DO NOT RESTART BEFORE ISSUING THE CAUTION
At about 30 yds, fron t of the goal, defender made a foul which requires a caution (no discussion about it). The referee wants to issue a caution but the attacking team plays the DFK immediately in order to gain an advantage. The referee let play. Now on the top of this, the defender who made the foul already had a caution and therefore should have been send off but is not. Could the referee issue the caution at the next stoppage or is the opportunity gone as the team played the DFK rapidly? I am aware of the USSF memo about stopping the play to issue a caution.
I remember seeing a game in which the referee had the caution in his hand but the team played fast and I believe the referee gave the caution afterwards.
Answer (May 6, 2008):
It is not simply USSF who says that the disciplinary action must be taken before the restart: It is implicit in the Laws, which state it quite clearly. The referee may not delay the caution (or further punishment) until after a subsequent stoppage; it must be done at this stoppage or not at all.
If the team against whom the offense was committed takes the free kick quickly, but the referee KNOWS that this would not be fair to all participants within the Spirit of the Game, then the referee has two ways of dealing with the matter. The first would be to stop play immediately, noting that the restart was taken "incorrectly" and thus making it null and void. He or she may then issue the caution (or greater punishment) and then allow the restart to be retaken "correctly." The second option depends on the judgment of the referee: If this particular restart is, in the opinion of the referee, an excellent opportunity for the team with the ball, then the incident may be set aside for the moment and later recorded in the match report with full details. This will allow the competition authority to make up its own mind on the matter.
FAILURE TO RETIRE THE REQUIRED DISTANCE
After a direct free kick was awarded, the three members of the defending team lined up about 6 yards from where the ball was placed for the restart (obviously not yielding the required distance). The attacking team elected to take a quick kick rather than ask for the required ten yards. One of the defenders jumped up and to the side and was able to deflect the ball with his chest. In this situation, should the defender be cautioned for failure to yield ten yards and the free kick retaken, or does the attacking team's decision to take the kick negate any requirement to yield the required distance? If this situation is a violation of the law, as a follow-up question, if the defenders did not move and were struck by the ball, would this also be a violation?
Answer (May 6, 2008):
1. Yes and yes. The defender within ten yards clearly interfered with the taking of the free kick. The attackers have the option to restart even though there are defenders within ten yards but that does not absolve these defenders from the duty to not interfere from within ten yards. And clearly the ball was not misplayed directly to the opponent -- he "jumped up and to the side" in order to deflect the ball.
2. No. If the ball had been kicked directly to a defender who happened to be within ten yards at the time there is no infringement, no card, and no stoppage.
REFEREE APPEARANCE; ENDING THE GAME
I had a couple of questions regarding referee uniform and the signal for end of game. Question 1. I know a referee that has several tattoo's on his forearms. He always wears long sleeve shirts. When I asked him about it, he said he likes to keep them covered to appear more professional. My question is, does he have to go thru this trouble, especially on warm days? Tattoo's are a lot more commonplace and popular than they were 30 years ago.
The other question is when the referee whistles the end of the game.
I've seen many referee's whistle twice, some just whistle once and point to the center circle. Other times I hear 3 or 4 short blasts of the whistle. I've even seen a referee point skyward and watching some games on TV, some referee's wave both arms back and forth. Is there a proper or preferred whistle signal and/or hand movement to signify the end of the game? Thanks!
Answer (May 6, 2008):
1. Although USSF does not have a specific policy on visible tattoos worn by referees, we commend the referee to whom you referred for deciding that his tattoos could detract from his professional appearance and who therefore chose to keep them out of sight by wearing a long sleeved jersey.
Obviously, the need for a professional appearance is greater for more competitive, higher skilled matches. After all, the referee should not be the center of attention -- the players are.
The length of sleeve the referee chooses to wear sets the standard for the team. If the referee wants to wear the long-sleeve shirt, so be it; the other members of the officiating crew should follow suit. However, if one or both of the assistant referees does/do not have a long-sleeved shirt in the chosen color, then the referee should consider wearing short sleeves if that is possible.
2. There is no standard whistle or other signal for announcing the end of the game.
WHEN TO END THE GAME
I am a new Level 09 referee. I need some guidance about how a match ends. I understand that if a penalty offence occurs at the end of match time the penalty kick is taken. Are there any other set play situations that require carrying them out, such as free kicks, corners and goal kicks, that need to be taken after time has (just) ended?
Answer (May 6, 2008):
There is no set or particular moment 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. Many of the reasons for stoppages in play and thus "lost time" are entirely normal elements of the game. The referee takes this into account in applying discretion regarding the time to be added. The main objective should be to restore playing time to the match which is lost due to excessively prolonged or unusual stoppages. Law 5 tells us that the referee's decisions regarding facts connected with play are final.
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 comfortable for the referee and fair to the players.
The referee must always add time lost; however, as Law 7 tells us: "The allowance for time lost is at the discretion of the referee." In other words, the amount of time added is up to the referee.
To that we can only add that we sometimes find that referees abandon good sense in situations such as this.
And finally, to answer your specific question, no, a penalty kick is the only restart required by Law to be completed even though time is over (including additional time allowed for time lost due to excessively prolonged delays).
WASTING TIME AT GOAL KICKS
I have followed your "Ask the Ref" for about 5 years now and have learned and enjoyed reading your responses to the questions posed. Please consider this scenario from the past weekend.
In the waning minutes of a competitive level GU11 match, with the White team leading 1-0, Blue is awarded a Goal Kick. The Blue defender clearly places the ball in the corner of the goal area and scans the field looking for an unmarked teammate. After 5-10 seconds the Blue defender picks up the ball and sprints across the goal area and places the ball in the other corner of the goal area to take the goal kick. I as the referee stop play and warn the Blue defender that she is not permited to move the ball once it has been placed for the goal kick. ATR 16.5 states that "the defending team wastes time if the ball is clearly placed within the goal area in preparation for the restart and then is moved unnecessarily to another location". I interpret ATR 16.5 to then inidcate that a team should be warned against this practice and that the referee may caution for a repeat offense.
My question involves the concept of wasting time in this case. The Blue defender was not intending to waste time. In fact my stopping play to issue the warning wasted more time than the defender sprinting across the goal area. Blue was trying to get the goal kick upfield quickly. Should the Spirit of the Game preclude warning the Blue player in this instance? The ATR calls this an "offense". Can or should this "offense" be ignored? Blue was moving the ball for tactical reasons, not to waste time. Thus would the offense be trivial, as this portion of the law is designed to preclude time wasting? Would the answer be any different if the Blue team was ahead instead of trailing by one goal?
Answer (May 6, 2008):
In point of fact, the time-wasting tactic of shifting the ball from one side of the goal area to the other after it has been placed is misconduct in and of itself and should be punished with a caution for unsporting behavior. However, all such matters fall under the rubric of "the opinion of the referee."
Tactical reasons are not a reason to allow a player to flout the Laws of the Game. Tactical actions are a major cause of cautions for unsporting behavior. So, despite the existence of The Seven Magic Words, "If, in the opinion of the referee, . . .," which might suggest that the referee could do as you did and warn first before cautioning, the referee in this case should punish the infringement. That would be true, no matter what the score.
We have some concern with the reference in your scenario to the fact that you stopped play to issue the warning, and then your second thought that you might have caused more of a delay by doing this than the player did by moving the ball. Our answer, yes, you did. But what does "stop play" mean in this context? Play is already stopped (with a goal kick being the prescribed restart)! We favor giving a warning if this is the first time this happened, but the warning can certainly be given "on the fly" -- there is no reason to "stop play" (which we would take to mean that you stopped the players from setting up for the goal kick while you lectured them on their offense). A much easier way to handle it would be call out to the fullback to put the ball back where it was and then say, "Don't move it once you have put it down." There should be no trouble after that.
UNSPORTING BEHAVIOR AND BEYOND
I have a question about a game yesterday that I was an AR of a U14 Boys Select game. This was the second game of a double header between the same 2 teams. I was the referee for the first game. During the second game, a player for "blue" tried a slide tackle from behind and completely missed the ball and the player. The "white" player kept the ball and was moving up the field. Seconds later, the same "blue" player tried another tackle from behind, and caught the cleat of the "white" player causing him to twist and then fall. He came nowhere near the ball. The ball was within playing distance of the "white" player. The "white" player remained on the ground and had to be helped off the field a minute or two later. In my opinion, this was definitely reckless and probably endangered the safety of his opponent. The referee gave him a yellow card. As the referee was writing in his book, I observed the cautioned "blue" player exchanging a "high five" with a teammate behind the referee's back. I informed the referee and it was decided to require this "blue" player to have a substitute replace him. He returned to the game later on. My opinion was that the "blue" player targeted the "white" player purposely. Afterwards, I thought about what I would have done in this situation. In this case, there were no more issues in the game related to this player, but I think that he should have been shown the red card and sent off because the "high five" indicates to me that he was trying to take the player out on purpose.
So here is my question, if I did decide that he should be sent off, what would be the best procedure to follow? Note that play has not restarted. Here are two thoughts that I have:
A. Change the yellow card (for unsporting behavior) to a red card (for serious foul play).
B. Leave the caution and give him a second caution for unsporting behavior (celebrating after injuring an opponent) and then sending him off.
I was leaning toward option A, but maybe there is something else that I am not thinking of. In either case, I believe a caution would be warranted to the other "blue" player for unsporting behavior.
Answer (May 6, 2008):
As we are answering as if you were the referee, it makes our task easier.
If you believe that the tackle by the blue player placed the white player in danger, the answer is clear. According to Law 12, International Board Decision 4, "A tackle, which endangers the safety of an opponent, must be sanctioned as serious foul play."
Any subsequent misconduct, such as the high-fiving with the player's blue teammate, would be included in the match report.
We also believe that the second blue player should be cautioned for unsporting behavior and shown the yellow card.
The restart would be for the original foul (and misconduct) on the white player.
I have a reocurring issue that seems to occur at almost all youth levels of play, regardless of skill. Player A & B go for a 50/50 ball, and through no fault of his/her own and no foul being committed., player A falls down over or near the ball. Player C (Player B's team mate) comes in and strikes at the ball, endangering the safety of player A.
My call is player C is guilty of dangerous play and I award a IFK for player A's team as my logic is player A did not intend to fall down or be in that position, it was Player C who made the decision to play dangerously.
Is this the correct call? Please respond...my informal poll of peers seems to be split down the middle.
Answer (May 6, 2008):
Aside from recognizing that any issue involving a "dangerous play" foul requires us to take into account the age and skill level of the player, referees who observe what might seem to be dangerous play in the context of Law 12 must wait a moment to see what happens.
If the player on the ground makes little or no attempt to get up or otherwise to stop "covering" the ball and, as a result, an opponent is prevented from challenging for the ball (in order not to cause danger to himself or the player on the ground), then definitely the player on the ground has committed an indirect free kick foul that we term "dangerous play."
If the player is making every effort to extricate himself from the immediate area of the ball but a player on the opposing team challenges immediately and actively for the ball without making contact with the player on the ground, then it is the player on the opposing team who has committed the "dangerous play" infraction.
If, however, the opponent comes in without giving the player on the ground any opportunity to extricate himself, challenges for the ball, and in the process makes contact with the player on the ground, the opponent is not only guilty of a more serious foul (kicking -- direct free kick or penalty kick) but could also be cautioned or even sent off depending on how violent the contact was.
RED AND YELLOW FLAGS
When red and yellow linesmen's flags were in common use, did one or the other color signify the senior linesman?
Answer (May 6, 2008):
Only if the referee said so. Some referees used the red flag for the senior linesman and the yellow for the junior. Some competitions established that as a rule, but it has never been in the Laws as a requirement. The reason for it was simply alphabetical: R comes before Y, ergo R is senior to Y.
SOME OFFSIDE HISTORY
What year did the IFAB change Law 11 whereas a deflection off a defender no longer put (or played) an attacker, standing in an offside position, onside? This mis-application of Law 11 continues to this day and I want to know when the law was changed, for reference purposes as I will keep a copy of your response with me in order to enlighten those who continue "not to get it."
Answer (April 16, 2008):
The change was made in the Laws of the Game for 1978-1979.
Prior to 1978, Law 11 read:
A player is offside if he is nearer his opponents' goal line than the ball at the moment the ball is played unless:
(a) He is in his own half of the field of play,
(b) There are two of his opponents nearer to their own goal-line than he is.
(c) The ball last touched an opponent or was last played by him.
(d) He receives the ball direct from a goal kick, a corner kick, a throw-in, or when it was dropped by the referee.
Punishment: For an infringement of this Law, an indirect free kick shall be taken by a player of the opposing team from the place where the infringement occurred.
A player in the offside position shall not be penalized unless, in the opinion of the referee, he is interfering with the play or with an opponent, or is seeking to gain an advantage by being in an offside position.
As of 1978-1979, the Law read:
(1) A player is in an offside position if he is nearer to his opponents' goal line than the ball, unless:
(a) he is in his own half of the field of play, or
(b) there are at least two of his opponents nearer to their own goal line than he is.
(2) A player shall only be declared offside and penalized for being in an off-side position if, at the moment the ball touches, or is played by, one of his team, he is, in the opinion of the referee
(a) interfering with play or with an opponent, or
(b) seeking to gain an advantage by being in that position.
(3) A player shall not be declared offside by the referee
(a) merely because of his being in an offside position, or
(b) if he receives the ball, direct, from a goal kick, a corner kick, a throw-in, or when it has been dropped by the referee.
(4) If a player is declared off-side, the referee shall award an indirect free kick, which shall be taken by a player of the opposing team from the place where the infringement occurred. unless the offense is committed by a player in his opponents' goal area, in which case, the free kick shall be taken from any point within that half of the goal area in which the offense occurred.
The following notes were supplied for proper interpretation of the changes in the Law:
The FIFA Referees' Committee, in making this proposition, felt that the new wording is an improvement on the previous text. You will note that any reference to the ball last touching an opponent, or last being played by him, has been omitted from the new text.
The improvement brought about by the new wording clarifies the situation in that a player remains offside when the ball is played by a member of his own team even if the ball strikes an opponent in flight. The only factors determining whether a player is given offside are whether or not he is in an offside position at the moment the ball is touched or played by a member of his own team AND is seeking to gain an advantage or interfering with play by an opponent. The fact that the ball later strikes an opponent does not negate the original offside.
A player in an offside position at the moment the ball is touched or played by a member of his own team cannot be given offside if he is not, in the opinion of the referee, seeking to gain an advantage or interfering with play or an opponent, even though the ball might strike an opponent in flight.
HEADING THE BALL FROM THE 'KEEPER'S HANDS
A situation came up tonight in an Adult league came that caused a great deal of discussion amongst our group of referees.
Team A shot on Team B's goal. Team B's goalie caught the ball in both hands and was walking forward, presumably to prepare to release it.
One of Team A's forwards (who was BEHIND the goalie) ran around the goalie and headed the ball out of the goalie's hands and onto the ground where he then kicked it into the goal.
Goal or no goal?
The center referee called the goal back on the grounds that heading the ball out of the keeper's hands was not allowed.
Team A was livid and insisted that HEADING the ball out of the keeper's hands was a valid technique, not like KICKING the ball out of a goalie's hands, and that the goal should have stood. The center referee stood by his decision (as he should have).
After the game though, in discussion with his A/R's, the center ref rethought his decision & now believes that he should have allowed the goal to stand, that there may be some validity to the argument that heading the ball is indeed different from kicking it.
I have read (and reread) the Laws of the Game and agree with the center ref's initial decision. I can find nothing that would support the premise that heading the ball away from a goalie is allowed, much less from this position. (If he came from BEHIND the goalie, wouldn't he have been offside?)
Is this correct? Or should he have allowed the goal to stand? If so, why?
Answer (April 16, 2008):
Law 12 states quite clearly: An indirect free kick is also awarded to the opposing team if a player, in the opinion of the referee:
- prevents the goalkeeper from releasing the ball from his hands
The referee's initial decision was correct. No one is allowed to interfere with the goalkeeper's ability to put the ball back into play.
The USSF publication "Advice to Referees on the Laws of the Game" defines goalkeeper possession:
12.16 GOALKEEPER POSSESSION OF THE BALL
The goalkeeper is considered to be in possession of the ball while bouncing it on the ground or while throwing it into the air. Possession is given up if, while throwing the ball into the air, it is allowed to strike the ground. While the ball is in the possession of the 'keeper, it cannot be lawfully played by an opponent, and any attempt to do so may be punished by a direct free kick.
If it is any consolation to the referee in question, much of the world got this wrong until FIFA finally clarified the interpretation.
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 Julie Ilacqua, Managing Director of Referee Programs (administrative matters); David McKee, National Director of Assessment (assessment matters); and Ulrich Strom, National Instructor and National Assessor (matters in general).
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