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June 2008 Archive (I of IV)


Is it a foul if an opposing player waits outside the goal box and jumps up and into the goalie's punt, landing within the goal box and within 1 foot of the goalie? If so, is that worthy of a yellow or red card?

Answer (June 2, 2008):
No player is allowed to interfere with the goalkeeper's ability to put the ball back into general play. The referee should stop play and restart with an indirect free kick for the goalkeeper's team from the place where the infringement occurred. (Please remember the special circumstances for restarts after infringements occurring within the goal area.) If the opponent makes contact with the goalkeeper, the restart would be a direct free kick and possibly a caution or send-off, depending on the nature of the infringement and contact. In all cases, tthe referee might consider warning the player that this action borders on unsporting behavior.



I'm stumped. I'm a new referee and during my training class two items came up that have recurred in subsequent games that coached and refereed.

1) I know the "tucked in jersey" rule is a USSF one and not a FIFA law. What is the appropriate penalty to a player who's jersey has come out? The referee in our game told my player to leave the field to fix his jersey.

2) I can't find a specific rule as to when you can play the ball while you're on the ground and when you can't play it.

Answer (June 2, 2008):
1) There is no penalty or punishment for a player whose jersey has come out. The player is expected to replace the jersey and to look professional. If the player doesn't do it on his or her own, then the referee should instruct him or her to do it on the field. There is no need for the player to leave the field to accomplish this arduous task.

2) There is no rule against playing the ball while on the ground. The only rule is that the player on the ground must not place him- or herself or other players in danger by remaining on top of the ball or having the ball between his/her legs, particularly if this is clearly deliberate.



After a recent game, the coach of our team was told that extra or stoppage time was added for three injuries during the second half and that additional stoppage time was added whenever the ball was kicked out of bounds. Is extra time allowed to be added for the ball rolling out of bounds? By our watch, there was 10 additional minutes added for out of bounds balls (the ball never crossed a fence or any other obstacle but simply went out of bounds.) The opposing team scored twice during the last 4 minutes of the stoppage time and we lost the match. We have not heard of time being added for routine out of bounds.

Answer (June 2, 2008):
Time is not usually added routinely for balls that go out of play under normal circumstances. if the referee is certain that a team is wasting time by constantly and deliberately kicking the ball out of play, then the referee should add time to make up for this loss of playing time.



Re U12G 11v11 rules for a Keeper picking up a ball that has been kicked.

My Keeper recently picked up a ball that was kicked by her team.

The situation was as follows. It was a rainy day, the ball was wet, a defender was taking a goal kick to restart the game. By all observations the defender intended to kick the ball down the right flank, but she sliced the ball and it went across the goal mouth in the 6 yard box. The Keeper picked it up based on the fact that the ball had not been deliberately kicked to the Keeper. The Keeper contends that the "pass back" rule for lack of a better description has a double test; one, the ball must be kicked by the foot of a team mate and; two, the ball must be kicked deliberately to the Keeper. She got called for a hand ball.

Can you comment on this situation?

Answer (May 29, 2008):
Based on the information you give us, there was no infringement to be punished. The ball never went into play and the only correct solution was for the goal kick to be retaken.

Even if the ball had gone into play -- i. e., left the penalty area -- the goalkeeper could not have been called for "hand ball." That suggests the direct free kick/penalty kick foul of deliberately handling the ball; for a goalkeeper, this could occur only if the goalkeeper had left the penalty area. At best, the goalkeeper simply touched the ball with her hands within her own penalty area, an offense punished by an indirect free kick.

Again, if the ball had been properly put into play -- and it was not -- and if the referee had not called whatever offense occurred a "hand ball," then there could have been solely the technical offense described above. All of this, of course, depends on how the referee sees the incident. All decisions of this nature are called according to the opinion of the referee on the game.

This excerpt from a recent U. S. Soccer Federation position paper should be of some help in describing the basis for the infringement of the goalkeeper playing the ball kicked deliberately to him or her by a teammate:
This rarely seen infraction came into the Laws of the Game in 1992 as part of the general effort to restrict opportunities for goalkeepers to waste time by unfairly withholding the ball from active challenge by taking possession of the ball with the hands. Other measures along the same lines include the 6 second limit on goalkeeper possession, the second possession restriction, and the throw-in to the goalkeeper by a teammate.

The offense rests on three events occurring in the following sequence:
- The ball is kicked (played with the foot) by a teammate of the goalkeeper,
- This action is deemed to be deliberate rather than a deflection, and
- The goalkeeper handles the ball directly (no intervening touch of play of the ball by anyone else)

When, in the opinion of the referee, these three conditions are met, the violation has occurred. It is not necessary for the ball to be "passed," it is not necessary for the ball to go "back," and it is not necessary for the deliberate play by the teammate to be "to" the goalkeeper. END OF QUOTE



I am sure I saw something in the past, but cannot find it. I under stand if an offensive player is fouled outside the penalty area and the foul continues into the penalty area, it results in a penalty kick (ex the defensive player started pushing the attacker outside and continued to push him as the player entered the penalty area).

When a foul is committed outside the penalty area by the defensive player and the offensive player falls into the penalty area. It is considered a continuation foul that results in a penalty kick in the following situations?

Scenario 1 The offensive player is moving toward the goal and is fouled approximately 1 foot outside the penalty area and his momentum carried him into the penalty area.

Scenario 2 The offensive player is moving toward the goal and is fouled well outside the penalty area and his momentum after one or two steps carried him into the penalty area where he falls.

Scenario 3 The offensive player is standing just outside the penalty area, is fouled and falls into the penalty area.

Answer (May 29, 2008):
The source of your information is this position paper, issued in April 2007:
Subject: When Fouls Continue!
Date: April 30, 2007

Prompted by several recent situations in professional league play, a discussion has developed regarding the proper action to take when a foul continues over a distance on the field. Many fouls occur with the participants in motion, both the player committing the foul and the opponent being fouled, and it is not unusual for the offense to end far away from where the initial contact occurred.

Usually, the only problem this creates for the referee is the need to decide the proper location for the restart. Occasionally, however, an additional issue is created when the distance covered results in an entirely different area of the field becoming involved. A foul which starts outside the penalty area, for example, might continue into and finally end inside the offending player's penalty area. Or a foul might start inside the field but, due to momentum, end off the field. In these cases, the decision about where the foul occurred also affects what the correct restart must be.

In general, the referee should determine the location of the foul based on what gives the greater benefit to the player who was fouled. FIFA has specifically endorsed this principle in one of its "Questions and Answers on the Laws of the Game " (12.31) which states that a penalty kick is the correct restart if a player begins holding an opponent outside the player's penalty area and continues this action inside his penalty area.



Two senior sides are at 1 goal each in the first half.

Twelve minutes before the first half is to finish. The floodlights fail on one side of the field.The grounds people from the home side frantically start to fix the lights & acheive the process in twelve minutes the lights are fully operational in twenty minutes. The referee & assistant officials rule that due to the break taken by players for the delay while light maintenace was performed. There would be a resumption for twelve minutes to finish the first half.Then no break would be taken,& the teams would turn & play the second half of 45 minutes.Both teams were aware of the decision. During the twelve minutes to finish the second half, the home team scored making the score 2v1. The half finished the referee blew the whistle to turn around for the second half. However the visiting team decided that they were not going to participate in the second half & walked in protest due to no break being allowed between halves. The referee gave them seven minutes to retake their position on the field to no avail.

They simply got dressed & left the ground. Please can you advise if the team should falfit the game & the points be awrded to the home side who were winning at the time of abandoment, or should the game have to be replayed. Please can you give reference to the fifa rule if any, that answers this dilemma.

Answer (May 27, 2008):
The referee's decision to forego the halftime break was not in keeping with Law 8:
Half-Time Interval
Players are entitled to an interval at half-time.
The halftime interval must not exceed 15 minutes.
Competition rules must state the duration of the half-time interval.
The duration of the halftime interval may be altered only with the consent of the referee.

While the Law does allow the referee to consent to alteration of the DURATION of the halftime break, it does not permit the referee to do away with the interval if even only one player wants the break.



I had an incident in a recent match which, despite much reflection, review of The Laws (and position papers, etc...), and deliberation with other referees, is still unsettled in my mind.

Basically, the situation involves a shot by ORANGE that is without any doubt on a path to enter YELLOW's goal. Yellow defender (not the goalkeeper) while on the goal-line, between the uprights, leaps and handles the ball in mid-air directly back onto the field of play. I stop play, look to my AR to see if he has information, and he beckons me over. His words were simple "Ball went in the goal. Still a caution to [Yellow defender who handled the ball] for misconduct."

Now, it's my understanding that a player can be cautioned for unsuccessfully attempting to deny an obvious goal (say, by handling it, or some other foul). But the controversy here is whether or not you can still caution this Yellow player if the ball had already entered the goal when he handled it. [FYI - In this case, if the ball crossed the plane of the goal as the AR stated, then the ball MUST have entered before he batted the ball away from the goal with his hand.]

Support for cautioning Yellow was the 7+7 memo a few years ago, saying that an attempting to deny a goal/opportunity can be a caution. Support for not cautioning Yellow is that handling the ball after a goal is scored is not an offense because the ball is now out of play.

I lean towards the latter being the correct course of action (award the goal and no caution), but I need some insight outside of my immediate peers and leadership (too many strong, yet opposing opinions here). The only I seem to be able to conclude is that this is a gray area of The Laws. If you confirm that idea or offer a different conclusion, great. Thank you in advance for any guidance on this. If you need clarification on any of my descriptions, or lack thereof, please ask.

Answer (May 27, 2008):
The case for a caution for the apparent misconduct after the goal was already scored is iffy -- not nonexistent, but iffy. Depending on the circumstances and on what had been occurring in this game up to that moment, the referee could defend a caution based on the argument that the player's action was taken with the intent of preventing a goal and the fact that it was not only unsuccessful but too late as well does not eliminate the intent. A better solution might be to simply warn the player and remark on his good fortune that he might only have been attempting to prevent the ball from hitting the netting at the back of the goal because it appeared weak and likely to tear.

In any event, you will not find this and many other examples of unsporting behavior documented anywhere. They belong to that category of actions known as bringing the game into disrepute, for which a caution (under the category of unsporting behavior) should be given.



If a player loses a boot during open play and continues to play on ( not just kicks the ball away or has a shot at goal) what should the referee do as the player could be putting himself at risk of injury.

If the referee stops play and asks the player to leave the field of play so that he can put his boot back on and then return with the referees permission, how does the referee restart the match. Does he give a drop ball where the ball was when he stopped play or does he award an indrect free kick to the other side ?

Answer (May 26, 2008):
This answer of March 8, 2005 is still valid:
There is no need for the referee to stop the match if the boot was lost accidentally and did not disturb any other players. The player is expected to replace the boot as quickly as possible and get on with play. The referee neither needs to nor should ask the player to leave the field to put the boot back on. Aside from immediate danger, the loss of a boot should be handled the same way as is any issue of illegal equipment: advise the player to correct the problem during play and then, at the next stoppage, require a departure from the field only if the player could not or chose not to comply with the request.

However, if the referee does stop play for this incident, the only possible restart is a dropped ball, taken from the place where the ball was when play was stopped (subject to the special circumstances of Law 8).


U.S. Soccer thanks Jim Allen (National Instructor Staff/National Assessor), assisted by Dan Heldman (National Instructor Staff), for their assistance in providing this service. Direction is provided by Alfred Kleinaitis, Manager of Referee Development and Education, with further assistance from Julie Ilacqua, Managing Director of Referee Programs (administrative matters); David McKee, National Director of Assessment (assessment matters); and Ulrich Strom, National Instructor and National Assessor (matters in general).

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