red card because you have a angry face when you make a foul not worthy of a yellow?

Answer (April 30, 2003):
Anything is possible in this wonderful world of ours.


KEEPING TIME/THROW-IN QUESTIONS

Question:

  1. U11 boys game. Injury on the field towards the end of the game. The referee adds extra time because of the injury. In the last couple of seconds of extra time one of the away team players scores a goal and is celebrating as this is the winning goal. After the celebrating the referee looks at his watch and declares no goal as the game had ended. Since there was no game ending whistle, is this a legitimate call?
  2. Weather is rainy and the ball is very slippery. U11B throws the ball in but because it's so slippery the ball slips out early in the throw and lands on the field directly in front of the player. The ball had entered the field of play and the thrower had completed the correct throwing motion except for the fact that the ball was released behind the head. Is this a valid throw?
  3. U16B runs up to take a throw-in. In the process of the run he gains an extra 10 yards. Should the referee require a re-throw or should the ball be turned over to the other team for the throw-in.

Answer (April 29, 2003):

  1. Law 5 empowers the referee to act as timekeeper and to keep a record of the match. Law 7 instructs the referee to add time (at his discretion) for time lost in either half of a game or in any overtime period for the reasons listed in Law 7 (Allowance for Time Lost). The amount of time is not specified, but the referee must use discretion and common sense here, as in all other elements of game management. In this case, the referee showed a distinct lack of common sense in failing to keep better track of time and not allowing the goal, but there is little the players can do about it -- other than reporting the facts to the referee's assignor and state referee administrator.
  2. If the ball was not released according to the requirements of Law 15 -- from behind and over his head -- then the throw was not correctly taken and the throw-in is taken by a player of the opposing team.
  3. Throw-in for the opposing team from the place where the ball originally left the field.


GOALKEEPER HANDLING THE BALL

Question:
Can a goalie dribble the ball into his penalty area and pick the ball up? The ball was last touched by an opposing player.

I was doing a young boy's game where a goalie punted the ball straight up in the air and caught the ball. The ball was not touched by an opposing player and it did not touch the ground. Is there an infraction?

Answer (April 29, 2003):
Given the scenarios you posit, the answer is yes for both questions.

A caveat on the first question: This applies only if the ball was not played by a teammate. And a caveat on the second question: This might be considered trifling in younger age groups.


REFEREE-ASSISTANT REFEREE CONSULTATION

Question:
During a corner kick, an opposing team player grabs the goalie and prevents him from reaching an air ball, and consequently a goal is scored. The referee misses the infraction but the linesman does see it...Can the linesman lift the flag and consult with the referee about the infraction? Can the scoring call be recalled?

Wishing for better officiating...

Answer (April 29, 2003):
"Linesmen" are now called assistant referees.

Law 6 indicates that one of the duties of the assistant referee is to signal when a violation of the Law occurs out of the view of the referee. USSF training of assistant referees emphasizes, however, that they should not signal at all for fouls or misconduct that clearly occur in the sight of the referee, that are doubtful or trifling, or for which the referee would likely have applied advantage. Such events can be brought to the attention of the referee at a stoppage of play.

As for the goal, if the game has not been restarted since the goal was scored, the goal may be nullified. If the game has been restarted, then the goal may not be nullified.

Wishing for more knowledgeable players, coaches, and spectators ...


PARTICIPATING AFTER REMOVING ONESELF FROM INVOLVEMENT

Question:
A player in an offside position "gives himself up" (holds up his hands and makes no attempt to play the ball) as the ball rolls past him. A defender runs past the player chasing down the ball. He catches the ball a few yards past the offside player and turns upfield dribbling it.

The question: Can the player that gave himself up, now attempt to tackle the ball away from the defender? If not, when would he be allowed to "get back in the game"?

Answer (April 29, 2003):
While it is true that a player who is in an offside position at the moment the ball is played by a teammate can become "onside" if an opponent intentionally plays or gains possession of the ball, that might not be true in this case. If that same player had clearly shown the referee that he was not interfering with play, but then became immediately involved in the play when the opposing player took possession, the referee should punish the involvement. Although the referee might consider that the original move to show non-involvement had a tactical aim or was in some way a feint, it is more likely that the player probably did not realize that he was infringing the Law. The referee must use common sense.


RESTART AFTER SUBSTITUTION

Question:
Recently, a couple of members of our area referees association [in another national association] have been having quite a debate over the substitution procedure. The question is simply, "Should the referee allow the individual entering the field of play to assume his or her position on the field before play is restarted?"

Though the laws state that the substitution is completed when a substitute enters the field of play, it would seem that in the interest of "the good of the game", the referee should hold the restart to allow the new player to assume his / her position.

Your comments would be greatly appreciated to provide some insight on this matter.

Answer (April 29, 2003):
Caveat: The U. S. Soccer Federation cannot presume to instruct referees from other national association on how to manage the game as played in their country. The following answer would apply to games played under the auspices of U. S. Soccer.

If the player coming out is a goalkeeper, the referee will normally allow a replacement goalkeeper to reach a reasonable playing position before restarting the game. For all other players, the intelligent referee -- remembering that two of his ultimate goals are fairness and enjoyment for the players -- will wait until the entering player is at least in the general area of his team, but it is not necessary to wait for the entering player to assume the exact position on the field occupied by the player he replaced.


REFEREE CODE OF ETHICS

Question:
In none of the various Referee Code of Ethics, have I seen any reference to the safety of the players. Can this be correct?

The Coaches Code of Ethics makes this the number 1 item. It seems odd that your number 1 item is "Play to Win", while the safety of the players does not require any mention. Could this be why many referees seem to be more concerned with out of bounds calls rather than the safety of the players?

Answer (April 28, 2003):
There are not "various" referees codes of ethics, there is only one Referee Code of Ethics. You can find it in the Referee Administrative Handbook. It deals with overall referee conduct, not with specifics of game management:

Code of Ethics for Referees

  1. I will always maintain the utmost respect for the game of soccer.
  2. I will conduct myself honorably at all times and maintain the dignity of my position.
  3. I will always honor an assignment or any other contractual obligation.
  4. I will attend training meetings and clinics so as to know the Laws of the Game, their proper interpretation and their application.
  5. I will always strive to achieve maximum team work with my fellow officials.
  6. I will be loyal to my fellow officials and never knowingly promote criticism of them.
  7. I will be in good physical condition.
  8. I will control the players effectively by being courteous and considerate without sacrificing fairness.
  9. I will do my utmost to assist my fellow officials to better themselves and their work.
  10. I will not make statements about any games except to clarify an interpretation of the Laws of the Game.
  11. I will not discriminate against nor take undue advantage of any individual group on the basis of race, color, religion, sex or national origin.
  12. I consider it a privilege to be a part of the United States Soccer Federation and my actions will reflect credit upon that organization and its affiliates.

The referee's concern with player safety is part of the Laws he or she must enforce. Law 5 instructs the referee on his or her powers and duties. Among them is the duty to ensure that player equipment meets the stringent requirements of Law 4 for player safety. Another duty involves dealing with injured players.

Coaches have no such instructions. Their only duty under the Laws is to behave responsibly.


RUNNING THE LEFT DIAGONAL (AND COMMON COURTESY)

Question:
I was working this weekend and overheard some coaches commenting about the right diagonal vs. a left diagonal. The state has a new position on this. Where can I find this on the web site?

Answer (April 28, 2003):
Picture the field as a drawing on the wall. The left diagonal is when the pattern the referee runs goes essentially from bottom right to top left. The right diagonal goes from bottom left to top right.

There is no USSF requirement that the referee must run one diagonal the first half and the other in the second half -- although having the flexibility to run either diagonal is a good idea. The USSF Guide to Procedures for Referees, Assistant Referees and Fourth Officials states that the choice of diagonals and the degree of flexibility is at the referee's discretion.

Most referees run the left diagonal almost exclusively and most assistant referees are familiar only with the left diagonal. The referee who changes diagonals because of field conditions or to better observe play in a certain area of the field must take care to determine that the assistant referees know how to do it before asking them to learn a new skill while on the job -- to the possible detriment of the game that might be caused through confusion and lack of experience.


TEAM REFUSES TO PLAY

Question:
At the time for the match to begin, there is considerable standing water along both touch lines extending into the field. As the referee, you still think the field is playable. May one coach refuse to play?

Answer (April 28, 2003):
The coach may refuse to let his team play. It is not the referee's place to argue the point. The referee simply notes this in the match report to the competition authority.


PLAYER OUT, NO SUBSTITUTE IN

Question:
I have a question regarding an earlier question dealing with player off-no sub in..

If for some reason the team elects to play short - sub is requested and granted. Player "A" leaves field with permission, coach indicates no replacement will play with 10. Am I correct that this is allowed?

Is the player who left still considered a player, not a sub? Does that mean he could re-enter, with permission, at some later time? Could different player enter, with permission, at later time?

What would be procedure for "A" to re-enter or for "B" to complete substitution - Any time, with permission, or only at stoppage?

While "A" is in the limbo situation, if he received a 2nd caution or direct dismissal does the team play short or can a sub be sent in.

As I read you answer I believe "A" would be considered a player, albeit off the field, until "B" enters the game, with permission. So a dismissal of "A" would be considered dismissal of player - not of sub - Team plays short.

Answer (April 28, 2003):
Your belief is correct. As long as the player has left with the referee's permission and has not been replaced by a substitute, he may return to the game as a player. And yes, a dismissal of "A" would be considered a dismissal of the player, not of a substitute, and the team would play short.


SUSPENDED, ABANDONED, TERMINATED GAME

Question:
I know that the answer to this question may be dependent on the Rules of Competition for the particular sanctioning organization, but...

Does the USSF have a policy for determining when a match has been "played" in the case of an abandoned match? Does it matter why the game was suspended? I can think of the following reasons why a game would be abandoned:

  • Threatening weather
  • Unsafe field conditions
  • Violence
  • Damaged equipment

How long does the match have to be underway before it is considered to have been "played"?

Answer (April 28, 2003):
Your intuition is correct, the status of an abandoned game is determined by the rules of the competition or the competition authority itself. There is no set amount of time, but many rules of competition will call a game complete if a full half has been played.

In the absence of a competition authority rule on this, the Laws of the Game would apply -- meaning that the game must be played in its entirety and, if terminated or abandoned prior to this time, the game must be replayed as though the earlier effort had not occurred (i.e., it is not resumed from the stopping point).

"Suspended" means that a match was stopped temporarily for any of the reasons you cite. After that the match is either resumed, abandoned, or terminated and the competition rules take over.


WHAT'S MY LINE?

Question:
On a throw-in, is the ball in play when it starts to cross the outside of the touch line or when it completely crosses the inside of the touch line? I have heard both. Is the ball considered in play whether the player taking the throw in has released it or not? Do you need to look for a hand ball in this case? When the ball crosses the touch line on the way out it must completely cross the outside of the line. I was told the ball needs to completely cross the inside of the touch line to be in play. On a goal kick, does the ball need to completely cross the outside of the penalty box line to be in play?

Answer (April 28, 2003):
At a throw-in the ball is in play once it has crossed the outside of the touchline AND has been released by the thrower. (Even if the Law allowed it, which it does not, who would turn a simple matter of restarting the game into a federal offense by calling deliberate handling?)

Law 9 tells us that the ball is out of play when it has wholly crossed the touchline whether on the ground or in the air.

Law 16 tells us that the ball is in play when it is kicked directly beyond the penalty area. That means it must be completely beyond the line demarcating the penalty area.


OFFSIDE

Question:
Most of us would agree that an attacking player is offside if the goalkeeper saves an attacking teammate's shot on goal and the ball deflects to the attacker who was in an offside position at the time of the shot. The attacking player is in an offside position at the moment a teammate played the ball, and the attacking player became involved in play by gaining an advantage from being in that position.

Most of us would also agree that an attacking player is offside if a teammate passes the ball to the player in an offside position but the ball deflects off a defender who did not attempt to play the ball. Again, the attacking player is in an offside position at the moment a teammate played the ball, and the attacking player became involved in play by gaining an advantage from being in that position.

My question: Is an attacking player offside if the last defender (not the goal keeper) makes a great sliding save with his foot but kicks the ball directly to the attacker who was in an offside position at the moment the attacker's teammate took the shot? Assume that the defender played the ball with his foot as well as a goalkeeper would have played it with his hands. He couldn't gain control of it, but he played the ball deliberately; as luck would have it, the ball deflected directly to the opponent in an offside position.

Answer (April 28, 2003):
The referee's job here is to decide if the player, whether goalkeeper or other defender, controlled and established possession of the ball. If not, the ball was not "played" but simply deflected and therefore the offside must be given, regardless of what the defender used in making contact with the ball. The only difference between a goalkeeper and a teammate in this issue is that the 'keeper can legally use his hands within his own penalty area.

And now a question in return: Why would anyone not agree completely with a decision for offside in the first two situations?


PROPERLY-TAKEN KICK-OFF

Question:
WHAT IF? ...During a kick off, the player moves the ball forward, and, without breaking contact with the ball, rolls it backward to one of his teammates. Is an IFK awarded? Was it KICKED?

Answer (April 28, 2003):
We know from Law 8 that the ball is in play when it is kicked and moves forward. Moving the ball forward without releasing it is not kicking. Because the ball was not put in play, the kick-off was incomplete. The kick-off must be retaken.


GOAL KICK/DELIBERATELY KICKED PASS TO 'KEEPER

Question:
How many of your own players can you have in the box when you kick a goal kick? And in this scenario, what is the correct placement of the ball. A defender passes the ball back to his keeper inside the penalty box, and the keeper picks up the ball 2 feet away from the goal line, outside to the right of the goalpost, is it a indirect kick at the spot, or does the ball gets moved.

Answer (April 25, 2003):
There is no limit to the number of players from the kicking team who may be in the penalty area -- if that is what you mean by "box" -- during a goal kick.

Your scenario for the second question is unclear. If you mean that this happens on a goal kick, then the kick is retaken, because the ball must leave the penalty area and enter the rest of the field before it is in play. If it does not do this, then the kick is retaken. If you mean that a player deliberately kicks the ball to his goalkeeper while the ball is in play and the goalkeeper touches it, then the ball is placed on the goal area line parallel to the goal line for the indirect free kick, at the spot nearest to where the goalkeeper touched the ball.


PENALTY KICK IN EXTENDED TIME

Question:
Penalty Kick. No time left in game. Time is allowed for kick by referee. Ball is kicked toward goal and hits goalpost and rebounds back into play. Is PK terminated when the ball is next touched?

Answer (April 25, 2003):
In the case of a match extended for the taking of a penalty kick, if the ball hits the goalpost and remains within the field, it may still be in play and a goal may still be scored if the ball winds up in the net if touched by the goalkeeper or it enters through spin or a bad bounce. In this case, the ball may not be played by anyone but the goalkeeper and time expires as soon as the ball stops moving.


METAL STUDS

Question:
Have any specific instructions regarding the adidas Predator Mania SG boots have been issued to guide referees? If FIFA regards them as safe and they have no sharp or jagged edges, why would a referee judge them unsafe? A lot of kids are buying and wearing the boots with magnesium studs. It's going to become an issue that needs to be addressed clearly and without room for confusion. These boots are becoming increasingly popular, and thousands of players and parents are going to be terribly upset if they show-up for a game with only these boots to play in, and the referee declares them unsafe despite FIFA's declaration that they are safe.

Answer (April 25, 2003):
We are not familiar with any recent notice from FIFA declaring any particular boots to be safe.

Referees are instructed to examine all player boots for safety, irregardless of the manufacturer's name. Boots manufactured as soccer boots are usually quite safe at the outset of the game -- and, if safe for all participants, should be approved. However, referees, coaches, and players must remember that a boot declared safe before the game starts may become dangerous during the course of play. Metal and even plastic studs tend to develop rough edges and may cause injury later in the game. Many youth leagues (both recreational and competitive) flatly outlaw boots with metal cleats. Players, coaches, and parents need to become familiar with their local rules of competition, just to be certain that buying a particular shoe or type of stud is not a mistake. But whatever the rules of competition may say, the referee has the final decision on all matters of player safety.


FEET AND THE THROW-IN
Your question:
A player takes a throw-in and has one foot placed on the touchline such that the foot is partially on the field of play, across the touchline while still on the line. Does this action constitute a foul throw-in? The law reads "has part of each foot either on the touch line or on the ground outside the touchline". I interpret this to mean if the player's foot is across the line (on the field of play, but still partially on the touchline) this is an improper throw-in. A fellow referee disagreed and believed it to mean as long as the player's foot was on the line at least partially (not all the way across the line) then the throw-in is valid.

This topic has always seemed strange. A player is allowed to step on the touchline, which is part of the field of play, but the ball must cross completely over the touchline before it is in touch. If someone were to handle the ball on the line, while the ball is in play, it would be a free kick. However, the player can stand on the field of play (at least on the touchline) to put the ball back into play. This seems to contradict itself, in terms of when a ball is in play. Thanks for your clarification.

USSF answer (April 24, 2003):
The throw-in is SIMPLY A WAY OF RESTARTING PLAY when the ball has left the field of play over one of the touch lines. Please do not complicate things through erroneous explanations for things that do not need explaining.
The secret to understanding the throw-in is to follow the text of Law 15:
QUOTE
Procedure
At the moment of delivering the ball, the thrower:
* faces the field of play
* has part of each foot either on the touch line or on the ground outside the touch line
* uses both hands
* delivers the ball from behind and over his head
END OF QUOTE

What does this tell us?
* As long as part (and the Law does not specify any particular part) of each foot is either on the touch line or on the ground outside the touch line, there is no problem.
* The part of the foot that makes contact with the touch line can be the toe, the ball of the foot, or the heel.
* The Law does not care about where the ball is, except the place from which it must be delivered, "from behind and over" the thrower's head.
* There is no mention of the ball being entirely off the field -- which would be impossible if the thrower were leaning into the field as the ball was correctly delivered.
* The ball need only break the plane of the outside of the touch line to be in play (once it has been released by the thrower).
* The thrower can never be accused of deliberately handling the ball if he does not release the ball before it crosses the touch line.
* Nowhere is it written that the thrower must stand at least partly in touch.
* As long as the throw is taken from the correct location, with both of the thrower's feet on the line or outside it, and with the thrower facing some part of the field, and if the throw is properly delivered, then it is a good throw.
Notwithstanding these requirements, the intelligent referee will be satisfied in most case if the ball is quickly put back into play from approximately the right place. Most other violations should be ignored as trifling.


OBVIOUS GOALSCORING OPPORTUNITY OR SERIOUS FOUL PLAY?
Your question:
This is a follow-up to your answer of April 9, below. Prior to 1997, I understand the Laws of the Game stated that certain acts of "handling" were to be declared Serious Foul Play. But in the 1997 rewrite, I now understand that not only was the foul reinterpreted (it is now "deliberate use of hands"), but so was the penalty. Your answer, below, addressing Fabien Barthez' deliberate use of hands outside the PA, states that "nothing else should be done" if he neither denied his opponent a goal, or a goal-scoring opportunity. Leaving aside the issue of Caution for USB, I ask simply: can Deliberate Use of Hands today ever result in a Send-Off for SFP? If so, how?
QUOTE OF ORIGINAL QUESTION

OBVIOUS GOALSCORING OPPORTUNITY OR NOT?
Question:
During the Manchester United VS Real Madrid Match Manchester Uniteds keeper deliberately handled the ball outside of his penalty area but did not prevent a goal scoring opputunity as he handled the ball just outside the right corner of his penalty area preventing the ball from going out for a goal kick and there was no opposition within 10-20 yards. The commentators where saying that he should have been sent off and I just want to know what apart from a direct free kick from where he handled the ball should be done.

Answer (April 9, 2003):
Caveat: The U.S. Soccer Federation (USSF) does not presume to tell the referees of other national associations how to referee the game. This answer would apply to a game played under the auspices of the USSF.

If the goalkeeper did not deny the opposing team a goal or an obvious goalscoring opportunity when he handled the ball, then nothing else should have been done -- provided the referee did indeed award the opposing team a direct free kick from the place where the goalkeeper deliberately handled the ball outside his penalty area.

It is unfortunate that many commentators, no matter their nationality, are not well aware of the Laws of the Game and their proper application.
END QUOTE OF ORIGINAL QUESTION

USSF answer (April 24, 2003):
The only clarification that might be made to the original answer is that the referee could caution the goalkeeper for unsporting behavior and show him the yellow card if he judged that the handling was a tactical foul designed to interfere with or impede the opposing team's attacking play.

Deliberately handling the ball outside the penalty area is a direct free kick offense. There is no mention in the Laws of the Game or the IFAB/FIFA Questions and Answers on the Laws of the Game of punishing deliberate handling of the ball with a send-off/red card other than in the context of denying the opposing team a goal or an obvious goalscoring opportunity. It should never be regarded as serious foul play.

Serious foul play is defined in the USSF publication "Advice to Referees on the Laws of the Game":
QUOTE
12.33 SERIOUS FOUL PLAY
It is serious foul play when a player uses violence (excessive force; formerly defined as "disproportionate and unnecessary strength") when challenging for the ball on the field against an opponent. There can be no serious foul play against a teammate, the referee, an assistant referee, a spectator, etc. The use of violence or excessive force against an opponent under any other conditions must be punished as violent conduct.
END OF QUOTE


PERSISTENT INFRINGEMENT
Your question:
MLS game Saturday night April 19th. D.C. United player carded for the third foul on Beasley. Referee demonstratively counted out the three fouls. Afterwards Beasley was fouled four maybe five more times...no cards given.

Question- Is persistent infringement over after the card and foul count starts over? Should the referee yellow have carded the fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh fouls on Beasley? When or ever should you go to red?

USSF answer (April 23, 2003):
We do not comment on identifiable referees and the way in which they manage their games.

The USSF publication "7 + 7" instructs referees to caution and show the yellow card to those players who persistently infringe the Laws of the Game by repeatedly committing fouls or participating in a pattern of fouls directed at an opponent. Again, the referee should work to manage play so that such situations cease immediately, but, if all else fails, then all players who are part of this tactical scheme must be dealt with according to the Law. (There is no "team caution" under the Laws of the Game, so the referee may not send off and show the red card to a player on that player's first infringement of this portion of the Law.) It shouldn't take more than one additional caution to get the point across.


TIME MANAGEMENT/PERSISTENT INFRINGEMENT
Your question:
Time management is important, especially when a team is protecting a one goal lead. I understand long clearing kicks force the opposition to start their attack at their own 18 and I understand coaches substituting at every legal opportunity as time runs down. However, some teams in this area have started using tactics that I think constitute time wasting and unsporting behavior. I'd like your opinion:
1. A red team player picks up every ball that goes into touch and starts a throw in even when I am signaling it is a blue team throw in. I have to whistle the ball dead and get the blue team the ball.
2. After calling off a player and sending in a substitute the coach indicates he/she wants to substitute for another player, effectively doubling the amount of time used up for the substitution.

Either behavior can be an honest mistake but as Goldfinger told James Bond, "Once is happenstance, twice is coincidence, but the third time is enemy action."

My approach to the first situation when I see it occurring time after time is to warn the player and the captain, then if it continues to caution the player and show him/her the yellow card. In the second situation I tend to add time for the delay.

I would also like to ask how does one deal with a situation where a caution and yellow card have been given for persistent infringement of the laws because one team is targeting and fouling a certain player but the activity continues with different players committing the fouls? Does one continue to issue yellow cards until someone with a yellow card gets their second one and is sent off or can one issue a red card?

USSF answer (April 23, 2003):
As to constant substitution, the USSF publication "Advice to Referees on the Laws of the Game" tells us:
QUOTE
3.5 PREVENTING DELAY DURING SUBSTITUTION
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. Another common source of delay is a substitute player who is not prepared to take the field when the request to substitute is made. In each case, the referee should order play to be restarted despite the request and inform the coach that the substitution can be made at the next opportunity.

The referee shall not prevent a team from restarting play if the substitute had not reported to the appropriate official before play stopped. END OF QUOTE

As regards your final question, the USSF publication "7 + 7" instructs referees to caution and show the yellow card to those players who persistently infringe the Laws of the Game by repeatedly committing fouls or participating in a pattern of fouls directed at an opponent. Again, the referee should work to manage play so that such situations cease immediately, but, if all else fails, then all players who are part of this tactical scheme must be dealt with according to the Law. (There is no "team caution" under the Laws of the Game, so the referee may not send off and show the red card to a player on that player's first infringement of this portion of the Law.)


VERY LATE SEND-OFF/RED CARD (REPRISE)
Your question:
On the following question already asked, what happens if Smith scored a goal during the time he was allowed to continue playing? Does the goal get cancelled or allowed to remain as a goal?

QUOTE ORIGINAL Q&A
VERY LATE SEND-OFF/RED CARD
Question:
In a professional match, the same player (Smith) receives a caution in the 5th minute and another in the 25th minute, but the referee crew doesn't realize the same player was cautioned twice and consequently allows Smith to participate for the remaining twenty minutes of the first half. Play is stopped and restarted many times. The officials notice their error while in the locker room at the beginning of the half time intermission.
Question #1: Can Smith participate in the second half?
Question #2: If no to #1, does Smith's team play short for the second half?
Question #3: If no to #1, when should the referee notify Smith that he has been sent off?
Question #4: If no to #1, does the referee display a red card to Smith?
Answer (April 3, 2003):
No.
Yes.
As soon as he figures it out. In other words, before the start of the second half.
Yes, if it is done on the field before the start of the second half.

If the referee informs Smith in the locker room that he has been dismissed, then no card is necessary. (And full details must be included in the referee's match report.)
END QUOTE ORIGINAL Q&A

USSF answer (April 23, 2003):
: The goal stands -- just another reason for referees to be careful about their bookkeeping.


ADVANTAGE
Your question:
In the Advice to Referees handbook, it is clearly stated that Advantage may only be applied to infringements of Law 12; it even goes so far as to specifically prohibit its application to Law 11. However, everyone knows that in practice most referees stretch the advantage clause to cover a variety of infringements, in particular offside. I have seen more than a few very intelligent, highly-respected referees wave down the AR's flag, sometimes giving the advantage signal, as the ball is collected by the keeper. Is this practice merely a commonly accepted deviation from the letter of the law for the sake of the Spirit of the Game, or is this an officially endorsed practice?

Also, isn't the whole concept of allowing a PK goal to stand despite defensive encroachment (or any of the other scenarios) just a form of advantage more rigid in its application? I say this because, for an incorrectly taken DFK (the restart PKs are loosely based upon) the restart is always a repeat DFK.

USSF answer (April 23, 2003):
The intelligent referee does not use the advantage on offside or on infringements of any Law other than Law 12. The intelligent referee either calls offside or finds that the conditions have not been met. The matter of allowing a penalty kick to be scored despite the occurrence of a violation of Law 14 is a matter of discretion for the referee based on whether he considers the violation to be trifling.


SLIDE TACKLES
Your question:
Are slide tackles legal when a player with possession of the ball and is about to score, and is slide tackled from behind while in the goalie box?

USSF answer (April 23, 2003):
A slide tackle is legal, provided it is performed legally. In other words, there is nothing illegal about a slide tackle by itself -- no matter where it is done and no matter the direction from which it comes.

FIFA has emphasized the great danger in slide tackles from behind because, if this tackle is not done perfectly, the potential for injury is so much greater. Accordingly, referees are advised that, when a player does commit a foul while tackling from behind, it should not be just a simple foul (e.g., tripping) but a foul and misconduct. In fact, if the referee decides that the foul while tackling from behind was done in such a way as to endanger the safety of the opponent, the proper action is to send the violator off the field with a red card.

How can tackles become illegal? There are many ways but two of the most common are by making contact with the opponent first (before contacting the ball) and by striking the opponent with a raised upper leg before, during, or after contacting the ball with the lower leg. Referees must be vigilant and firm in assessing any tackle, because the likely point of contact is the lower legs of the opponent and this is a particularly vulnerable area. We must not be swayed by protests of "But I got the ball, ref" and we must be prepared to assess the proper penalty for misconduct where that is warranted.


Q&A LAW 3, Q&A 13
Your question:
I've been going through some of my readings and came across this conundrum.

From FIFA website...Q & A Law 3 #13... A substitute enters the field of play without having obtained the permission of the referee. While the ball is in play, an opponent punches him. What action should the referee take?

1. The referee stops play, sends off the player guilty of violent conduct, cautions the substitute for entering the field of play without the permission of the referee and restart the game by an indirect free-kick against the team of the substitute at the place where the infringement occurred.*

Law 3 in the Law Book states that "If a substitute enters the field...play is restarted with a dropped ball..."

What am I missing regarding these restarts...

USSF answer (April 23, 2003):
: In Q. 13 the substitute also comes on the field without permission, but he is the victim of the violent conduct by his opponent, the greater of the two evils. The IFAB (and FIFA, who printed and disseminated it for them) erred on Q.13. The correct answer is that the indirect free kick is awarded TO the team of the substitute. We hope that this correction will be included in the updated version of the Q&A.


GOALKEEPER POSSESSION AND TIME WASTING (EXPANDED ANSWER TO ITEM OF 7 APR 2003)
Your question:
Is there a distinction between these two events in enforcing the GK six-second law?
1. Goalkeeper deliberately parries the ball to ground and retains possession in penalty area for more than six seconds while playing ball with his feet.
2. Goalkeeper has possession of ball with hands, but drops ball to ground and plays the ball with his feet for more than six seconds in penalty area. I believe #1 could be deemed to be time wasting as GK never gave up possession. #2 would not. USSF answer (April 7, 2003):
[Answer expanded, but not changed in substance, on April 23, 2003.]
There is a great difference between the two situations, but not in the proper action to be taken by the referee. In each case, the goalkeeper had possession and then gave it up. When the goalkeeper parries the ball (first situation), he has established possession and the six-second count begins then. Once the goalkeeper surrenders possession, the six seconds are no longer counted and the ball is playable. When the goalkeeper releases the ball to the ground (in both situations), he has relinquished possession and the ball is available for all players. In addition, the goalkeeper cannot play the ball again with his hands until certain conditions are fulfilled -- none of which is proposed in the question.


WE PROTEST!
Your question:
I ran into a situation over the weekend and would like some clarification if we could protest this ruling by a referee.

In the second half, the referee ran the game 6 minutes and 3 second over the allotted time. (These was a 35 minute half's, the second half ran 41 minutes and 3 seconds). There was no injury, in the second half. Three minutes after time should have expired, i.e. in minute 38, the referee told our coach he could not substitute as one minute was left, the game then went on another 3 minutes and 3 seconds. The other team scored to tie the game.

Since this was a league game, points are involved and needless to say, some very upset kids and parents. Appreciate an answer, so I can go back to the team.

USSF answer (April 23, 2003):
Law 5 empowers the referee to act as timekeeper and to keep a record of the match. Law 7 instructs the referee to add time (at his discretion) for time lost in either half of a game or in any overtime period for the reasons listed in Law 7 (Allowance for Time Lost). Referees allow additional time in all periods for all time lost through substitution(s), assessment of injury to players, removal of injured players from the field of play for treatment, wasting time, as well as "other causes" that consume time, such as kick-offs, throw-ins, dropped balls, free kicks, and replacement of lost or defective balls. Many of the reasons for stoppages in play and thus "lost time" are entirely normal elements of the game. The referee takes this into account in applying discretion regarding the time to be added. The main objective should be to restore playing time to the match which is lost due to excessively prolonged or unusual stoppages. Law 5 tells us that the referee's decisions regarding facts connected with play are final.

If the facts are indeed as you state them, we would like to wring the referee's neck -- first for obviously making errors in timing (assuming the facts were as stated), but also for making the truly dumb statement that a substitution request could not be allowed because there was only one minute left.

It is certainly your right to protest, but there would appear to be little chance of success.


WHY NO CAUTION??
Your question:
In your response to "ADDING TIME; TOO MANY ENTER AT A SUBSTITUTION" dated March 27, 2003, you indicated that no caution would be given because the player entered the field with the Referee's permission. While I agree with this assessment, shouldn't a caution be issued because the player "deliberately leaves the field of play without the Referee's permission" also indicated in Law 12?

USSF answer (April 23, 2003):
Why ever would one do that? First, this is an infringement of Law 3, not Law 12, so the analogy is inappropriate. Second, even if it were possible, the referee would be stabbing himself in the foot by doing that. The intelligent referee will not invite trouble where all is serene.


WHO CHANGES JERSEYS?
Your question:
I have a question concerning the nature of goalkeeper jerseys and referee jerseys. In a recent spring league game our goalkeeper was wearing a yellow goalkeeper jersey. Neither team had yellow jerseys and neither did the opposing keeper. After the referee had checked over the team cleats and shin guards making sure all was legal he asked our keeper which color jersey he would be wearing throughout the game. He told them he would be wearing a yellow jersey. The referee then told him that he may not wear it as the referees would be wearing yellow and they would conflict. The goalkeeper then put on another jersey allowed by the referee. My question to you is, who should change jerseys? Should it be the referees or the goalkeeper? If it is the goalkeeper then why aren't yellow keeper jerseys banned in soccer games?

USSF answer (April 23, 2003):
When we had only black uniforms, we referees rarely had color-conflict problems with players -- and then the players decided they wanted to look "bad" and wear black. Now referees have four different jersey colors to choose from: gold, red, black, and blue. The referee team should make every effort to accommodate the players in choice of colors, but if the referees cannot all change to the same color, then they will ask the goalkeeper, the player least likely to be inconvenienced, to change. If the goalkeeper has no shirt of another color, then he or she may wear the same colors as the refereeing team.


HANGING ON THE CROSSBAR
Your question:
We have this big debate in our state and i have heard many answers to this question, let's see what you think. A defender jumps up and catches the crossbar as the attacker is shooting the ball, as he is hanging there the ball hits the defender right smack middle of the chest. So let's hear what you have to say to this situation.

USSF answer (April 23, 2003):
We say the defender is guilty of unsporting behavior for hanging on the crossbar. This is misconduct and is punishable by an indirect free kick, to be taken after the referee has cautioned him and shown him the yellow card. If the referee believes the defender denied an opponent an obvious goal-scoring opportunity by this offense punishable by a free kick or a penalty kick, the referee will likely decide to send him off and show the red card.

NOTE: See? We answer even rude questions.


WEARING THE BADGE
Your question:
When doing a match is the logo such as the U.S.S.F. logo on the sleeve of the OSI yellow/black pin striped shirted REQUIRED under the laws of the game?

USSF answer (April 23, 2003):
No. But the USSF badge must be worn when working competitions affiliated with USSF.


"ACCIDENTAL" STRIKING
Your question:
The goalkeeper comes out to play a ball in the box and "accidentally" smacks an opposing player in the face. No blood is drawn but the attacking player was definately hit. It was not a definite goal scoring opportunity as there were 5 or 6 other players in the box. What is the call? Is it a cardable offense?

USSF answer (April 22, 2003):
According to your scenario this was not an obvious goalscoring opportunity. If, in the opinion of the referee, this was the foul of striking an opponent, then the restart is a direct free kick for the opposing team from the place where the foul occurred. If this was in the penalty area, then it is a penalty kick. If, again in the opinion of the referee, this foul was committed either recklessly or with excessive force -- in other words the foul included misconduct -- the restart would stay the same, but the punishment becomes more severe because of the misconduct. If the foul was reckless, the goalkeeper would be cautioned and shown the yellow card for unsporting behavior. If the foul was committed with excessive force (also known as violence), the goalkeeper would be sent off and shown the red card.


RESIDENCY REQUIREMENTS FOR ADMINISTRATORS?
Your question:
Are you aware of any requirement that state administrators live in the state where they are an administrator?

USSF answer (April 22, 2003):
There are no residency policies regarding administrators.


A SPECTATOR INQUIRES
Your question:
1. Blue player is taken out from behind with a 2-handed push just inside own end of the field. Red player gets possession of the ball and play continues until ball goes out of bounds across goal line. When injured player is removed from field, play restarts with a goal kick. Why no foul? I am not a referee, but it looked to me like it should have been a card. (Not that it matters as far as a card goes, but blue player has several small abrasions and bruises on arms and upper legs, and 1 in. cut and moderate bruises on lower back. Player is a 12-year-old girl.)

2. Defending red player intentionally strikes attacking blue player in the ear with elbow while in the box as attacker is shooting. Attacking team is given an indirect kick. Why no card and why no PK? Our whole sideline thought it was a card and a PK. While attending the player, the coach attempted to ask the referee, but the center yelled, "Get off my field!" (Attacker has 2 in. black goose egg behind ear and possible loss of hearing. It was a VERY hard hit! Same game, same player injured.)

3. This has happened several times in various games at several age levels. Ball strikes player's arm and player makes no attempt to play the ball (in one case, she was completely surprised, and was looking around to see what hit her). Sometimes, a kick (I am not sure if it is direct or indirect, except when it was a PK) is awarded for the team whose player is not struck, sometimes the ref says, "play it" and sometimes the ref completely ignores it. I was under the impression that unintentional "handling" (handling includes arms, correct?) was not a foul. There was a sign posted on the referee board at the fields a while back that said, "Ball to hand, no foul, hand to ball foul." Since different calls are made in the same situation, someone is making a mistake! What is the correct call?

USSF answer (April 22, 2003):
As stated here just recently, some referees actually do make mistakes and, though few will admit it, some referees even miss events on the field altogether. There is nothing anyone can do about it now, but here are the correct referee responses to your situations -- assuming, of course, that you have described them completely accurately.

1. Direct free kick for Blue at the spot of the foul (as described).

2. Although the word "intentionally" is not in the Laws of the Game, the striking of the blue player in the ear by the red player should be regarded by the referee as at least "reckless," meaning the player knew what she was doing but did it anyway, possibly trying to "send a message" to the blue player, and possibly "using excessive force," meaning that the act was violent. A reckless player is cautioned for unsporting behavior and shown the yellow card. A player who uses excessive force is sent off for serious foul play and shown the red card. The restart in the case you describe is a direct free kick or penalty kick if committed in the offending player's penalty area.

3. The offense known as "handling the ball" involves deliberate contact with the ball by a player's hand or arm (including fingertips, upper arm, or outer shoulder). "Deliberate contact" means that the player could have avoided the touch but chose not to, that the player's arms were not in a normal playing position at the time, or that the player deliberately continued an initially accidental contact for the purpose of gaining an unfair advantage. Moving hands or arms instinctively to protect the body when suddenly faced with a fast approaching ball does not constitute deliberate contact unless there is subsequent action to direct the ball once contact is made. Likewise, placing hands or arms to protect the body at a free kick or similar restart is not likely to produce an infringement unless there is subsequent action to direct or control the ball. The fact that a player may benefit from the ball contacting the hand does not transform the otherwise accidental event into an infringement. A player infringes the Law regarding handling the ball even if direct contact is avoided by holding something in the hand (clothing, shinguard, etc.).


MECHANICS AND PROCEDURES
Your question:
What are the directives given to referee's responsible for youth games re the following?

When an offside occurs and they raise their flag - do they stay there until the ref observes their flag - or do they give him approx 5 seconds then drop the flag and re-catch up with play?

When substituting, a referee forces a player to remain on the sideline until the player leaving the field steps off. Should the new player entering the field be allowed to take up his position before the referee indicates play should restart?

For what circumstances are youth referee's directed to add additional time to the half. Ball out of play? Substitutions? Time wasting? injuries?

USSF answer (April 22, 2003):
Except where specifically noted, the following answers are applicable for all matches, not just youth games.
1. If the referee misses the assistant referee's signal for offside, the assistant referee should stand at attention with the flag raised until the defending team gains clear possession or until a goal kick or throw-in is awarded to the defending team. To avoid such situations, the referee should make eye contact with the assistant referees as often as possible. In addition, the assistant referees must be alert for and mirror each other's signals if needed to assist the referee.
These procedures should be clearly covered in the pregame meeting of the officials, particularly when working with young and/or new assistant referees.

2. The referee will normally allow a replacement goalkeeper to reach a reasonable playing position before restarting the game. Officially, of course, goalkeepers are expected to be properly equipped before entering the field so time is not wasted while the old and new goalkeepers exchange equipment (gloves, pads, etc.) but we know this is often not the case in youth matches. For all other players, the intelligent referee -- remembering that two of his ultimate goals are fairness and enjoyment -- will wait until the entering player is at least in the general area of his team, but it is not necessary to wait for the entering player to assume the exact position on the field occupied by the player he replaced.

3. Law 5 empowers the referee to act as timekeeper and to keep a record of the match. Law 7 instructs the referee to add time (the specific amount being at his discretion) for time lost in either half of a game or in any overtime period for the reasons listed in Law 7 (Allowance for Time Lost). Referees allow additional time in all periods for all time lost through substitution(s), assessment of injury to players, removal of injured players from the field of play for treatment, wasting time, as well as "other causes" that consume time, such as kick-offs, throw-ins, dropped balls, free kicks, and replacement of lost or defective balls. Many of the reasons for stoppages in play and thus "lost time" are entirely normal elements of the game. The referee takes this into account in applying discretion regarding the time to be added. The main objective should be to restore playing time to the match which is lost due to excessively prolonged or unusual stoppages. The referee's decisions here should not differ greatly for youth matches.


KICKING THE BALL AT AN OPPONENT
Your question:
Player from attacking team A and player from defending team B are about 5 feet apart, in the penalty area about 10 yards wide of the goal and about 10 yards from the endline. They are facing each other, B is between A and the penalty mark, B with his back to the penalty mark, A facing the penalty mark. Player A hauls off and drills the ball, which hits player B in the family jewels. Can this be considered unsporting behavior? What would you look for in determining whether or not it might be unsporting behavior? Is your answer affected at all by whether or not player B crumples to the ground or continues playing for a while? Is your answer affected by where on B's body the ball hits? In the case of the strike on the family jewels, it seems that a no-call may lead to retaliation on B's part. But is it the view that B simply defends at his own peril, and A shouldn't be penalized because there is no way of knowing if it wasn't just an inaccurate kick?

USSF answer (April 22, 2003):
It is at least possible that the referee might decide, based on all the facts and circumstances and what had gone before this moment in the game, that the attacker was in fact deliberately using the ball to strike the opponent -- if so, there might well be a case made for striking carelessly or even recklessly. Short of a statement made while the kick was being taken to the effect of "I'm gonna get you!" or "Take that, you scum!", there is no reason to treat it the same as other forms of striking which are clearly violent conduct. Referees are not and should not try to be mind readers. Without the aforementioned statements or other evidence, the intelligent referee will reflect for a moment on the wisdom of wearing a cup and move on with the game.


PLAYER LEAVES WITH PERMISSION, NO SUB IN YET
Your question:
At a Goal kick. Routine sub situation. Player blue #6, leaves but no sub comes in. Ref not paying attention, allows goal kick, as #6 is leaving. So Blue team plays shorthanded. From bench area off field, player #6 sticks leg over touch line onto field, as play continues, trips opponent. Occurred on field by player -- as substitution not completed -- during play. Yes? So DFK, perhaps misconduct, etc.

USSF answer (April 22, 2003):
Blue #6 is still a player, as the substitution was not completed. Whatever the intention of the player, until one of two conditions exists, he is still a player -- (1) a substitute enters the field with the permission of the referee or (2) the referee decides that the player is no longer physically able to participate in play (due to injury). At a minimum, Blue #6 must be called for tripping his opponent on the field; direct free kick for the opposing team.

Then we are left with some options for possible misconduct:
- If Blue #6 left with the permission of the referee, he then returned to the field of play without the referee's permission and should be cautioned and shown the yellow card.
- If, in the opinion of the referee, Blue #6 is guilty of unsporting behavior for recklessly tripping the opponent, he is cautioned for unsporting behavior and shown the yellow card. As this would be Blue #6's second caution in the match, he must then be sent off and shown the red card.

Object lessons for all referees:
(1) Be aware of what players are doing and where they are.
(2) Do not allow the game to restart until substitutions are completed. In other words, the referee who fails to follow the requirements of Law 3 on substitution does so at his or her own peril.


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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