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May 2003 Archive (Part II of II)


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


THE "V8" CLAUSE
Your question:
Advice to Referees, paragraph 14.10, requires that a penalty kick be retaken for infringement by the attacking or defending team (depending on the specific circumstance). However, it also advises referees to use judgement to disregard trifling or doubtful violations of this requirement.

Can you provide guidance on what constitutes trifling violations? Does the infringement alone, without impacting the shooter or the goalkeeper, constitute a violation?

USSF answer (May 22, 2003):
Some very wise words that were once in the Laws of the Game, Law V, International Board Decision 8, familiarly known as the "V8" clause, instructed referees that "The Laws of the Game are intended to provide that games should be played with as little interference as possible, and in this view it is the duty of referees to penalize only deliberate breaches of the Law. Constant whistling for trifling and doubtful breaches produces bad feeling and loss of temper on the part of the players and spoils the pleasure of spectators." These same words are preserved as an embodiment of the Spirit of the Game in the USSF publication "Advice to Referees on the Laws of the Game," section 5.5.

Trifling is trifling when the result of the action makes absolutely no difference to the game. Or, in other words, when the result is to get the ball back into play, the Law has been served and what comes after that is just part of the game.

Doubtful means it probably wasn't a foul at all, but people reacted and started asking for the doubtful "foul" to be called.

The "severity" of the infringement is not the issue; the issue is what effect did it have. The intelligent referee's action: If the infringement had no obvious effect on play, consider the infringement to have been trifling and let it go. If it was not trifling, punish it.

We cannot give a list of possible "trifling" violations of the Law. The referee need consider only this: Was there an offense? Could it have been called? Should it be called if, in the opinion of the referee, the infraction was doubtful or trifling? No.


RENDERING (PARA)MEDICAL ASSISTANCE
Your question:
I was wondering if, as a referee I could step in if there was a medical emergency. I thought before that I have heard that you are not supposed to at all, but it wasnt't very clear. I was wondering if there is an USSF rule about that.

USSF answer (May 22, 2003):
In this litigious society of ours, a referee who is not a licensed medical practitioner would be well advised to stay out of any medical emergency that occurs during the game that referee is working.

The situation is generally controlled by state law (sometimes called a "good Samaritan" law, but also laws that cover specific professions). In some states, you are expected to perform whatever emergency services you are trained/certified to do. An EMT who is also a referee must therefore take off his referee hat and put on his EMT hat if faced with a serious injury on the field. Otherwise, stay out of it and remember that there are other important referee things you could be doing while staying out of it.


COUNT THE 'KEEPER TOO!
Your question:
What role does the keeper play in offsides? Are they considered one of the last two defenders? Or are they in addition to the last two defenders?

USSF answer (May 22, 2003):
A good question, as far too many people ask it and it needs answering.

According to Law 11 (Offside), "a player is in an offside position if he is nearer to his opponents' goal line than both the ball and the second last opponent." Notice that the Law does not speak of defenders or goalkeepers, but of opponents. The opposing team is composed of the goalkeeper and ten other players, who may be defenders, midfielders, attackers, or whatever fancy name the coach happens to attach to a particular position -- but they are all "opponents." The goalkeeper is normally one of the last two opponents a player on the other team sees between himself and the opponents' goal line, but the goalkeeper does not have to be one of the last two opponents. But, when he is one of the last two, he counts!


KEEP YOUR EARS AND YOUR MOUTH SHUT!
Your question:
I answered the desperate call in my community when they asked for referees last fall. I ref'd, and played, years ago but had gotten out of it. I moved to [another state] and thought it would be a great way to get exercise, make money, and help kids learn the game. However, it is becoming increasingly difficult to continue to do this week after week, not because of players, but the coaches and spectators. They make it very difficult with the constant badgering, comments, and remarks directed at the referee. (Even the players tell them to be quite). The league that I primarily ref for has instituted a T.S.L. ( Team Sportsmanship Liaison) for each game, and the ref now fills out surveys on how each team, coach, and spectators conduct themselves during the match. But, nothing changes.

Before each game I meet with each coach and team and clearly explain the rules and how the game will be called, what I am looking for, etc.

I have no problem making coaches or spectators leave, but all that does is slow down the game, take away from the players time on the field, and raise my stress level. Do you have any suggestions, or have heard of other ways to control or minimize this action??

USSF answer (May 22, 2003):
In most cases, the referee should work actively to tune out comments by the spectators, particularly at youth matches, most of whom know little about the game, but who want to "protect" their children. Why should the referee tune them out? Because the referee can do nothing about comments that do not bring the game into disrepute. If the referee fails to "tune out" the spectators, they will take over (psychological) control of the game and the referee is lost.

However, do not despair. The referee does possess a powerful tool with which to control spectators. The referee may stop, suspend or terminate the match because of outside interference of any kind. If no other recourse remains, the referee may inform the team that the match is suspended and may be terminated unless "that person over there" is removed from the area of field.

And here is some more practical advice: For most referees and particularly for referees who don't have a lot of experience (we are talking many hundreds of games), it is generally not a good idea to assemble the masses -- coach, team, etc. -- and "clearly explain the rules and how the game will be called, what I am looking for, etc." The Guide to Procedures indicates what must be done prior to the match and, aside from identifying oneself and providing a brief professional greeting to the coaches, nothing more is called for . . . and certainly not any extended disquisition on the Laws of the Game. The more the referee opens his mouth, the more hanging rope is provided to the coach (or anyone within hearing distance) that can be used against the referee later on -- "But you SAID you were going to do . . ."!


REDUCE TO EQUATE
Your question:
During one of your responses this past posting, you talked about circumstances of unsporting behavior during the taking of a PK. It got me to considering the following scenario which I am baffled on.

What happens if a player taking the PK receives his second caution of the match for his unsporting behavior and is sent off (or commits some other foolish act to receive a straight send off I suppose)? Now, during the course of the match, this answer is simple, another player simply takes a kick since any player on the team may take a penalty kick for a foul during play. But what about the taking of kicks from the mark to determine a winner? In this case there is a previously determined order in the taking of kicks that must be followed. Who should replace the shooter in this case, and what happens to the kick order for the other team? It seems they must then reduce to the matching number of kickers, but in what way is this done?

I know it's a fairly unlikely scenario, but it's not often I come up with one that I am truly and completely stumpped on.

USSF answer (May 22, 2003):
It's time for a reminder to all referees about the memorandum put out June 11, 2002 regarding the principle of "reduce to equate." Your answer lies within. We might also point out that there is no "predetermined order" for taking kicks from the penalty mark. The referee simply notes down the numbers of the players as they take their kicks. If a player is dismissed during the taking of kicks from the penalty mark, a player who has not shot during this round of kicks moves up. The other team does not have to reduce its numbers.

Where you strayed from the true path was in assuming (as, unfortunately, many referees do) that the coach must give the referee a list of five players who will start the procedure and that the players must kick in this order. No, no such list is required or given; no, no order is required (aside from the rule against kicking twice).

To: Chair, State Referee Committee
State Referee Administrators
State Directors of Referee Instruction
State Directors of Referee Assessment
National Referees
National Assessors
National Instructors

From: Alfred Kleinaitis
Manager of Referee Development and Education

Re: Kicks from the Penalty Mark

The "Reduce to Equate" Principle

Date: June 11, 2002

The Laws of the Game provide for the taking of kicks from the penalty mark as one way to decide which team will advance when, after regulation play and any extra periods of play required by the rules of competition are ended, the score remains tied.

The specific rules governing the match ("the rules of competition") can differ in this regard. For example, FIFA requires up to two fifteen minute periods of play with the first goal ending the match.

The purpose of this position paper is to focus on one particular element of the taking of kicks which has recently been introduced and remains subject to some uncertainty - the "reduce to equate" principle. Introduced into The Laws of the Game in 2001, the principle ensures that teams begin the procedure with the same number of players.

The following guidelines are to be used in implementing "reduce to equate" in those matches for which the rules of competition mandate the taking of kicks from the penalty mark. "Regulation play" includes any extra periods of play called for by the rules of competition. "Kicks" will refer generally to the taking of kicks from the penalty mark.

- The kicks phase of the match begins at the moment regulation play ends (including any overtime periods of play.)

- A team might have fewer than eleven players eligible to participate at the end of regulation play due to injury or misconduct or because the team began the match with fewer players.

- The captain of the team with more players must identify which of its players will not participate if regulation play ends with the team at unequal sizes.

- "Players eligible to participate" includes those players who are legally on the field at the end of regulation play, plus any other players off the field temporarily (e.g., to correct equipment, bleeding, or having an injury tended).

- Only the goalkeeper may be substituted in the case of injury during the kicks phase and only if the team has a substitution remaining from its permitted maximum.

- Once kicks begin (following any "reduce to equate" adjustment), a player may become unable to participate due to injury or ineligible to participate due to misconduct.

- Under no circumstances will a team be required to "reduce to equate" if the opposing team loses one or more players due to injury or misconduct occurring during the kicks phase of the match.

- Until a result is produced, both teams must continue to use their eligible players without duplication until all (including the goalkeeper) have kicked, at which time players who have already kicked may kick again. If one team has fewer players than the other, it will need to begin using again its players who have already kicked sooner than will the opposing team.


NO DUAL SYSTEM!
Your question:
I am an assignor for games U-10 through U-19 and am also a high school referee. In high school we use duals quite a bit and it is a great way to officiate a game when you only have two referees. In my assigning duties, I am often unable to find more than two officials for one of the youth games and I would like to be able to use the dual system, yet I know that FIFA strictly prohibits duals. Why can't FIFA allow the use of dual referees in youth soccer? We have a chronic shortage of officials and this would one way to help ensure fair play.

USSF answer (May 22, 2003):
The United States Soccer Federation does not recognize the two-man or dual system of control. Games played under the auspices of US Youth Soccer or US Soccer may be officiated only under the diagonal system of control, as provided for in the Laws of the Game. You can find the information you need in the Referee Administrative Handbook:

QUOTE
POLICY:

Systems of Officiating Soccer Games

The Laws of the Game recognize only one system for officiating soccer games, namely the diagonal system of control (DSC), consisting of three officials - one referee and two assistant referees. All national competitions sponsored by the U.S. Soccer Federation. require the use of this officiating system.

In order to comply with the Laws of the Game which have been adopted by the National Council, all soccer games sanctioned directly or indirectly by member organizations of the U. S. Soccer Federation must employ the diagonal system (three officials). As a matter of policy, the National Referee Committee prefers the following alternatives in order of preference:
1. One Federation referee and two Federation referees as assistant referees (the standard ALL organizations should strive to meet).
2. One Federation referee and two assistant referees, one of whom is a Federation referee and one of whom is a trainee of the local referee program.
3. One Federation referee and two assistant referees who are both unrelated to either team participating in the game but are not Federation referees, (only if there are not enough Federation referees to have #1 or #2).
4. One Federation referee and two assistant referees who are not both Federation referees and who are affiliated with the participating teams, (only if there are not enough Federation referees to have #1 or #2).

Member organizations and their affiliates should make every effort to assist in recruiting officials so that enough Federation referees will be available to permit use of the diagonal officiating system for ALL their competitions.
END OF QUOTE

If only two officials turn up at the field, one must be the referee (with the whistle), while the other becomes an assistant referee. They split the field between them, but only one may make the final decisions and blow the whistle.


OFFSIDE
Your question:
The goalie makes a save from a shot from a forward. He then punts the ball, it lands on the opposing teams side of the field, where there is a teamate in the offside position, he gets the ball and scores. The referee said that the player was not offside, is that the correct call? He is not offside on a goal kick, but not on a kick where the goalie made the save.

USSF answer (May 22, 2003):
In this case, the referee was wrong. If a player is in an offside position and is actively involved in play by gaining an advantage from that position when his goalkeeper punts the ball to him, the player must be declared offside.


WHAT IS AN "ASSIST"?
Your question:
Please define an "assist."

USSF answer (May 22, 2003):
Assists are those plays of the ball which contributed to the scoring of a goal. Their type and number are determined by either the competition authority (the people who sponsor the league, cup, tournament, whatever) or statisticians. As such, they are not a matter of concern for referees in any affiliated competition. Real referees don't care about assists, unless you mean assistant referees, and certainly do not keep track of them nor have any need to know about them.


THE "SPORTING THING"
Your question:
In a recent match in which I played, my team was down by a single goal late in the game. One of the opposing players went down with an "injury" after being barely touched by one of my teammates. I was sure, as was the rest of my team, that this was a delay tactic by the injured player. Just after the injury, the ball came to be in my possession in my own half and I decided to keep playing and dribble the ball upfield. I realize that the sporting thing to do would be to kick the ball out-of-touch to allow the injured player to receive treatment, but I am not aware of any rule that requires me to kick the ball out-of-touch. The referee told me to kick the ball out of play. I initially hesitated as I did not realize that it is within the referee's powers to force a player to do such a thing. When I did not initially kick the ball over the sideline, the referee threatened to card me if I did not kick the ball out of play. I eventually kicked the ball out and the injured player made a miraculous recovery. I just feel that if I had been the referee and the player was truly injured, I would have blown the whistle to stop play and restarted with a drop ball after the injured player had been attended to. I realize that referees are required to maintain the safety of the players on the field , but are referees allowed to enforce this sporting out-of-touch play, or did the referee overstep his authority?

USSF answer (May 22, 2003):
Other than sending a player off the field to make equipment corrections, the referee cannot order a player to make any specific play during the game, and certainly cannot threaten to caution or send that player off for not obeying that order. The only orders a referee can give is for a player to leave the field for repair of equipment or because the player has been dismissed.

If the referee believes that a player is seriously injured, then the referee has the power to stop the game and then restart it with a dropped ball. (If the referee believes that a player is not seriously injured, then the referee must allow play to continue until the ball goes out of play naturally.)


WHAT INFRINGEMENT?
Your question:
What is the call: 1. The goalkeeper released the ball while standing inside the eighteen yard box, the ball traveled outside the box and the goalkeeper kicked the ball. 2. The goal keeper threw the ball outside the eighteen yard box, then the goalkeeper kicked the ball as it bounced outside the box.

USSF answer (May 22, 2003):
What is the call? A counter question: Where is the infringement of the Law? The referee cannot make a call without a reason, and there is no reason here. The call is that there has been no infringement of the Law -- the referee should keep his mouth shut and his whistle at his side.

Perhaps the nature of your confusion might be clearer if you wrote back to indicate what infringement you think MIGHT have occurred in these two situations.


CHECK THE CARDS!!
Your question:
I reffed a game today, U9 boys, where after the game was over it was brought to my attention that a player on one of the teams was put on the lineup sheet and played but isn't on that team (not on the official roster). I approached the coach, asked to see their player cards...he said to see the manager, the manager first said that since we played the game it was too late to make a difference....again, I asked him for the cards, he said he didn't have them....then, I asked him which player was the one not on their team, he wouldn't tell me...I paused, he started laughing at me, then I gave the manager a red card for not cooperating and for his demeaning attitude.......then, I asked the managers from both teams to wait for me to call the head of refs in our area to help me with whether to have them sign the Official Referee Report(and Team Line Up sheet)......I couldnt reach the person.....so, I didn't have them sign the report....................
1. Should the game be allowed to stand? (by the way, the team with the ineligible player won).,
2. Should I still have had them sign the sheet?
3. Did I have the right to Red Card the manager for this type of behavior?
I am not turning in the Ref Reports until I find out these answers......please give me your opinion.....I also have a call into the Ref Liason for our League......thanks so much.

USSF answer (May 19, 2003):
This question was answered here on April 3, 2003: "This is a problem for the competition authority to resolve, not the referee. If the player has a legitimate pass and is listed on the team roster, there is nothing the referee can do.
"Although the referee is not in a position to make any ultimate determination here (the player must be allowed to play), the referee can and should include details of the incident in his game report."

You should have checked the roster and the player cards thoroughly before the game. As you did not do that, you can only include full details in your match report. The competition authority will have to resolve the matter.

Furthermore, your misuse of the red card should be noted. First, we don't show cards to coaches unless local rules permit it and, second, a red-card-like action (card shown or not) for this would hardly be appropriate.

NOTE: The questioner has since informed us that the player registration cards in this league are checked before the game by the team managers, not the officiating crew. So why didn't the opposing manager say something before the match, instead of waiting till the game was over?


ACCIDENTAL HANDLING SHOULD NOT BE PUNISHED!
Your question:
Two questions:
1) In the case of accidental handling, and the player who made contact then plays the ball.......handling or not?

Under 12.9 in the Laws of the game, it states:
"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.

This would seem to indicate that you would call handling in the above situation. But later in the law it states:
The fact that a player may benefit from the ball contacting the hand does not transform the otherwise accidental event into an infringement.

The two parts of the law seem to contradict each other. Is this situation handling or not?

2) The goalkeeper, in the process of releasing the ball, goes well beyond the penalty area (2-3 feet) with the ball in her possession (hand). I called handling and restarted with a DFK for the opposing team. Another referee thought the restart would be a IFK. What's the restart?

USSF answer (May 18, 2003):
Much as we would like to claim credit -- or maybe not -- the USSF publication "Advice to Referees on the Laws of the Game" is not the Laws themselves. Those portions of Section 12.9 of the Advice to Referees read exactly as you have cited them. Unfortunately, you have misread the first of them to fit your premise. You then compound the sin by carrying the analogy into a totally different area, that of the goalkeeper carrying the ball outside the area. You did one thing right by awarding the direct free kick for the opposing team.

The first portion refers to a ball that hits the player's hand accidentally, at which time the light bulb goes on in the player's head, suggesting that this would be a good time to make use of that accidental contact by embellishing it a bit and moving the ball voluntarily and deliberately a little farther along the path toward the opponent's goal. That is different from the second portion, which describes a ball accidentally hitting the player's hand and falling into a favorable position of its own momentum. The first is wrong and should be punished, while the second is fortunate for the player but not illegal -- and should not be punished.


SHOW RESPECT TO PLAYERS AND COACHES
Your question:
Can you tell me how a referee can give a coach a red card after the game? When the coach simply and gentelmanly told the referee that he thought he missed a few calls. There was no prior cautions (yellow card) issued during or after the game. Is the referee allowed to over react in situations and players or coaches have no recource. Alot is written about conduct of coaches and players but not much on referees! For example, a referee has an argument with their significant other and still fells irritated at a game later, and hands out yellow and red cards. How can you protest under the laws of the game if you cannot protest the referees judgement calls. Thank you

USSF answer (May 18, 2003):
Some facts of the game:
(1) Referees do not have to explain their calls, and neither players nor coaches should question the referees under any circumstances. Coaches are expected to provide their players with encouragement and helpful suggestions (also known as responsible behavior), players are expected to play, and the referee is expected to manage the game -- with full respect for the players and coaches for the work they are doing, as well as with a certain amount of communication directly related to events during the game. The referee is under no obligation to explain anything to the teams, but most referees are willing to say that it was an unfair charge or tripping or whatever it might have been -- if approached in a polite manner and not badgered by the player or the team official.

We tend to discourage this, as it has been our experience that providing such explanations seldom serves any purpose other than sparking further debate from those who really don't want an explanation in the first place. In any event, they often also divert the referee's attention from what is more important.

(2) a or any for is to after by card -- this the The referee and of game 2002:
26, August dated Cards, Display Misconduct memorandum, USSF According behavior. irresponsible official team expel dismiss may But competition. rules allowed specifically unless during, before, time, at red coach give not>"Persons who are not players, named substitutes, or substituted players cannot commit misconduct within the meaning of Law 12 and therefore cannot be shown yellow or red cards nor will their behavior be described in match reports as misconduct. Law 5 is very clear that "team officials" (coaches, trainers, etc.) must behave responsibly and, if they fail to do so, the referee has two primary courses of action. First, the referee may warn the team official that the irresponsible behavior puts him or her at risk. Second, the referee may expel the team official from the field and its immediate area. It is not necessary for a warning to be given in cases of extreme provocation."

According to the same memorandum, such action may be taken not only before and during the game, but also in that period of time immediately following a match during which the players and substitutes are physically on the field but in the process of exiting.

(3) According to Law 5 (The Referee), "The decisions of the referee regarding facts connected with play are final."


THE "V8" CLAUSE
Your question:
Advice to Referees, paragraph 14.10, requires that a penalty kick be retaken for infringement by the attacking or defending team (depending on the specific circumstance). However, it also advises referees to use judgement to disregard trifling or doubtful violations of this requirement.

Can you provide guidance on what constitutes trifling violations? Does the infringement alone, without impacting the shooter or the goalkeeper, constitute a violation?

USSF answer (May 22, 2003):
Some very wise words that were once in the Laws of the Game, Law V, International Board Decision 8, familiarly known as the "V8" clause, instructed referees that "The Laws of the Game are intended to provide that games should be played with as little interference as possible, and in this view it is the duty of referees to penalize only deliberate breaches of the Law. Constant whistling for trifling and doubtful breaches produces bad feeling and loss of temper on the part of the players and spoils the pleasure of spectators." These same words are preserved as an embodiment of the Spirit of the Game in the USSF publication "Advice to Referees on the Laws of the Game," section 5.5.

Trifling is trifling when the result of the action makes absolutely no difference to the game. Or, in other words, when the result is to get the ball back into play, the Law has been served and what comes after that is just part of the game.

Doubtful means it probably wasn't a foul at all, but people reacted and started asking for the doubtful "foul" to be called.

The "severity" of the infringement is not the issue; the issue is what effect did it have. The intelligent referee's action: If the infringement had no obvious effect on play, consider the infringement to have been trifling and let it go. If it was not trifling, punish it.

We cannot give a list of possible "trifling" violations of the Law. The referee need consider only this: Was there an offense? Could it have been called? Should it be called if, in the opinion of the referee, the infraction was doubtful or trifling? No.


RENDERING (PARA)MEDICAL ASSISTANCE
Your question:
I was wondering if, as a referee I could step in if there was a medical emergency. I thought before that I have heard that you are not supposed to at all, but it wasnt't very clear. I was wondering if there is an USSF rule about that.

USSF answer (May 22, 2003):
In this litigious society of ours, a referee who is not a licensed medical practitioner would be well advised to stay out of any medical emergency that occurs during the game that referee is working.

The situation is generally controlled by state law (sometimes called a "good Samaritan" law, but also laws that cover specific professions). In some states, you are expected to perform whatever emergency services you are trained/certified to do. An EMT who is also a referee must therefore take off his referee hat and put on his EMT hat if faced with a serious injury on the field. Otherwise, stay out of it and remember that there are other important referee things you could be doing while staying out of it.


COUNT THE 'KEEPER TOO!
Your question:
What role does the keeper play in offsides? Are they considered one of the last two defenders? Or are they in addition to the last two defenders?

USSF answer (May 22, 2003):
A good question, as far too many people ask it and it needs answering.

According to Law 11 (Offside), "a player is in an offside position if he is nearer to his opponents' goal line than both the ball and the second last opponent." Notice that the Law does not speak of defenders or goalkeepers, but of opponents. The opposing team is composed of the goalkeeper and ten other players, who may be defenders, midfielders, attackers, or whatever fancy name the coach happens to attach to a particular position -- but they are all "opponents." The goalkeeper is normally one of the last two opponents a player on the other team sees between himself and the opponents' goal line, but the goalkeeper does not have to be one of the last two opponents. But, when he is one of the last two, he counts!


KEEP YOUR EARS AND YOUR MOUTH SHUT!
Your question:
I answered the desperate call in my community when they asked for referees last fall. I ref'd, and played, years ago but had gotten out of it. I moved to [another state] and thought it would be a great way to get exercise, make money, and help kids learn the game. However, it is becoming increasingly difficult to continue to do this week after week, not because of players, but the coaches and spectators. They make it very difficult with the constant badgering, comments, and remarks directed at the referee. (Even the players tell them to be quite). The league that I primarily ref for has instituted a T.S.L. ( Team Sportsmanship Liaison) for each game, and the ref now fills out surveys on how each team, coach, and spectators conduct themselves during the match. But, nothing changes.

Before each game I meet with each coach and team and clearly explain the rules and how the game will be called, what I am looking for, etc.

I have no problem making coaches or spectators leave, but all that does is slow down the game, take away from the players time on the field, and raise my stress level. Do you have any suggestions, or have heard of other ways to control or minimize this action??

USSF answer (May 22, 2003):
In most cases, the referee should work actively to tune out comments by the spectators, particularly at youth matches, most of whom know little about the game, but who want to "protect" their children. Why should the referee tune them out? Because the referee can do nothing about comments that do not bring the game into disrepute. If the referee fails to "tune out" the spectators, they will take over (psychological) control of the game and the referee is lost.

However, do not despair. The referee does possess a powerful tool with which to control spectators. The referee may stop, suspend or terminate the match because of outside interference of any kind. If no other recourse remains, the referee may inform the team that the match is suspended and may be terminated unless "that person over there" is removed from the area of field.

And here is some more practical advice: For most referees and particularly for referees who don't have a lot of experience (we are talking many hundreds of games), it is generally not a good idea to assemble the masses -- coach, team, etc. -- and "clearly explain the rules and how the game will be called, what I am looking for, etc." The Guide to Procedures indicates what must be done prior to the match and, aside from identifying oneself and providing a brief professional greeting to the coaches, nothing more is called for . . . and certainly not any extended disquisition on the Laws of the Game. The more the referee opens his mouth, the more hanging rope is provided to the coach (or anyone within hearing distance) that can be used against the referee later on -- "But you SAID you were going to do . . ."!


REDUCE TO EQUATE
Your question:
During one of your responses this past posting, you talked about circumstances of unsporting behavior during the taking of a PK. It got me to considering the following scenario which I am baffled on.

What happens if a player taking the PK receives his second caution of the match for his unsporting behavior and is sent off (or commits some other foolish act to receive a straight send off I suppose)? Now, during the course of the match, this answer is simple, another player simply takes a kick since any player on the team may take a penalty kick for a foul during play. But what about the taking of kicks from the mark to determine a winner? In this case there is a previously determined order in the taking of kicks that must be followed. Who should replace the shooter in this case, and what happens to the kick order for the other team? It seems they must then reduce to the matching number of kickers, but in what way is this done?

I know it's a fairly unlikely scenario, but it's not often I come up with one that I am truly and completely stumpped on.

USSF answer (May 22, 2003):
It's time for a reminder to all referees about the memorandum put out June 11, 2002 regarding the principle of "reduce to equate." Your answer lies within. We might also point out that there is no "predetermined order" for taking kicks from the penalty mark. The referee simply notes down the numbers of the players as they take their kicks. If a player is dismissed during the taking of kicks from the penalty mark, a player who has not shot during this round of kicks moves up. The other team does not have to reduce its numbers.

Where you strayed from the true path was in assuming (as, unfortunately, many referees do) that the coach must give the referee a list of five players who will start the procedure and that the players must kick in this order. No, no such list is required or given; no, no order is required (aside from the rule against kicking twice).

To: Chair, State Referee Committee
State Referee Administrators
State Directors of Referee Instruction
State Directors of Referee Assessment
National Referees
National Assessors
National Instructors

From: Alfred Kleinaitis
Manager of Referee Development and Education

Re: Kicks from the Penalty Mark

The "Reduce to Equate" Principle

Date: June 11, 2002

The Laws of the Game provide for the taking of kicks from the penalty mark as one way to decide which team will advance when, after regulation play and any extra periods of play required by the rules of competition are ended, the score remains tied.

The specific rules governing the match ("the rules of competition") can differ in this regard. For example, FIFA requires up to two fifteen minute periods of play with the first goal ending the match.

The purpose of this position paper is to focus on one particular element of the taking of kicks which has recently been introduced and remains subject to some uncertainty - the "reduce to equate" principle. Introduced into The Laws of the Game in 2001, the principle ensures that teams begin the procedure with the same number of players.

The following guidelines are to be used in implementing "reduce to equate" in those matches for which the rules of competition mandate the taking of kicks from the penalty mark. "Regulation play" includes any extra periods of play called for by the rules of competition. "Kicks" will refer generally to the taking of kicks from the penalty mark.

- The kicks phase of the match begins at the moment regulation play ends (including any overtime periods of play.)

- A team might have fewer than eleven players eligible to participate at the end of regulation play due to injury or misconduct or because the team began the match with fewer players.

- The captain of the team with more players must identify which of its players will not participate if regulation play ends with the team at unequal sizes.

- "Players eligible to participate" includes those players who are legally on the field at the end of regulation play, plus any other players off the field temporarily (e.g., to correct equipment, bleeding, or having an injury tended).

- Only the goalkeeper may be substituted in the case of injury during the kicks phase and only if the team has a substitution remaining from its permitted maximum.

- Once kicks begin (following any "reduce to equate" adjustment), a player may become unable to participate due to injury or ineligible to participate due to misconduct.

- Under no circumstances will a team be required to "reduce to equate" if the opposing team loses one or more players due to injury or misconduct occurring during the kicks phase of the match.

- Until a result is produced, both teams must continue to use their eligible players without duplication until all (including the goalkeeper) have kicked, at which time players who have already kicked may kick again. If one team has fewer players than the other, it will need to begin using again its players who have already kicked sooner than will the opposing team.


NO DUAL SYSTEM!
Your question:
I am an assignor for games U-10 through U-19 and am also a high school referee. In high school we use duals quite a bit and it is a great way to officiate a game when you only have two referees. In my assigning duties, I am often unable to find more than two officials for one of the youth games and I would like to be able to use the dual system, yet I know that FIFA strictly prohibits duals. Why can't FIFA allow the use of dual referees in youth soccer? We have a chronic shortage of officials and this would one way to help ensure fair play.

USSF answer (May 22, 2003):
The United States Soccer Federation does not recognize the two-man or dual system of control. Games played under the auspices of US Youth Soccer or US Soccer may be officiated only under the diagonal system of control, as provided for in the Laws of the Game. You can find the information you need in the Referee Administrative Handbook:

QUOTE
POLICY:

Systems of Officiating Soccer Games

The Laws of the Game recognize only one system for officiating soccer games, namely the diagonal system of control (DSC), consisting of three officials - one referee and two assistant referees. All national competitions sponsored by the U.S. Soccer Federation. require the use of this officiating system.

In order to comply with the Laws of the Game which have been adopted by the National Council, all soccer games sanctioned directly or indirectly by member organizations of the U. S. Soccer Federation must employ the diagonal system (three officials). As a matter of policy, the National Referee Committee prefers the following alternatives in order of preference:
1. One Federation referee and two Federation referees as assistant referees (the standard ALL organizations should strive to meet).
2. One Federation referee and two assistant referees, one of whom is a Federation referee and one of whom is a trainee of the local referee program.
3. One Federation referee and two assistant referees who are both unrelated to either team participating in the game but are not Federation referees, (only if there are not enough Federation referees to have #1 or #2).
4. One Federation referee and two assistant referees who are not both Federation referees and who are affiliated with the participating teams, (only if there are not enough Federation referees to have #1 or #2).

Member organizations and their affiliates should make every effort to assist in recruiting officials so that enough Federation referees will be available to permit use of the diagonal officiating system for ALL their competitions.
END OF QUOTE

If only two officials turn up at the field, one must be the referee (with the whistle), while the other becomes an assistant referee. They split the field between them, but only one may make the final decisions and blow the whistle.


OFFSIDE
Your question:
The goalie makes a save from a shot from a forward. He then punts the ball, it lands on the opposing teams side of the field, where there is a teamate in the offside position, he gets the ball and scores. The referee said that the player was not offside, is that the correct call? He is not offside on a goal kick, but not on a kick where the goalie made the save.

USSF answer (May 22, 2003):
In this case, the referee was wrong. If a player is in an offside position and is actively involved in play by gaining an advantage from that position when his goalkeeper punts the ball to him, the player must be declared offside.


WHAT IS AN "ASSIST"?
Your question:
Please define an "assist."

USSF answer (May 22, 2003):
Assists are those plays of the ball which contributed to the scoring of a goal. Their type and number are determined by either the competition authority (the people who sponsor the league, cup, tournament, whatever) or statisticians. As such, they are not a matter of concern for referees in any affiliated competition. Real referees don't care about assists, unless you mean assistant referees, and certainly do not keep track of them nor have any need to know about them.


THE "SPORTING THING"
Your question:
In a recent match in which I played, my team was down by a single goal late in the game. One of the opposing players went down with an "injury" after being barely touched by one of my teammates. I was sure, as was the rest of my team, that this was a delay tactic by the injured player. Just after the injury, the ball came to be in my possession in my own half and I decided to keep playing and dribble the ball upfield. I realize that the sporting thing to do would be to kick the ball out-of-touch to allow the injured player to receive treatment, but I am not aware of any rule that requires me to kick the ball out-of-touch. The referee told me to kick the ball out of play. I initially hesitated as I did not realize that it is within the referee's powers to force a player to do such a thing. When I did not initially kick the ball over the sideline, the referee threatened to card me if I did not kick the ball out of play. I eventually kicked the ball out and the injured player made a miraculous recovery. I just feel that if I had been the referee and the player was truly injured, I would have blown the whistle to stop play and restarted with a drop ball after the injured player had been attended to. I realize that referees are required to maintain the safety of the players on the field , but are referees allowed to enforce this sporting out-of-touch play, or did the referee overstep his authority?

USSF answer (May 22, 2003):
Other than sending a player off the field to make equipment corrections, the referee cannot order a player to make any specific play during the game, and certainly cannot threaten to caution or send that player off for not obeying that order. The only orders a referee can give is for a player to leave the field for repair of equipment or because the player has been dismissed.

If the referee believes that a player is seriously injured, then the referee has the power to stop the game and then restart it with a dropped ball. (If the referee believes that a player is not seriously injured, then the referee must allow play to continue until the ball goes out of play naturally.)


WHAT INFRINGEMENT?
Your question:
What is the call: 1. The goalkeeper released the ball while standing inside the eighteen yard box, the ball traveled outside the box and the goalkeeper kicked the ball. 2. The goal keeper threw the ball outside the eighteen yard box, then the goalkeeper kicked the ball as it bounced outside the box.

USSF answer (May 22, 2003):
What is the call? A counter question: Where is the infringement of the Law? The referee cannot make a call without a reason, and there is no reason here. The call is that there has been no infringement of the Law -- the referee should keep his mouth shut and his whistle at his side.

Perhaps the nature of your confusion might be clearer if you wrote back to indicate what infringement you think MIGHT have occurred in these two situations.


CHECK THE CARDS!!
Your question:
I reffed a game today, U9 boys, where after the game was over it was brought to my attention that a player on one of the teams was put on the lineup sheet and played but isn't on that team (not on the official roster). I approached the coach, asked to see their player cards...he said to see the manager, the manager first said that since we played the game it was too late to make a difference....again, I asked him for the cards, he said he didn't have them....then, I asked him which player was the one not on their team, he wouldn't tell me...I paused, he started laughing at me, then I gave the manager a red card for not cooperating and for his demeaning attitude.......then, I asked the managers from both teams to wait for me to call the head of refs in our area to help me with whether to have them sign the Official Referee Report(and Team Line Up sheet)......I couldnt reach the person.....so, I didn't have them sign the report....................
1. Should the game be allowed to stand? (by the way, the team with the ineligible player won).,
2. Should I still have had them sign the sheet?
3. Did I have the right to Red Card the manager for this type of behavior?
I am not turning in the Ref Reports until I find out these answers......please give me your opinion.....I also have a call into the Ref Liason for our League......thanks so much.

USSF answer (May 19, 2003):
This question was answered here on April 3, 2003: "This is a problem for the competition authority to resolve, not the referee. If the player has a legitimate pass and is listed on the team roster, there is nothing the referee can do.
"Although the referee is not in a position to make any ultimate determination here (the player must be allowed to play), the referee can and should include details of the incident in his game report."

You should have checked the roster and the player cards thoroughly before the game. As you did not do that, you can only include full details in your match report. The competition authority will have to resolve the matter.

Furthermore, your misuse of the red card should be noted. First, we don't show cards to coaches unless local rules permit it and, second, a red-card-like action (card shown or not) for this would hardly be appropriate.

NOTE: The questioner has since informed us that the player registration cards in this league are checked before the game by the team managers, not the officiating crew. So why didn't the opposing manager say something before the match, instead of waiting till the game was over?


ACCIDENTAL HANDLING SHOULD NOT BE PUNISHED!
Your question:
Two questions:
1) In the case of accidental handling, and the player who made contact then plays the ball.......handling or not?

Under 12.9 in the Laws of the game, it states:
"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.

This would seem to indicate that you would call handling in the above situation. But later in the law it states:
The fact that a player may benefit from the ball contacting the hand does not transform the otherwise accidental event into an infringement.

The two parts of the law seem to contradict each other. Is this situation handling or not?

2) The goalkeeper, in the process of releasing the ball, goes well beyond the penalty area (2-3 feet) with the ball in her possession (hand). I called handling and restarted with a DFK for the opposing team. Another referee thought the restart would be a IFK. What's the restart?

USSF answer (May 18, 2003):
Much as we would like to claim credit -- or maybe not -- the USSF publication "Advice to Referees on the Laws of the Game" is not the Laws themselves. Those portions of Section 12.9 of the Advice to Referees read exactly as you have cited them. Unfortunately, you have misread the first of them to fit your premise. You then compound the sin by carrying the analogy into a totally different area, that of the goalkeeper carrying the ball outside the area. You did one thing right by awarding the direct free kick for the opposing team.

The first portion refers to a ball that hits the player's hand accidentally, at which time the light bulb goes on in the player's head, suggesting that this would be a good time to make use of that accidental contact by embellishing it a bit and moving the ball voluntarily and deliberately a little farther along the path toward the opponent's goal. That is different from the second portion, which describes a ball accidentally hitting the player's hand and falling into a favorable position of its own momentum. The first is wrong and should be punished, while the second is fortunate for the player but not illegal -- and should not be punished.


SHOW RESPECT TO PLAYERS AND COACHES
Your question:
Can you tell me how a referee can give a coach a red card after the game? When the coach simply and gentelmanly told the referee that he thought he missed a few calls. There was no prior cautions (yellow card) issued during or after the game. Is the referee allowed to over react in situations and players or coaches have no recource. Alot is written about conduct of coaches and players but not much on referees! For example, a referee has an argument with their significant other and still fells irritated at a game later, and hands out yellow and red cards. How can you protest under the laws of the game if you cannot protest the referees judgement calls. Thank you

USSF answer (May 18, 2003):
Some facts of the game:
(1) Referees do not have to explain their calls, and neither players nor coaches should question the referees under any circumstances. Coaches are expected to provide their players with encouragement and helpful suggestions (also known as responsible behavior), players are expected to play, and the referee is expected to manage the game -- with full respect for the players and coaches for the work they are doing, as well as with a certain amount of communication directly related to events during the game. The referee is under no obligation to explain anything to the teams, but most referees are willing to say that it was an unfair charge or tripping or whatever it might have been -- if approached in a polite manner and not badgered by the player or the team official.

We tend to discourage this, as it has been our experience that providing such explanations seldom serves any purpose other than sparking further debate from those who really don't want an explanation in the first place. In any event, they often also divert the referee's attention from what is more important. "Persons who are not players, named substitutes, or substituted players cannot commit misconduct within the meaning of Law 12 and therefore cannot be shown yellow or red cards nor will their behavior be described in match reports as misconduct. Law 5 is very clear that "team officials" (coaches, trainers, etc.) must behave responsibly and, if they fail to do so, the referee has two primary courses of action. First, the referee may warn the team official that the irresponsible behavior puts him or her at risk. Second, the referee may expel the team official from the field and its immediate area. It is not necessary for a warning to be given in cases of extreme provocation."

According to the same memorandum, such action may be taken not only before and during the game, but also in that period of time immediately following a match during which the players and substitutes are physically on the field but in the process of exiting.

(3) According to Law 5 (The Referee), "The decisions of the referee regarding facts connected with play are final."


A CONCERNED FATHER ASKS
Your question:
I have four questions regarding USSF Rules for U-13 to U-15 Soccer:
1) I would like to know the proper positioning of the referee and the assistance's in a three man system, i.e. should the AR be on the field of play during the game or when the ball is in play?
2) This questions deals with the ethics of the game and/or team officials and referees. Do team officials and/or players have any right to have referee calls explained to them or do referees have any obligation to explain what they saw to make their particular call? If "no", explain to me how kids at this age are going to learn the rules and the proper way to play the game or on a "shortsighted view" what the ref considers a penalty for their particular game since there are inconsistencies between refs?
3) If a coach or manager is expelled from the game due to the failure of conducting themselves in a responsible manner (nothing abusive), can they be present on the opposite sideline with the parents if they are no longer instructing their team or being disruptive?
4) Please explain what is "failure to conduct themselves in a responsible manner"?

I will anxiously be awaiting your comments to improve my knowledge of the game and to pass that on to my sons. Thank you for this opportunity to have the rules of the game clarified.

USSF answer (May 15, 2003):
There are no "USSF Rules for U-13 to U-15 Soccer." These players play according to the Laws of the Game, possibly as modified by the competition within which they play.

On to your questions: 1) The assistant referee may enter the field to aid the referee, if so instructed or requested by the referee. However, in general, the assistant referee's primary responsibilities would place him or her just outside the field along the touch line.

2) Let us examine this question carefully. What does explaining calls to players or team officials have to do with referee ethics? Nothing. The referee is under no obligation to explain anything to the teams, but most referees are willing to say that it was an unfair charge or tripping or whatever it might have been -- if approached in a polite manner and not badgered by the player or the team official.

We tend to discourage this, as it has been our experience that providing such explanations seldom serves any purpose other than sparking further debate from those who really don't want an explanation in the first place. In any event, they often also divert the referee's attention from what is more important.

You also ask "how kids at this age are going to learn the rules and the proper way to play the game." We can only respond with another question: What has the coach been doing all this time? Is the coach teaching the players how the game is played, or simply teaching them a way to win -- or at least not lose? As to how to fix this, have the players take a refereeing course or do some reading on the matter. They do not have to become referees, but simply attending the course and LISTENING AND LEARNING would certainly make them better players -- just as it makes referees better referees by becoming referee mentors or instructors or assessors.

Inconsistency? Most referees are more consistent during the game than are the players whom they referee. Otherwise the games would be either 0-0 or 100-100.

3) No. A team official who has been dismissed from the game must leave the entire environs of the field.

4) You also ask what is "failure to conduct themselves in a responsible manner"? It means that the coach or other team official has not stuck to what their part of the game is, issuing tactical instructions or praise to their players. If they go beyond those bounds, then their behavior is irresponsible.


AUTHORITY OF THE REFEREE
Your question:
Exactly where does a referee's authority begin and end? I had an incident where a coach was bad-mouthing the officiating of a game to his team. Unfortunately, I was already in the parking lot and heading toward my car. I feel that he should have been dismissed and shown the red card. ([my high school association] rules allow the coaches to be shown the yellow or red cards.) Also, how far does the authority of the referee extend? For example a player/coach/spectator/referee on a nearby soccer field begins directing negative comments to a player/coach/spectator/referee on my soccer field. My I take action aganst that person? If not, how close to my field do they have to be before I may reprimand them?

USSF answer (May 15, 2003):
We cannot presume to answer questions dealing with the rules used by other organizations. This answer would apply to games played under the auspices of the U. S. Soccer Federation.

According to section 5.2 of the USSF publication "Advice to Referees on the Laws of the Game": The referee's authority begins when he arrives at the area of the field of play and continues until he has left the area of the field after the game has been completed. The referee's authority extends to time when the ball is not in play, to temporary suspensions, to the half-time break, and to additional periods of play or kicks from the penalty mark required by the rules of the competition. While the referee has no direct authority over players, coaches, or spectators from neighboring fields, nor over spectators at his own field, there are things that can be done.

One of the things the referee can do is include a full description of the matter in the game report. In addition, if the referee decides that the activity by the spectator constitutes "grave disorder" (which could be defined to include anything which adversely affects the referee's control of the game and/or undermines his authority), the referee can suspend the match while others handle the problem. The referee can also terminate the match if appropriate action (e. g., the person is forced by someone to leave the area of the field) is not taken.

The authority of the referee over persons other than players and team officials is limited by the Law, because the Law assumes that the game is played in a facility with security staff in attendance. Those referees whose matches are watched by parents, etc., right at the touch lines, need to understand that they are not totally at the mercy of the spectators and other non-playing or coaching personnel.


OFFENSIVE, INSULTING, OR ABUSE LANGUAGE
Your question:
1) If a player directs unsporting, foul, or abusive comments towards the AR and the AR cannot get the referee's attention at the next stoppage, is it still within the laws of the game to try and signal the referee at the next possible stoppage, even though play has been restarted since the comments were made? //example of language deleted//

2) While the ball and referee's attention are directed away from the trail assistant referee, a player, wearing a jacket shielding his number, walks side-by-side with the trail assistant referee using profanities and complaining about an offside call that went against his team. After the trail AR asks the player to return to his bench, the player continues the rude comments and abusive language. When the AR raises his flag to get the referee's attention, the player runs for a dark parking lot. By the time, the referee sees the mirrored signal from the lead AR, the player is nowhere to be found. About 10 minutes later, the player reappears on his team's bench.

My question is, is it still within the laws of the game to bring this player's attention to the referee and the referee either caution or send off the player (note, the player reference in this question actually refers to a substitute).

USSF answer (May 15, 2003):
These situations should drive home to even the dullest of minds that the referee and the assistant referees (and fourth official, if available) must maintain constant communication throughout the game. At a minimum, the referee should look to the lead AR at every stoppage and every through ball. The ARs should be checking with one another at least at every stoppage and mirroring signals. There is no excuse for missing signals.

The actions you cite in both cases may be punished whenever the AR can finally get the referee's attention. The referee must protect his officiating teammates from such attacks and abuse.

Yes, the example of language you cited -- deleted in the posted answer -- would be punished as offensive or insulting or abusive language.


SMOKE OUT THOSE SPECTATORS!
Your question:
I attended a soccer game recently in [my state's] Youth Soccer Association area and a referee stopped play and had some of the fans leave the park for smoking. Is this a rule? I have never heard of it and also should the referee direct his questions to the fans or to the coach for the coach to handle the problem if there is one?

USSF answer (May 15, 2003):
A check with authorities in [your association] reveals that there is no league or other competition rule that forbids spectators from smoking. It may be a local park rule, but that is not something the referee should have to enforce, as the referee has no authority over spectators. Such a rule can be enforced only by the park authority.

No, the referee should not speak with anyone about smoking among the spectators. That is NOT the business of the referee.


_NO CAUTION_ FOR PLAYERS OFF THE FIELD TO FETCH THE BALL
Your question:
I was observing the referees at a competitive U14G match on behalf of my referee association (not as a USSF Assessor but in an observation capacity only). The goalkeeper was late getting off her line and arrived at the ball later than the attacker, the result being an injured keeper. The referee stopped play and beckoned assistance from the bench. The coach came onto the field and spent three minutes with the keeper before deciding she could continue. The referee had gone over to the touchline and continued to observe all the players while discussing the situation with his AR. During the break in play, one player left the field of play and grabbed and put on a keeper jersey, anticipating that she would take the keeper's place. When she saw that the keeper would continue, she removed the jersey, threw it back on the bench and stepped back onto the field. The coach exited the field and play was ready to resume when the referee approached this young lady and showed her a yellow card for leaving the field without permission. Or entering the filed without permission. He and the AR informed me it was one of those and they thought they needed to get her for at least one of them. I realize that you had to be there and that the final decision is in the opinion of the referee. But they asked me what I thought. I thought technically correct -- yes. Perhaps a bit anal retentive too.

Arriving home I checked ATR 12.29.6 "Players who leave the field with the referee's permission require the referee's permission to return to the field. Examples of this include a player who attempts to come onto the field:
After being instructed to leave the field to correct equipment (mandatory caution)
After leaving to receive treatment for an injury
After leaving to receive treatment for bleeding or to replace a blood-soaked uniform
After being substituted (except under youth substitution rules)
Before receiving permission to enter as a substitute

and 12.29.7 "This category of misconduct normally refers to a situation in which an opponent leaves the field in an attempt, in the opinion of the referee, to place an attacker in an apparent offside position.

I didn't see that either category fit. In an otherwise "easy" game in which cards were not needed to manage the game, I thought this was one where a card COULD have been issued but SHOULD have it? I didn't think so. What say you?

USSF answer (May 14, 2003):
The longer you live, the more foolish things you will see. The referee's action in cautioning this player was incorrect, as well as ridiculous in the extreme. The cautionable offense of leaving the field without the referee's permission does NOT include actions in the normal course of play. No referee should declare that the player's action in this case was not in the normal course of play -- someone has to fetch ball, for goodness' sake! We have said it before and will surely say it again: Referees should not go out of their way to aggravate players who have done nothing wrong. It will only harm their game management in the long run by revealing how petty they are.


ACCIDENTAL HANDLING IS NOT A FOUL -- UNDERSTOOD???
Your question:
The rule describing a" hand ball"foul states that the player "handles the ball deliberately". However I have seen numerous games where a referee has called a foul for an unintentional hand ball. After the game, the referee will explain that even though he knew that the offending player did not intentionally handle the ball, the fact that the ball rebounded off the hand in such a way to give advantage to the offending player's team, he was obligated to call an offense. My way of thinking is that once you decide that a player did not handle the ball deliberately, then it does not matter how the ball bounced afterwards.

An example: my player was marking opponent #2 inside the penalty area. Opponent #1 takes a shot on goal but hits my player in the hand. My player is turned sideways and did not see the shot taken, did not move her hand in any way. The ball stops in front of my player and she clears it away. The referee calls for a penalty kick. After the game he told me that my player did not deliberately handle the ball, but since it affected the play to our team's advantage,then he was obligated to call for a direct free kick.

USSF answer (May 14, 2003):
This is the sort of cowardly and ill-informed referee who gives the rest of us a bad name. He has obviously either not read or decided to pay no attention to this information from the USSF publication "Advice to Referees on the Laws of the Game":
QUOTE
12.9 DELIBERATE HANDLING
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.).
END OF QUOTE

To put it slightly differently, if the handling is unintentional, it makes no difference if the ball drops in a fortunate position for the player whose hand it hit. That is NOT A FOUL and should NOT BE PUNISHED!


JUMPING WALL?
Your question:
When doing a ceremonial free kick, the "Wall" was moved the required 10 yards. The players in the "Wall" then began to jump up and down. Is this allowed or would it be considered unsporting behavior?

USSF answer (May 14, 2003):
Prior to 1997, the Law required that if "any of the players dance about or gesticulate in a way calculated to distract their opponents" at a free kick they should be cautioned and shown the yellow card for unsporting behavior (then called "ungentlemanly conduct)." This is no longer true. Jumping by members of the wall is common practice throughout the world. The referee should allow this activity unless it goes to extremes. Examples of extremes would be members of the wall jumping forward and back -- and thus failing to respect the required distance from the ball -- or doing handstands or other acts designed to bring the game into disrepute.


TELEPHONE 1
Your question:
In any league, and especially MLS, WUSA, and A-League, are the Technical Personnel allowed to use cell phones, headsets, or any such devices to communicate with people around the pitch to exchange information during the game and thus gain advantage over an opponent? Something similar to what an American Football Coach is allowed to do...

If not, is there a Memorandum, International Board Decision, or is it in the Laws of the Game?

USSF answer (May 13, 2003):
While players may be cautioned for unsporting behavior for using a cell phone or similar devices during a game, there is no prohibition in the Laws of the Game against team technical personnel using phones. However, such use may be prohibited by the rules of the competition, e. g., NCAA and high school.


TELEPHONE 2
Your question:
What if the player is on the bench? Does he/she get cautioned for UC if using a phone to communicate with technical personnel? What stops a coach that has been Ejected from the game to keep contact with the team then?

USSF answer (May 14, 2003):
It makes no difference where the player is. He will be cautioned and shown the yellow card for unsporting behavior, no matter whom he is calling. And the only thing that would stop a disqualified coach from communicating with the team would be the rules of the competition -- or a sense of honor.


OH, THAT NASTY REFEREE!
Your question:
I am a coach in a minor league in [my state]. Last week-end I ran into a small problem. The referee decided to ref the game without the help of linesmen (he had them from the stands "only to call ball out of bounds" - off sides galore as you can imagine, and, it being an U-18 game with the kids running a little too much for the referee to follow from closer distances, ten minutes from the end of the game a play develops ...

An apparent off side of four attacking players, not called but acceptable error since there were a lot of players bunched; a defender runs from behind to catch up on the edge of the box, slides and touches the ball back towards the goal keeper; the attacking player that was conducting the ball when trying to kick the ball into the net kicked instead the defender that slid by; both players fell and got up, the attacking player looking for a foul; the ball would go in if the goal keeper did not parry it, so he did, he dove, he grabed it, got up and put it in play; when the ball was already back in play, the referee who had been at about midfield, stopped the game and called for a penalty shot for "tripping".

My problem? The score was 1-2 and we were the away team.

The ref (home refs are the norm in these parts of the woods) appeared to try to appease everybody and most of the second half appeared to look for a "draw" to make things happy !!!

How can these situations be corrected?

USSF answer (May 14, 2003):
It is, unfortunately, sometimes the case that referee assignors cannot always get the requisite number of registered officials for the games they must cover. Regarding the number and kind of officials, the USSF Referee Administrative Handbook says this:
QUOTE
POLICY:

Systems of Officiating Soccer Games

The Laws of the Game recognize only one system for officiating soccer games, namely the diagonal system of control (DSC), consisting of three officials - one referee and two assistant referees. All national competitions sponsored by the U.S. Soccer Federation. require the use of this officiating system.

In order to comply with the Laws of the Game which have been adopted by the National Council, all soccer games sanctioned directly or indirectly by member organizations of the U. S. Soccer Federation must employ the diagonal system (three officials). As a matter of policy, the National Referee Committee prefers the following alternatives in order of preference:
1. One Federation referee and two Federation referees as assistant referees (the standard ALL organizations should strive to meet).
2. One Federation referee and two assistant referees, one of whom is a Federation referee and one of whom is a trainee of the local referee program.
3. One Federation referee and two assistant referees who are both unrelated to either team participating in the game but are not Federation referees, (only if there are not enough Federation referees to have #1 or #2).
4. One Federation referee and two assistant referees who are not both Federation referees and who are affiliated with the participating teams, (only if there are not enough Federation referees to have #1 or #2).

Member organizations and their affiliates should make every effort to assist in recruiting officials so that enough Federation referees will be available to permit use of the diagonal officiating system for ALL their competitions.
END OF QUOTE

The officials in your game appear to fit the description under number 4. The "assistant referees" described in number 4 are actually called "club linesmen," who may not be asked to indicate anything other than when the ball is entirely over the goal line or touch-line. Thus, in this sort of game the referee must make all the decisions on fouls and misconduct without any help from anyone else.

How to solve the problem? Encourage more people to go into refereeing, so that more officials are available.


I FEEL FEINT
Your question:
USSF has officially stated that feints at PKs are allowed, as long as they do not constitute unsporting behavior. The reason given is that PKs are punitive, and therefore some allowance for creativity should be made for the attacking team, much like at a direct free kick outside the penalty area. However, this logic doesn't seem to hold up for kicks taken from the penalty mark to decide the game. They are not punitive.

Is feinting during kicks from the penalty mark to decide the game allowed? If yes, why, since they are not punitive?

USSF answer (May 13, 2003):
Let us first point out that the position on feinting is not based on the fact that penalty kicks are punitive. That is simply one aspect of the matter that the referee should consider -- and we have not said anything different. Guidance from the International Board notes that referees should not consider various deceptive maneuvers to be a violation of Law 14 or of the guidelines on kicks from the penalty mark in the Additional Instructions. They should ensure that the run to the ball is initiated from behind the ball and the kicker is not using deception to delay unnecessarily the taking of the kick.

Yes, feinting at kicks from the penalty mark is permitted, provided the same guideline is followed as for feinting at the penalty kick: no unsporting behavior. The judgment of unsporting behavior is at the discretion of the referee.

One example of unsporting behavior would be to step over the ball, hesitate, and then bring the foot back again to kick the ball. The kicker's behavior must not, in the opinion of the referee, unduly delay the taking of the kick.

While the referee might allow a player to get away with a trick once, such as deliberately missing the ball, it would be very unprofessional to allow a kicker or a series of kickers to pull the same trick again. If the referee believed the player deliberately missed the ball early to shake the 'keeper's concentration, then a caution/yellow card for unsporting behavior would be in order. If the referee believed that it had been merely the kicker's enthusiasm or an honest mistake, the referee would warn the first kicker to await his signal for the retake and make certain that all other potential kickers are aware of the warning. If the player then took his kick early, he would be cautioned. Given the "shoot-out" situation of kicks from the penalty mark, all other kickers would have received the warning and would also be liable for caution if they kicked early.

Any instance of unsporting behavior must be in the opinion of the referee, based on that particular act in that particular game at that particular moment of the game. Although there are certain actions that will always be unsporting behavior, we cannot arbitrarily set a list of actions that must be called as unsporting behavior in the case of feinting at a penalty kick. The referee has to take responsibility for some of his own decisions.


O, THOSE CRAFTY COACHES!
Your question:
In a U-14 boys game, one team was playing an offside trap while the other was positioning 2-3 players along the halfway line to look for break-out possibilities. I have done the center in about 80 youth games and feel comfortable with my position on the field and reliance on my AR's, both teen-agers with extensive soccer travel experience. However, one situation arose late in the game which caused some confusion:
Team A intercepted a cross from Team B close to A's goal. A Team A defender then send a long ball toward the halfway line. A's own striker, on his own side of the field, received the ball, beat the Team B sweeper (who had moved all the way up), then proceeded to dribble over the halfway line toward Team B's goal. As he dribbled, he noticed one of his teammates sprinting ahead and to his right. Remember that both of these Team A players are now behind Team B's defense with only the goal-keeper ahead of them. The player dribbling the ball then unselfishly played the ball FORWARD and to his right, where his teammate received the ball. My AR put up his flag, judging that the ball was played forward, and not flat, with 1, not 2, defenders between the last offensive player and the goal. I accepted the flag and whistled for offside. The opposing coaches at game's end challenged the call on the following basis: their center forward had already beaten the last defender and as a result, no offside could take place even if the ball was played to another one of their players located ahead of the dribbler.

Offside or not? And if so, why -- or why not?

USSF answer (May 13, 2003):
Ah, those crafty coaches, at it again! Well, this time, as usual, they are wrong.

A player is in an offside position if he is ahead of the ball and nearer to the opposing goal than at least two opponents. Even if all opponents have been beaten, he must still remain behind the ball. So, if the player "sprinting ahead and to his right" was ahead of the passer and the ball when the ball was played, then he was offside. If he was level with or behind the ball, then he was not offside, no matter where he receives the ball.


HOW ABOUT THEM LOGO'D SOCKS?
Your question:
It has been noticed that the referee socks for the Professional Soccer matches (MLS/WUSA) have changed from the 3 strips to the USSF logo. Is this going to trickle down to all referees eventually will have to wear this style?

USSF answer (May 13, 2003):
The referee socks worn in the professional matches are an alternative sock, suitable for wear by any referee. Either the black socks with three-stripe white top or the new logo'd sock may be worn. Just remember that all members of an officiating team should strive to wear the same uniform color and sock style.

The officiating team may wear the official uniform jersey, gold with black pin stripes, black collar, black cuffs (long sleeve), or no cuff (short sleeve); or any of the three alternative jerseys, black with white pin stripes, black collar, black cuffs (long sleeve) or no cuffs (short sleeve); red with black pin stripes, black collar, black cuffs (long sleeve), or no cuffs (short sleeve); or blue with black pin stripes, black collar, black cuffs (long sleeve), or no cuffs (short sleeve). All should be worn with the black shorts, and black socks with three-stripe white top or the new logo'd sock, and black shoes.

NOTE: See the full article on new uniform items in the upcoming issue of Fair Play.


GET THE LOCATION RIGHT, PLEASE!
Your question:
We had a player in the process of going for a goal, a defending player fouled him on the penalty box line deliberately to prevent the goal. The player tripped on the ball falling into the penalty box. The referee red carded the defender saying it was deliberate to prevent the goal. The players started to line up for a penalty kick, but the ref said it was going to be a direct kick. The player started to line up for that and then the ref said the game had ended, time had run out and he wasn't allowed to take the kick. Should he have been able to take the kick? How can the game end on a penalty? When someone is red carded, isn't time added on for whatever time it took to do that? And even if time had ended at that moment, shouldn't the kick still be allowed? I asked the ref, he said only if it was a penalty kick would he be allowed to take the kick. In reading the laws of the game, we couldn't find a definitive answer, especially if it was a direct kick.

Is this one of those "at the discretion of the ref calls"? We actually thought it really should have been a penalty kick, the player upon falling was quite a ways into the box. The ref said he was tripped right on the line of the box though, and that's why just a direct kick was awarded. Shouldn't he still have been given the chance to take it?

USSF answer (May 13, 2003):
There are actually two questions to answer here: (1) Did the referee end the game correctly and (2) How about the free kick/penalty kick?

(1) There is no set or particular moment or method to end a game. 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. Some referees will end the playing period while the ball is in play and there is no threat to either goal, such as allowing a team to take a goal kick and then ending the period. Others will end the playing period at a stoppage. Our advice is to do what is both comfortable for the referee and fair to the players. There is no need to extend time for any free kick other than a penalty kick. And that brings us to your second question.

(2) Only the referee is able to judge where the foul occurred. If the referee did indeed state that the foul occurred "right on the line of the box," then he should have awarded a penalty kick, as the lines belong to the areas they demarcate. If you have stated his words correctly, this was a major error for the referee. Our apologies to your team.


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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