ADVANTAGE VS. MISCONDUCT AND "NATURAL" STOPPAGES REVISITED
In the UEFA championship match, there was a situation where the referee applied advantage to a reckless foul (deserving of a caution) and allowed play to continue. Over the course of the next several seconds, the advantage was fully realized but, in the end, the ball ended up in the hands of the opposing team's goalkeeper. At that time, the referee stopped play and showed a yellow card for the reckless foul. Is this proper? I thought you had to wait for the ball to leave the field before giving the card? Was the restart correct?
Answer (June 2, 2009):
Several questions have come in regarding this incident, a few referring directly to the UEFA match and others raising the issue generally. Although we have answered these questions individually, there has been some misunderstanding of what is truly at issue here. Accordingly, we are using this latest question to offer some general advice for handling such situations.
Several referees felt that the referee, having decided not to stop play immediately for misconduct based on the application of the advantage concept, cannot thereafter stop play solely because the advantage, which lasted long enough to erase the foul, has ended. Our position is not only yes, he can do that, but we would ask in return, why not? The Law requires only that the card be given at the next stoppage of play and, per the Law, that can occur by the ball leaving the field (which is often the ONLY type of stoppage considered here) or by the referee stopping play. Why do referees stop play? Well, there are hundreds of reasons, including (see Advice to Referees) simply wanting to talk to a player as well as such more obvious things as injuries, weather, another foul, etc., or simply for the good of the game"!
We recommend for everyone's reading the Interpretations/Guidelines (on p. 90 of the 2008/2009 Laws) regarding the referee missing the AR's flag for severe misconduct and reiterated in the USSF Memorandum Supplement 2008:
Both last year and again this year, the International Board has created an exception to the general rule that, if advantage is applied to misconduct, the appropriate card must be shown and the proper action taken (e.g., the player sent off) at the next stoppage; otherwise, the opportunity to card has been lost. The Interpretations provide that, if an AR signals for violent conduct but the signal is not seen until after play is restarted after the next stoppage, the referee may still display a red card and send the player off the field. If this should occur, the restart is based on the current stoppage of play rather than on the violent conduct that occurred previously.
USSF advises that:
- this exception is not limited to "violent conduct" in its official sense as a form of misconduct but applies as well to serious foul play (where violence or excessive force is involved) and other acts of misconduct,
- the AR must have signaled for the misconduct at the time it occurred and maintained the signal until it is seen by the referee, and
- if play is stopped solely in response to the signal by the AR, play is restarted with a dropped ball where the ball was when play was stopped (except for the special circumstances involving restarts in the goal area) but otherwise the restart is in accordance with the Law.
Referees are strongly urged to cover this type of situation in their pregame discussion and to make clear what sorts of misconduct are serious enough to warrant maintaining the AR's signal past the next stoppage of play. If a player has received a second yellow card in the same match but was not at that time shown a red card and sent off, the referee remains able to correct the error at any time it is brought to his or her attention by a member of the officiating team.
This information from the Interpretations/Guidelines is not directly related to the question at hand and some will argue that it is also "not specifically authorized" in the Laws of the Game. However, there are many things we do that are "not specifically authorized" and fall under the words used in the Laws themselves, "If, in the opinion of the referee." In this case the solution is indeed part and parcel of the Laws and it prepares the way for a more proactive role for the referee after applying the advantage. If the referee has to stop the game because no "natural" stoppage seems imminent, then he can do so. Referees are expected to do what is needed to meet the demands of the Spirit of the Game, to give the players a fair game. Waiting for a "natural" stoppage in this game would have left open a path for more infringements. Better to stop them now, before they occur, rather than wait and hope.
As we read it, the International Board was so concerned about violent conduct going unpunished that it carved out this exception to the general rule that a card not given at the next stoppage (natural or "unnatural") is lost forever. With this in mind, why should the referee be prevented from implementing the same spirit by stopping play himself after the advantage has been realized and the opposing team (the one that committed the violent conduct in the first place!) now has control of the ball? This does not mean that the referee should in every case do as was done in this situation, stopping play without waiting for a "natural" stoppage. However, it does mean that the referee must keep his or her finger on the pulse of the game, applying, as we suggest in Advice 13.5, his or her feeling for the game in what FIFA calls "Fingerspitzengefühl" (literally: "sensing with one's fingertips"). Only by exercising common sense can the referee do what is correct in such cases.
VARIATIONS FROM THE LAW FOR KIDS
1. Where can I find the deviations from the laws for kids? I have check all the web sites in my are and there is none listed and with talking with other referees we cannot find where these are to prove what is right.
2. Is there a written changes/deviation from the laws for kids that are standard nation or world wide?
3. Youth teams - Team "A" and Team "B" are playing and a player from Team "A" goes down hurt and is sub for by team "A", can team "B" also sub? If so how many players can be sub?
4. With most youth club games being done by no State and National level referees (mainly by grade 8's), is there any mentoring programs to help keep quality of refereeing consistent from location to location.
Answer (June 1, 2009):
In the introduction to the Laws of the Game, the International Football Association Board (the people who write the Laws) indicates what modifications are allowed:
Subject to the agreement of the member association concerned and provided the principles of these Laws are maintained, the Laws may be modified in their application for matches for players of under 16 years of age, for women footballers, for veteran footballers (over 35 years) and for players with disabilities.
Any or all of the following modifications are permissible:
- size of the field of play
- size, weight and material of the ball
- width between the goalposts and height of the crossbar from the ground
- duration of the periods of play
Further modifications are only allowed with the consent of the International Football Association Board.
Please note that these unspecified modifications do not apply to any groups of players other than those who are under 16, are women, are over 35, or are players with disabilities.
In answer to your questions:
1. You will have to check the rules of the competition in which you referee or coach. Neither U. S. Soccer nor U. S. Youth Soccer has approved any modifications for players Under 13 or older. U. S. Youth Soccer has approved modifications only for small-sided soccer, ages Under 6 through Under 12. Here is the link for the small-sided rules and mods: http://www.usyouthsoccer.org/coaches/RulesSmallGames.asp.
2. There is no national standard deviation from the requirements of the Laws of the Game. The entire world outside of some competitions in the United States plays in accordance with the Laws of the Game.
3. The Laws of the Game allow substitution by either team at any stoppage.
4. You will have to check with your state soccer association(s) for mentoring programs.
MLS: CHICAGO VS. CHIVAS 28 MAY 2008
I am really confused by a call that was made on this game, and was hoping maybe you could shed some light on it for me. About 12 minutes into the game, Chicago was awarded a corner kick. Prior to the kick being taken a Chivas player body slammed a Chicago player inside the penalty box (the defender swung the offensive player around by the neck and then picked him up with both hands and laid him on the ground). The referee did not call a foul, and the AR called the corner kick back for a re-kick. Did I miss something? Shouldn't that have been at least a yellow card to the Chivas player, if not a red since the ball was not yet in play? And shouldn't there have been a PK for Chicago?
Answer (June 1, 2009):
Careful evaluation of the corner will show that the contact occurred before the corner kick was taken. Hence, given the fact that the ball was not in play, you must restart with the original corner kick.
Nowhere in the law does it state that a yellow card or red card needs to be issued because the ball is not in play. As you are aware, I'm sure, there is lots of holding taking place during corner kicks. Referees have been instructed to take a proactive role in dealing with this holding. This is the case in this situation.
The referee team takes a proactive role by stopping the play and retaking the kick. The referee's whistle is a bit delayed because he is attempting to judge whether the offended team would benefit by allowing play to continue instead of retaking the corner kick. The assistant referee does help the referee by telling him that the ball was not in play at the time of the hold. As a result, the referee makes the correct decision to retake the corner kick.
In terms of misconduct, the referee decided that the holding was merely "careless" and not "reckless" and, thus, that is was not unsporting behavior. Consequently, he did not issue a caution to the defender. The referee could have been stronger in dealing with the holding defender by having a word with him and this may have assisted in proactively sending a message to prevent further holding. If you watch the entire game, you will see that the referee stopped the game on several other occasions prior to a corner kick being taken due to holding and jostling in the penalty area.
STILL TRYING TO SORT OUT THE MARCH MEMO
Still trying to sort out the March memo.
Attacking team sets up for a DFK from mid-field near the touch line.
Defending team sets their line along the 18. In the corner diagonal from the spot of the DFK, one defender positions himself between two attackers. Prior to the kick, the two attackers move (or are trapped) into an offside position. Kick comes across the field and into the corner where the defender heads the ball out of touch. No other players touch the ball and all other players (both attackers and defenders) are at least 15-20 yards away. What is the correct restart?
Answer (June 1, 2009):
If by "out of touch" you mean into touch, i. e., over the touch line rather than over the goal line, the answer is throw-in -- unless, in the opinion of the referee, the defender was "distracted" by the two attackers, in which case you have an indirect free kick for offside. The latter does not seem likely, at least not from your description.
WHERE TO RESTART?
In a 3-on-2 situation, attacker A1 for Team A is fouled from behind at the 20 yard line, near the corner of the penalty area.
Before falling, he manages to play the ball ahead, just outside of the penalty area, to teammate A2, so the referee applies advantage, thinking that the teammate may be able to cross to an unmarked third attacker who is wide open in line with the far post. However, before A2 can cross, he too is fouled at the 6-yard line - just outside the penalty area.
So there are two possibilities for the CR: (1) make the decision that advantage never materialized and award a DFK at the 20-yard line, near the corner of the penalty area; or (2) decide that having a DFK at the six, just outside the penalty area, is more advantageous to the offense and thus have the DFK taken from there. The problem is that it is unclear which spot is better for the offense. If they have a skilled free kicker who plans to try to score directly off the DFK, they are better kicking from the 20. If they prefer to cross, and have some good players in the air, they may prefer to kick from the six.
In this scenario, would the referee be allowed to give the offense its choice of spots for the DFK? If not, should he use his judgement as to which spot is better based on his analysis of which spot is better for Team A based on their personnel? Also, could the CR (under "Law 18") hesitate once the whistle has been blown and see if the attackers, by their actions, give him a clue as to where they would rather take the kick from?
Answer (May 30, 2009):
In brief: It's the referee's job to apply the Law correctly, not to decide which of several locations is better for the attackers. A1 was fouled, advantage was applied based on the ability of A1's team to continue the attack credibly via A2 receiving the ball from A1. This occurred, advantage realized. Then A2 is fouled with no adequate basis for applying advantage, so there is the location of the restart.
You can find a lengthier explanation in the Advice to Referees, 2009/2010 edition, not yet published:
Referees have the power to apply (and signal) the advantage upon seeing a foul or misconduct committed if at that moment the terms of the advantage clause (Law 5, 12th item) were met. Applying advantage permits the referee to allow play to continue when the team against which the foul has been committed will actually benefit from the referee not stopping play.
The referee must remember that the advantage applies to the team of the fouled player and not just to the fouled player. Soccer is a team sport and the referee is expected to apply advantage if the fouled player's team is able to retain or regain control of the ball.
The referee may return to and penalize the original foul if the advantage situation does not develop as anticipated after a short while (2-3 seconds). Referees should note that the "advantage" is not defined solely in terms of scoring a goal. Also, a subsequent offense by a player of the offending team must not be ignored while the referee allows the anticipated development of the advantage. Such an offense may either be recognized by stopping play immediately or by applying the advantage clause again. Regardless of the outcome of the advantage call, the referee must deal appropriately with any misconduct at the next stoppage, before allowing play to be restarted. (See also 12.27.)
NOTE: After observing a foul or misconduct by a player, the referee decides to apply advantage and within a second or so, the ball goes out of play across a boundary line. The referee may still penalize the original offense.
The referee may also apply advantage during situations that are solely misconduct (both cautionable and send-off offenses) or to situations that involve both a foul and misconduct.
The use of advantage as described in Law 5 is strictly limited to infringements of Law 12 -- both the section covering fouls and the later section on misconduct . Other offenses under the Laws of the Game (e. g., violating Law 15 on a throw-in, offside, "second touch" violations at a restart, etc.) are not subject to the application of advantage. As with any other infringement of the Law (e. g., the lack of corner flags, a whistle blown by a spectator, the illegal entry onto the field of a spectator), these are subject to a determination by the referee that the infraction is doubtful (uncertain that it occurred) or trifling (the infringement occurred but had no importance for the course of play). For example, if a ball comes onto the field of play from a nearby field, it is not necessary to stop play unless and until this "foreign object" actually interferes with play or causes any confusion for the players. Deciding not to stop play in such a case is not based on applying advantage but of following the time-honored principle embodied prior to 1996 in International Board Decision 8 of Law 5 (dropped in 1997 but still considered a core value in the Laws of the Game -- see the first paragraph of Advice 5.5, above).
Referees must understand that advantage is not an absolute right. It must be balanced against other issues. The giving of the advantage is not required in all situations to which it might be applied. The referee may stop play despite an advantage if other factors (e.g., game control, severity of a foul or misconduct, possibility of player retaliation, etc.) outweigh the benefit of play continuing. As a practical matter, referees should generally avoid a decision to allow advantage for fouls which happen very early in the match, for fouls performed in front of the team areas, or for misconduct involving violence unless the chance for a goal is immediate.
A common misconception about advantage is that it is about deciding if a challenge is a foul. On the contrary, that decision has already been made because advantage cannot be applied to anything which is not a foul (meaning a violation of Law 12). Advantage, rather, is a decision about whether to stop play for the foul. Accordingly, giving the advantage is "calling the foul" and thus it must be as obvious to the players as signaling to stop play.
Inconspicuous advantage signals are as much to be avoided as a whistle which cannot be heard. Likewise, however, using the advantage signal to indicate that something is not a foul or misconduct, or is a doubtful or trifling offense, is equally wrong.
In determining whether there is persistent infringement, all fouls are considered, including those to which advantage has been applied.
One way to determine when to invoke the advantage is to apply the Four Ps: Possession, Potential, Personnel, and Proximity. Possession means active and credible control by the player who was fouled or a teammate. Potential means the likelihood of continuing an immediate and dangerous attack on the opponents' goal. Potential is evaluated by judging the Personnel involved (the number and skills of the attackers relative to the number and skills of the defenders within 2-3 seconds of the offense) and Proximity (the distance to the opponents' goal; the less the distance, the greater the potential).
GOAL? INDIRECT FREE KICK?
A keeper goes up in the air and establishes control , grabbing a high ball with both hands, and then as he brings it down, it hits a head or shoulder of a defender who is making no overt play on the ball and the ball goes into the goal. Goal scored or indirect kick coming out?
Answer (May 30, 2009):
By "defender" you mean a teammate of the goalkeeper, right? If so, then score the goal. There is no reason to stop play or to award an indirect free kick if a teammate interferes with the goalkeeper's ability to play the ball.
If it had been an opponent (not playing the ball, as you state) who interfered with the goalkeeper, then the award of an indirect free kick for the goalkeeper's team would be justified in most cases. The referee would certainly not award a goal in this case.
REFEREE UNIFORMS (YET AGAIN)
I have a question regarding uniforms. I am a newer ref, but have been advancing and now am starting to ref some "bigger" tournaments and matches. Due to finances early on I bought several jerseys from places other than OSI (ie: Sator). They all have the approved design, but from a different manufacture. Is this acceptable, or do I need to replace the other manufacturer jerseys with the OSI ones? It hasn't seemed to be a problem with the local tournaments and matches, but I just want to be sure I'm properly equipped as I continue to advance and ref at higher levels.
Answer (May 30, 2009):
Of course the Federation would prefer that referees bought our sponsor's products, but as long as your uniforms meet the same design requirements as those sold by OSI, then you may wear them. See this FAQ on the new uniforms: http://ussoccer.com/articles/viewArticle.jsp_4849668.html
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).
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