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2011 Referee Week in Review - Week 21



Referee Week in Review – Week 21

The Situation: Colorado is leading Philadelphia 2-1 in the 63rd minute and Kansas City is leading Real Salt Lake 2-0 in the 57th minute of play.

The Play: In the first clip between Colorado and Philadelphia we see the defender enter the challenge with his leg extended. He makes contact with the ball first, but then continues through the ball and into the attacking player. The second clip shows a tackle from behind where the defending player lunges for the ball. Although the defender makes contact with the ball, he is still responsible for endangering the safety of the attacking player.

My Take: These examples show players making contact with the ball while tackling with excessive force. The nature of these tackles requires the referees to send off the players in question regardless of the fact they made contact with the ball during the challenges.

The Laws of the Game: Law 12 deals with fouls and misconducts. Referees and assistant referees must be aware of the following points when determining if a tackle is legal or illegal.

  • Just because the player makes contact with the ball first does not make a tackle legal
  • Getting the ball first but then following through with the rest of the body in a careless or reckless manner or using excessive force does make the tackle illegal
  • Contact with the ball cannot be used as an excuse for committing a tackle which is out of control


The Situation: Chivas USA is leading New England 3-2 in the 88th minute of play.

The Play: The referee correctly uses the updated signal for advantage seeing that the attacking team will benefit from the continuation of play although a foul has occurred.

My Take: The signal for advantage has long been described in our publications and training as an upswept gesture of both arms, starting from a position below the waist and brought up to waist level, palms upward. The verbal portion of the advantage signal remains the same with the referee saying "play on" while signaling. With the arms held higher, this modified signal will be more easily seen by all participants. Note: This modification is the required signal for advantage as recognized by U.S. Soccer and FIFA.

The Laws of the Game: Law 5 details the powers and duties of the referee and states that the referee allows play to continue when the team against which an offense has been committed will benefit from such an advantage and penalizes the original offense if the anticipated advantage does not ensue at that time. This is the principle of advantage.

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

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