There was an incident in a match I was recently AR for while the referee was distracted by an injured player from the play. I was the trail AR and the lead AR did not think a foul was committed. It happened on the far side of the field from the other AR. It was the center's "quadrant". I believed the offense was a foul and a send off for either serious foul play or the denial of an obvious goal scoring opportunity. The offense apparently was retaliatory. From my point of view the foul and misconduct was obvious. The other AR was parallel to the play and did not see the leg stick out as apparently as it did to me. The referee did stop play but he stopped play for the injury. Although I was far from the play I had a clear view. The coaches were on my side and the coach who saw the incident was yelling for a foul. I raised my flag. The center ran over to the other AR to discuss the incident. He then saw my flag and I waved him over. I asked him whether the other AR had seen the incident. "He saw nothing." (which I later would learn meant he did not believe it was a foul but for the sake of this question we will assume the AR had been looking at the injured player too). I then advised the center that a foul had occurred and that there should be misconduct. He replied that it was not my call to make since it was not in my quadrant. I had a much clearer view then the other two officials on the field and I was told that this was not my place to make a decision because of how the decision would look. I thought that the duty of the AR was to advice the center when he/she has a better view of the incident which was obvious in this case. How should these incidents be handled and should the center take my advice even though I was a good 40 yards away from the incident.
The summary: Other officials were distracted, incident in the other half of the field and was near the 30 yard line, I had a clear view and believed it was a foul and misconduct. What should be the procedure for this situation?
Answer (March 31, 2009):
Some referees suffer from ego or insecurity problems. Do your job as assistant referee and let them do theirs.
You followed the correct procedure, but you need to remember that your primary role as an AR is to ASsist, not INsist. The AR provides information to the referee. If the referee fails to accept that information, no matter the reason, then the AR accepts the decision and gets on with the game. He or she has done his/her duty and the referee has made a decision and the referee alone bears the burden of living with the consequences.
You can run the line for us any time.
And, just to be certain that ALL referees and ARs are on the same page, we need to remind everyone that there is no such thing as an "AR quadrant" and a "referee quadrant" -- Law 6 makes it VERY clear that the weighing of AR information should be based on who has the "better view" and that this applies not only to whether the referee or an AR has a better view, but also to which AR might have a better view. "Quadrants" went out of favor years ago.
FOLLOW-UP TO "REFEREE SIGNAL VS. ASSISTANT REFEREE SIGNAL"
There is a question and answer provided on the USSF website which asks, and then confirms, that in the event of a throw-in in the area of the AR, the referee does not need to signal if the AR's signal is correct. However, this reminded me of a situation that was brought up in the Recertification Class I just recently took. In the example given, the AR raised the flag for offsides, but was waved down by the Referee a few seconds later, because the keeper ended up getting the ball. However, as the AR was in the act of lowering his flag, the keeper dropped the ball to the ground, assuming it was offsides, and the opposing attacker ran in and took the ball and scored. The correct answer in this situation, we were told, is that the goal should stand, since the AR does not actually have the authority to make calls, and since the referee had not called the offsides, the game was officially still in progress when the keeper dropped the ball. They also told us that the keeper should be clearly instructed not to pay attention to any calls made by the AR unless the referee has called them.
However, this seems to contradict the answer given in this question. In the example given in the question of a throw-in, the referee makes no signal or acknowledgement that the ball is out of play, and the only figure signaling the proper restart is the AR. This seems to imply that signals given by the AR CAN be considered valid, even with no signal from the referee. Telling players to follow signals given by the AR in some cases, but ignore them in other cases, is quite confusing and could easily and understandably result in an example such as the one I have provided.
So, what is the proper decision? Should the referee signal for all restarts of play, or should the players be conditioned to follow the signals given by the AR, potentially resulting in situations that could significantly affect the outcome of the game?
Answer (March 31, 2009):
Perhaps you have misread our answer of 24 March 2009. It is not simply a case of the referee not needing to signal at those times when the assistant referee is right, but of the referee NOT NEEDING TO SIGNAL UNLESS A SIGNAL IS NEEDED. The controlling source here is the Guide to Procedures, which clearly states that the referee does not need to signal when the ball has left the field where the AR is expected to give the signal "unless necessary" -- which makes the real question, "When might it be necessary?" It might be necessary if the AR is incorrect (the referee saw a touch on the ball which the AR did not or could not see); the players are continuing to play the ball despite the signal by the AR; the players acknowledge that the ball left the field, but are disputing the AR's signal as to which team has possession, etc. All referees should note that, technically under the Law, the players are required to stop playing the ball when it leaves the field and this does not take any signal by the AR or referee (yet we often hear coaches, somewhat cynically, tell their players to keep playing the ball until there is a signal, even when they know absolutely that the ball has left the field. The AR's signal merely confirms a fact -- it does not create it.
With regard to the offside situation, let us remind you of the old saying: "The Laws of the Game are not intended to compensate for the mistakes of players." The ball leaving the field is a physical fact (see above) whereas offside, fouls, etc. are pure judgment calls, which is why it takes the referee's signal to actually create the conditions for a stoppage. Here, the referee DID signal -- he waved down the AR's flag -- which every player should have taken to mean that the AR's prior signal is to be ignored. The fact that the goalkeeper failed to understand this is the goalkeeper's problem, not a problem in mechanics.
SUBSTITUTIONS AFTER THE 2 MINUTE WARNING?
I've been enforcing the no substitution after the 2 minute warning has surpassed. I was question by a U-15 coach of why I do that and ask if he could see it in black and white. Can you assist me please? I've searched the "Guide to Procedures", "Laws of the Game" and FIFA's website and still have nothing to show. If I'm wrong then I'm wrong but I know I've seen it before in writing but can't seem to remember where I saw it. Can you please assist?
Answer (March 30, 2009):
We are unaware of any rules that do not allow substitution in the last two minutes of any game. Several possibilities come to mind that may have confused you on this matter:
1. Could this be a local rule of competition, something imposed by the league or local association?
2. Are you thinking of the instruction in high school soccer for a "two minute warning" prior to the end of each half (and before the halftime break is over) to mean that no substitution can take place? This rule does not forbid substitution during that period of time.
3. Are you thinking of the requirement in college soccer that the clock be stopped for any substitution occurring within the last five minutes of play in the second half but only if the substitution is being made by the team winning at the time? Even that rule does not forbid substitution during the period in question.
None of those rules except, perhaps, your local rules of competition, forbids substitution in the waning minutes of play.
4. Or, most likely of all, have you fallen for the myth propagated by many older referees -- those people who always tell you how the game should "really" be refereed, because "We don't follow the Laws of the Game, which are dead wrong" -- that referees should prevent substitutions during the last "x" (usually 2) minutes of play because, by their definition at least, this is being done solely to waste time? That, too, is wrong, and we deal with that in the USSF publication "Advice to Referees on the Laws of the Game":
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.
During the pregame discussion, the role of each official in managing the substitution process should be discussed in detail. Every effort should made to ensure awareness of local substitution rules, to follow procedures which facilitate substitutions with a minimum of delay, to avoid overlooking valid substitution requests, and to prevent the substitution process from being abused by teams seeking to gain an unfair advantage.
3.6 ALLOWING SUBSTITUTIONS AND ADDING TIME
Except for situations described in 3.5, referees may not ignore or deny permission for a legal substitution that is properly requested. Although Law 3 requires that the referee be "informed before any proposed substitution is made," this does not mean that the referee can deny permission for any reason other than to ensure that the substitution conforms to the Law. Even if it seems that the purpose is to waste time, the referee cannot deny the request, but should exercise the power granted in Law 7 to add time lost through "any other cause." (Rules of those competitions that permit multiple substitutions and re-entries can sometimes lead to confusion. Study the Advice under 8.3 regarding the start of the second half.)
If, before the start of a match played under the rules of a competition, a player is replaced by a named substitute without the referee having been notified, this substitute, now a player, is permitted to play, but should be cautioned for entering the field of play without the permission of the referee. This is considered to be an improper manipulation of the roster, rather than a substitution, and does not count against the number of substitutions the team is permitted to use.
PARRYING BY THE GOALKEEPER
I have a question about goalkeeper parrying. In FIFA's Laws of the Game 2008/2009 (on-line version), in the section "Interpretation of the Laws of the Game and Guidelines for Referees", it states on p. 111:
A goalkeeper is not permitted to touch the ball with his hand inside his own penalty area in the following circumstances:
* if he handles the ball again after it has been released from his possession and has not touched any other player:
- the goalkeeper is considered to be in control of the ball by touching it with any part of his hands or arms except if the ball rebounds accidentally from him, for example, after he has made a save
- possession of the ball includes the goalkeeper deliberately parrying the ball
In all my years of playing, coaching, and now refereeing soccer, I don't think I've ever seen a referee award an indirect free kick for parrying, although I am pretty sure I've seen goalkeepers parry the ball. In fact, the just other other day I saw the following in an English Premier League match: ball is crossed into the penalty area from the flank; goalkeeper goes up for it in a crowd, but facing no direct challenge from at attacking player (i.e. keeper is the only one jumping up for the ball) ; goalkeeper uses his hands, almost like a volleyball set, to direct the ball beyond the far post where there is nothing but green grass; goalkeeper follows his "self set" and collects the ball in his hands. Referee allows play to go on.
Wouldn't this be a prime example of parrying? If yes, shouldn't the referee have awarded an indirect free kick to the attacking team? If no, could you explain what parrying is (and maybe why it's almost never called)? Thanks a lot!
Answer (March 30, 2009):
We cannot comment on decisions taken by referees in other countries, particularly in top-level play. We can only suggest that whether the play was a parry or a true clearance of the ball, the decision can be made only in the opinion of the referee on the game. You or I don't have any input in the referee's decision.
Referees do need to remember that goalkeepers are sneaky and actively attempt to deceive the referee as to parrying vs. deflection. Even if the decision is that the initial contact was a parry, followed directly by a second contact with the hand, the referee always has the option to decide that it didn't matter enough to stop play for the offense. A trifling offense at best.
THROW-INS AND LINES
I have a question that I'm hoping that you can answer on both a practical basis, and a historical basis.
If the lines are part of the area that they surround, and the ball is out of play when the whole ball crosses the whole line, then why is it that a player can stand on the line while taking a throw-in? It doesn't seem to make any sense. I would think that if the ball is out of play over the touch line, that the thrower would have to stand completely off the field, and then throw the ball back onto the field.
I'm sure that there is a practical and historical reason for this, I just don't know what it could be.
Answer (March 30, 2009):
We, too, are intrigued to know the answer, but we were unable to find anything in writing. However, a noted historian of the Laws of the Game suggests that a practical reason for requiring the thrower to stand on or outside the touch line is to help localize the point where the ball left the field. It is intended to discourage a throw from several yards away from the line and the ball entering the field far from the correct entry point.
As a further contribution to the historical side, the two-handed throw-in from the touchline developed after a compromise settlement between varying sets of rules, some of which allowed single-handed throws. This occurred at the first IFAB meeting in December 1882, and resulted in a two-handed throw in any direction. In 1895 throwing distance was restricted by a rule compelling the thrower to stand with part of both feet on the touchline. The rule was changed so that the thrower's foot had to be outside the touchline (1925) or on or outside the touchline (1932), which is the rule today.
For further information on the throw-in and other items related to the Laws and customs of the game, see "Ward's Soccerpedia," a history of The Lore and Laws of the Beautiful Game, by Andrew Ward.
"NOT A FOUL"
I've been seen more professional referees making a gesture (and probably saying something too) to indicate that while a player may have expected a call, the referee wants to say/indicate that it was "not a foul."
The gesture is usually a pointing with an outstretched arm to the spot or person. Sometimes there seems to be a motion with the hand to perhaps indicate "get up" to the "non-fouled" player. Occasionally a more emphatic "baseball-ump-safe" signal is used.
Since I'm seeing these on TV and not hearing what's being said, I'd like to know what verbalization is suggested for "not a foul." I've used "play on" in these instances especially with younger players, but know that phrase should more be reserved to indicate "advantage." I'm aware that the upswept arms and "play on" or "advantage" should be only used to indicate the application of "advantage" relative to what would have been actually a foul. I'm looking for clarification on the best way to indicate a true "non foul" situation.
I also believe and have been instructed that "purists" would rather never say anything nor gesture for a "non-call." But at many levels of the game, both teams may almost stop expecting a call that is not made, so it seems that the referee needs to somehow indicate to "keep playing; I'm not calling anything there!" And, it does seem that more referees are providing some sort of verbal and/or gesture.
What can you recommend for these situations?
Answer (March 30, 2009):
Referees should constantly interact with the players to let them know that he or she is in touch with the game and what is going on. This interaction can take the form of speaking, gesturing, always making the correct call or simply "being there" for all the action. (Position is almost everything in refereeing.) How this is accomplished is part of the referee's personality. Some referees speak with the players all the time, praising them for sporting or good athletic play, or mildly admonishing them for borderline behavior. Some referees will use gestures such as you describe, asking the players to get up when it is clear they are not seriously injured or telling them that no foul has been committed.
When no foul has been committed, the referee should use every reasonable means to inform the players that there was nothing illegal there. This can range from saying "No foul" or "Go on!" or "Nothing there!" or, as you suggest, "Keep playing!" or something similar to get the message across. What a referee should NEVER do in this situation is make the mistake of suggesting that there is an advantage either by saying "Play on" or giving the upswept arms signal for the advantage. The referee who does this dilutes the importance of the advantage signal and confuses the players as to what is a foul (or misconduct) and what is fair play. That makes it harder for the rest of us in managing the match in the next game these teams play.
We are not sure who these "purists" are, who would not keep the players informed of the state of the game, but they do not belong in the refereeing corps.
OFFSIDE: TOUCHING THE BALL
shouldn't the 3-25-09 position paper include "or makes a credible move to play the ball" as stated in the april 07 position paper?
Answer (March 30, 2009):
O tempora! O mores! Times change, and so do interpretations.
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 Paul Tamberino, Director of Referee Development; David McKee, National Director of Assessment (assessment matters); and Ulrich Strom, National Instructor and National Assessor (matters in general).
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