ROLE OF THE GOALKEEPER
I am a coach and in my teams last game, an opponent took a shot on goal. The shot was a slow roller on the ground and my keeper went to pick up the ball. As he was about to pick up the ball, another player on the opposing team came crashing into my keeper knocking him to the ground. Another player ran up and kicked the ball in the goal.
The referee counted the goal. When I argued the call the referee explained to me that as long as my goalie doesn't have possesion of the ball that the play was legal, no matter if another player ran over my goalie. Is there a rule I don't know about? I have been playing, coaching, and watching soccer for many many years and it seemed to me like the worst call I had ever seen.
Answer (April 14, 2009):
We didn't see the incident, so cannot comment specifically on it; however, we can say with full certainty that the goalkeeper's role is, by the very requirements of the job, inherently dangerous. Goalkeepers know this going in and most operate accordingly.
The goalkeeper has no more rights than any other player, with the exceptions of protective equipment and not being challenged when attempting to release the ball into general play. When not in possession of the ball, the goalkeeper may be fairly challenged. And the "fairly" is determined by the referee, not the coach and not the player.
The goalkeeper is considered to be in control (= possession) of the ball when the ball is held with both hands, held by trapping the ball between one hand and any surface (e.g., the ground, a goalpost, the goalkeeper's body), or holding the ball in the outstretched open palm.
Finally, a reminder that, as age and skill levels go down, the referee must interpret both "possession" and "safe challenge" more liberally.
OFFSIDE: WHEN IN DOUBT, . . .
In a men's division 2 game AR 1 is watching a group of attacking and defending players challenging for the ball about ten yards directly in front of the net. The ball is kicked out of the group to an attacking player in an offside position on the far side of the field. The AR's view of exactly who kicked the ball is blocked.
The referee looks to the AR for a call but in the pregame the referee instructed the AR's that they had the offside call. The referee allows play to continue. Can the AR signal for offside if he did not see that an attacking player kicked the ball to the player in an offside position?
Answer (April 14, 2009):
The rule for the assistant referee in possible offside situations: When in doubt, leave the flag down.
The problem suggests poor pregame instruction, with no donut for the referee. This is typical of the bad habits referees get into when they don't THINK about their pregame instructions -- the referee ALWAYS has the call, based on information provided by the AR. The WEIGHT the referee gives to the information depends on (a) the issue (i. e., position or involvement) and (b) the AR's distance to the event. The referee might defer to the AR in the case of clear information from the AR and doubt on the part of the referee, but the referee cannot simply turn over to the AR all responsibility for making a potentially game critical decision if the referee has no doubt about what he has seen.
OFFSIDE: DOES THE PLAYER REALLY NEED TO TOUCH THE BALL?
A recent email from a league for which I referee contained the following: "A player in an offside position may be judged to have violated the offside law by three criteria, but two of these (interfering with play and gaining an advantage) REQUIRE that the player touch the ball. If the player does not touch the ball, the only way he can infringe the law is by interfering with an opponent." I don't believe that this is correct. It is my understanding that if the ball is passed to a player in an offside position and there is really no chance that another attacking player who is onside would come onto the ball, then the offside should be called even before the offside player touches the ball. Please correct me if I am incorrect on this. I also believe that if the ball is passed to a player in an offside position but there is a chance that an onside attacker could get to the ball first, then the AR should wait to see who gets to the ball first--as long as the offside player doesn't otherwise interfere with play. Thanks for any guidance you can give here.
Answer (April 14, 2009):
We direct your attention to the Laws of the Game 2008/2009, Interpretations and Guidelines for Referees:
LAW 11 - OFFSIDE
In the context of Law 11 -- Offside, the following definitions apply:
* "nearer to his opponents' goal line" means that any part of a player's head, body or feet is nearer to his opponents' goal line than both the ball and the second last opponent. The arms are not included in this definition
* "interfering with play" means playing or touching the ball passed or touched by a teammate
* "interfering with an opponent" means preventing an opponent from playing or being able to play the ball by clearly obstructing the opponent's line of vision or movements or making a gesture or movement which, in the opinion of the referee, deceives or distracts an opponent
* "gaining an advantage by being in that position" means playing a ball that rebounds to him off a goalpost or the crossbar having been in an offside position or playing a ball that rebounds to him off an opponent having been in an offside position
The current international interpretation is that the player in the offside position must touch the ball to be considered to have interfered with play.
So, you ask, what happens if that player simply follows the ball? In that case, he or she is likely to draw the attention of one of the opponents, who will move with him or her. Now the player in the offside position has interfered with an opponent and need not touch or play the ball to be considered offside.
THE WEEK IN REVIEW
Two questions about the Week in Review:
1. Last year I accessed the content at a link that looked like this:
http://www.ussoccer-data.com/docfile/LessonsLearnedWeek_??_2008.htm. It was much easier to read, print and save than the content at the only link. Is there a similar link available this year?
2. Where are prior weeks archived? Surely they are not inaccessible?
3. Last year the videos could be easily downloaded and saved. Is this possible this year?
Answer (April 14, 2009):
1. Week In Review is at the referee page at www.ussoccer.com
2. Prior weeks and last year's summary are also at www.ussoccer.com
3. Video download -- they are available for viewing at www.ussoccer.com -- they will be set up for downloading on a monthly basis. The US Soccer webmaster is working on this now.
REALLY ONLY A YELLOW?
I'm sorry, I'm not one to typically question the foul recognition skills of a referee who has centered a World Cup match, but after listening to Brian Hall on the Week in Review podcast for Week 1, reading the comments in the text, and then watching the video clips, I guess I need some clarification here.
In the evaluation of the Kjelstan foul, Hall writes:
"The leg is down toward the ground and not aimed over the top of the ball. If the cleats were to go over the ball and direct contact made with the opponent's leg, the tackle could be considered serious foul play."
I've attached two screen captures from the replay of this foul by Kjelstan. [Editor's Note: Screen shots not included here.] Color me crazy, but both of these screen shots show Kjelstan clearly going over the top of the ball, studs exposed, foot off the ground and making direct contact with force into Kamara's ankle. Personally, I would say this is a send-off challenge, as it appears to fit the exact description that Mr. Hall uses in his comments to describe serious foul play.
If I'm wrong about this, by all means I have no issue with being told so and why. I don't pretend to understand the nuances of working a game at the level of MLS or have the experience necessary to differentiate minor differences in what might define a send-off at that level as compared to a U16 match. I guess I would, however, like some clarification on the comments made that defined this as a caution rather than a send-off.
Answer (April 13, 2009):
Screen shots can be deceptive but U.S. Soccer made the decision that the challenge was only a yellow card by reviewing the play at full speed as well as the replays. In both cases, it was felt that the player committing the foul made contact with the ball and not with the opponent. In the run of play, this is what the referee also saw. As stated, if contact was not made directly with the ball, the referee would be well within his rights to issue a red card for serious foul play. This is not an easy decision and is one of inches. Every decision made must be considered in context. If a similar challenge occurs in an U16 match, the referee can use his/her judgment in deciding whether the challenge meets the criteria for a red card.
PROCEDURE FOR ISSUING CARDS
I have Law 12 questions dealing with procedure to issuing cards. According to USSF the proper way to issue a card towards a player or substitute is IBC (Isolate, Book, and Card). However from watching MLS, EPL, La Liga etc, I see referees issuing cards first, then taking the time to write in the book.
I do issue cards by IBC, but only due to the fact that my assessor says "players are ready to restart and don't want to wait for the booking IF I show the card first."
1) What is the proper procedure in FIFA (international matches) to issueing cards?
2) Are the USSF/FIFA procedures similar? or does FIFA teach it differently.
3) When issuing Reds should the procedure be the same? IBC, or show the card, then book them?
Please give an indepth explaination
Answer (April 12, 2009):
You must have watched far fewer games than we have, as your observation that the cards are issued immediately in all situations is, in fact, wrong, no matter what country you live or referee or watch TV in. Either that or selective memory has contributed to the assessor's well-meant but misplaced advice.
Throughout the world there are two ways to administer the issuance of cards for misconduct. The first is the standard way: stop play, take names, write details of the incident and then show the card, together with an admonition to behave for those who have been cautioned. The second is used to immediately defuse difficult situations in which delay of the card could lead to even greater difficulties: That is to show the card immediately and then take down the details.
We suggest for your (and the assessor's) further reading p. 38 of the Guide to Procedures for Referees, Assistant Referees and Fourth Officials (2008-09).
USA FLAG PATCHES (AGAIN)
I noticed that in this season all the American teams in the MLS are wearing the USA flag patch on their sleeves (Toronto wearing the Canadian flag), why aren't the officials wearing a flag patch on their uniforms? USSF is a patriotic organization, is it not?
Answer (April 12, 2009):
The Federation would seem to be damned if it does and damned if it doesn't. The wearing of the U. S. flag on the uniform is (and always has been) a matter of personal choice. The USSF is a patriotic organization, but does the wearing of the flag actually make one patriotic? Patriotism is a state of mind and being, not a fashion show for the masses.
We can tell you how this plays out in one Eastern state. Shortly after 9-11, US flag patches for the upper arm were distributed and "requested" to be worn. We don't believe the same thing was done thereafter but, of course, those who had the patch on already continued to wear it. Accordingly, those who are wearing it now most likely haven't bought a new uniform jersey since 2001 and those who aren't probably either became a referee or bought a new jersey since then. Those referees who have multiple jerseys probably don't have the flag patch for all of them, only the primary jersey.
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).
Submit your questions via e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.