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2011 Referee Week in Review - Week 12

Referee Week in Review – Week 12

The Situation: D.C. United and Los Angeles are tied 0-0 in the 57th minute.

The Play: A defending player is called for a foul about 35 yards from goal in a reasonably dangerous position the attacking team. 

The Decision: After the foul is committed by the D.C. United defender and play stops, the referee approaches the ball, urging the defending players to move away as the attacking player gets ready to take the free kick. As the referee gets involved, the attacking player decides to take the free kick quickly and sends a dangerous ball into the box.

My Take: A quick free kick is the preferred restart whenever possible but ceremonial restarts may be unavoidable. A ceremonial free kick occurs when the referee has to present a restart in order to deal with misconduct, address substitutions, and resume play after injury when a trainer is called. If the free kick is to be ceremonial, the referee instructs the defending team to move the 10 yards and informs the attacking team to wait for the whistle. The referee must avoid any involvement or appearance of involvement unless the restart is ceremonial and in this case, the referee urges opponents away both visually and verbally. As a result, the referee should not allow play to be restarted quickly; the free kick should be ceremonial.

The Laws of the Game: Law 13 provides detail on the ceremonial free kick vs. the quick free quick and provides guidance for referees on the sequence of actions required to properly manage free kicks.

The Situation: As the summer months begin, questions have been raised regarding water breaks for players. 

My Take: While player health and safety is important, the Laws of the Game do not allow any stoppage called expressly for the purpose of providing hydration. However, given the demonstrated importance of proper hydration during a match and the need for water (or other appropriate liquids) to be available to the players, U.S. Soccer has provided the following common sense guidelines.

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.