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2011 Referee Week in Review - Week 8



Referee Week in Review – Week 8

The Situation: Los Angeles and New York are tied 1-1 in the 43rd minute.

The Play: On a breakaway, the attacking player from Los Angeles goes past the goalkeeper and directs a shot towards goal. As the assistant referee is hustling to stay with the play, the defender chases the ball down and slides to clear it off the goal line.

The Decision: There is no signal from the assistant referee indicating that a goal has been scored, and play continues.

My Take: This is a play that happens very quickly. Notice the assistant referee is in the proper position as the play develops and continues to work to be in the right spot to make the call. If he is not 100 percent certain that the ball has completely crossed the line and that a goal has been scored, he must allow play to continue. Therefore, based on the information he has, the assistant referee has made the correct decision whether the ball crossed the line or not.

The Laws of the Game: Law 10 states that “a referee should signal a goal only when it is absolutely clear that the ball has wholly crossed the goal line.”


The Situation: FC Dallas and D.C. United are tied 0-0 in the 31st minute

The Play: The FC Dallas goalkeeper comes off his line to catch a through ball right at the top of the penalty area. At least one of his feet - and possibly both – is outside the line at time he collects the ball.

The Decision: The assistant referee does not indicate that a handball has taken place, and play continues.

My Take: Once again you can see that the assistant referee is in the right position to handle the first responsibility of determining offside. The ball travels fast to the goalkeeper, and the AR moves as swiftly as possible to get into position. Again, if he is not completely certain that an infraction has occurred, he cannot signal for a foul. Also remember that the location of the ball at the time the goalkeeper handles it determines the decision, not the position of his feet.

The Laws of the Game: Law 12 states that a direct kick is awarded to the opposing team if a player handles the ball deliberately except for the goalkeeper within his own penalty area. Further, Law 1 states that “the lines belong to the areas of which they are boundaries”. This means that once the ball crosses the plane of the line at the top of the penalty area, it is considered inside the penalty area.


Michael Kennedy is a current MLS referee and has officiated in the league since its founding in 1996. In addition to serving as a professional referee, he has also represented U.S. Soccer as both a FIFA referee and assistant referee.


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