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2011 Referee Week in Review - Week 22

Referee Week in Review – Week 22

The Situation: Colorado is trailing San Jose 1-0 in the 37th minute.

The Play: The Colorado player dribbles deep into the area and attempts to center a cross. The defending player slides to block the pass and the ball strikes his trailing arm.

The Decision: After consulting with the assistant referee, the referee awards a penalty kick.

My Take: Given the manner in which the defender slides, his trailing arm appears to be in a natural position and thus he has not ‘made himself bigger’ in a way that would require a foul to be called. Regardless of the call, the assistant is in the best position to witness the event, and the referee demonstrates patience by waiting to consult with him before making a final decision.

The Laws of the Game: The interpretations of Law 12 discuss the factors for referees to consider when deciding if a handling has taken place.

The Situation: D.C. United is leading Toronto 2-1 in the 69th minute.

The Play: With a player on the defending team injured and off the field, his replacement is waiting for the substitution to be allowed. With play stopped before a throw-in for the attacking team, the referee indicates that the substituted player may enter the field. The sub steps onto the field and the referee quickly re-starts play, which turns into an advantage for the attacking team who proceeds to score a goal.

The Decision: The goal stands and the match is tied.

My Take: Since the referee had signaled for the substitute to enter the field and the player subsequently steps on to the field before play resumes, the substitution procedure was completed in accordance with the laws of the game. Nonetheless, practical refereeing dictates that the entering player be allowed to assume his position on the field prior to re-starting the game. In this case, the officiating crew should have communicated better with each other to ensure that a smooth and fair substitution took place.

The Laws of the Game: Law 3 describes in detail the procedure for substitutions and specifically when a substitution becomes official.

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.