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2011 Referee Week in Review - Week 20



Referee Week in Review – Week 20

The Situation: Houston is leading Seattle 3-1 in the 74th minute. 

The Play: An attacking player and defender both challenge for a head ball and after a collision the attacking player goes down with a head injury.

The Decision: The referee allows play to continue while monitoring the injured player and the ball crosses the touch line for a throw-in soon after the collision. 

My Take: The referee is in an excellent position to witness the entire event. The contact is incidental so no offense has been committed.  With a potential head injury, the referee must quickly assess whether or not immediate medical attention is required, and after monitoring the reaction of the injured player he takes the appropriate action.

The Laws of the Game: Correctly dealing with injuries is an important part of refereeing.  Law 5 stipulates that play is allowed to continue until the ball is out of play if a player is, in the opinion of the referee, only slightly injured.  More information on the procedures with dealing with injured players can be found directly in Interpretations section of Law 5. 


The Situation: San Jose is trailing D.C. United by two goals in the 79th minute of play.    

The Play: After a goal kick, an attacking player and a defender attempt to win a head ball. As both players jump, the attacker raises his arms and his elbow makes contact with the defender’s head.

The Decision: The referee stops play for the foul and issues a caution to the attacking player. 

My Take: When determining if a foul has been committed, referees are asked to consider if an arm is used as a tool or as a weapon. In this instance, as the attacking player jumps, he brings his arm up and extends his elbow in a reckless manner. Even if he is not aware of the location of the defender, he is responsible for his actions and in this case should be cautioned. 

The Laws of the Game: Law 12 explains that a player who plays in a reckless manner must be cautioned.  A reckless offense means that the player has acted with complete disregard to the danger to, or consequences for, his opponent. 

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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