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September 2007 Archive (I of II)


Late in a 1-0 game an altercation occurs behind the play in the penalty area. The red team GK and a blue team player are cursing and pushing each other. Play is stopped and both players are sent off. The coach of the blue team claims the red GK initiated the incident by grabbing the jersey of his player while he attempted to return to the play. You have a novice AR working on that side and while going to consult with him; you can see he does not know what happened any more than you do. Nearby however is an experienced ref you have worked with before. He is in uniform, waiting for his game to start. He is holding his hand over his badge, the signal you have used between you before when the AR wishes to speak with the center.

Question: Can you consult with the other referee, as if he was a fourth official? If yes, would in make any difference if he was not in uniform?

Answer (September 5, 2007):
As convenient as that might be, this referee is not working this game and, no matter what his credibility in all other matters, his information cannot be used here.



If a goalkeeper is deaf and cannot hear the whistle, how does the referee let him know he has made a call?

Answer (September 4, 2007):
There is no current standard procedure for working with deaf players, but one mechanic that works is to have all the players raise their hands when the referee blows the whistle. We will look into making this or some other procedure part of the Advice to Referees on the Laws of the Game for 2008. For the moment, the referee on a game with deaf players should come to some arrangement with the team captains and the other game officials.

Suggestions from readers welcome. No history lessons, please. We know them already.



Here is the situation. Red team is attacking and makes a long pass, Blue defender runs toward the ball and calls out "Mine" and then clears the ball up field. The Center blows the whistle and awards an indirect free kick to the Red attacking team. This type of play happens again during the game where the Blue defender calls out that he has the ball, "I got it." The Center again awards an indirect free kick to the attacking team. After the game the Blue coach questioned the calls and was told, "The defender was using trickery which impeded the progress of the Red players playing the ball". Is there some new rule that I am unaware of or some old rule that I don't understand the interpretation of?

Answer (August 30, 2007):
No, the defender is not using "trickery," "trickery" cannot be used to impede opponents, and there has been no change to the rules. Your referee has apparently misinterpreted the Laws -- or someone misunderstood what he or she said.

(1) If a player is the only one near the ball and shouts "mine," there is no infringement of the Law. It is only when a defending player actually deceives the attacking team that he or she would be punished with a caution for unsporting behavior and the attacking team would be awarded an indirect free kick from the place of the infringement.

(2) Players may only be impeded when an opponent prevents them from playing the ball by placing his/her body between them and the ball and the opponent is not within playing distance of the ball.

(3) The rule for shouting "mine" by defenders has always been there. However, attacking players are allowed to use this same sort of guile without being punished.



I'm a Grade 8 ref and I have made my services available to a local high school Christian academy. My children's rec club shares the same field and I had contacted the head coach concerning field usage and that's when he told me that he was looking for refs. He had previously had refs assigned by the PA Interscholastic Athletic Assoc.,PIAA. He said that the fees were stretching his budget and he thought he was getting the less experienced refs, so he was hoping to get refs at a lower cost, and those that possibly called a better game. I thought this would be a good test for me, as I haven't done many games at this level, and I'm considering the HS level when my kids our done playing at the rec level. I spoke with a fellow coach and PIAA/NJAIA ref and he recommended that I check in to whether I would be covered with liability insurance. I reviewed the Ref Admin. Handbook and under Unaffilliated games there wasn't a clear definition.

Would I be covered if I officiated these games?

Answer (August 30, 2007):
Referees are covered only if they are registered and the teams are affiliated with U.S. Soccer, which high school is not (might be in SD as they just have a club program). You may want to check with the school and see if sports officials are covered on their policy.



I am having this discussion about futebol (soccer) from Portugal regarding deliberate trickery to circumvent Law 12 Decision 3.

If a player receives the ball, lifts it to his head, chest or knee, then heads, chest or knees it back to the goalkeeper and gkeeper catches or touches the ball the ball.

Referee would then call an IFK, ball spotted at where infraction occurred, if inside the goal area it would come out to the 6 yard line, is this correct?

Answer (August 29, 2007):
When considering the possibility of trickery, the referee must decide if the action was natural (a normal sort of play, the sort of thing you would see in any sequence of play) or contrived (an artificial, unnatural play, which, in the referee's opinion, is intended solely for the purpose of circumventing the Law and preventing the opponents from challenging for the ball).

The call is always in the opinion and at the discretion of the referee, who is the only person capable of making the judgment as to the nature of the kick. If there is any doubt in the referee's mind as to the nature of the play, then common sense should prevail. Unless the referee believes plays like this to be trickery, there is no need to make a call.



Defender makes a normal pass back to her goalkeeper, who is in the middle of the penalty area. The keeper goes to kick the ball downfield with an attacker moving in, but miskicks it and it goes straight up in the air, directly above the keeper and the attacker who are now standing in close proximity to each other. To prevent the taller attacker from directing a header at the empty net, the keeper jumps up and punches the ball away with her fist.

Is this legal or does the fact that the ball got back to the keeper from her own defender mean that hands cannot be used after the keeper's own miskick?

Answer (August 29, 2007):
Let's apply common sense here. The goalkeeper is clearly not wasting time, but merely miskicked the ball. This is a trifling infringement that can be let go for the moment, keeping it in mind similar infringements occur later.



Clips of this year's US Youth Soccer Finals on Fox Soccer Channel showed the referees wearing the Adidas uniforms that were worn in the last World Cup and are worn in Spanish and German leagues. I thought referees in the US, under the auspices of USSF, were only allowed to wear the Gold, Black, Red and Blue pinstripe jerseys.

Will you please comment?

Answer (August 13, 2007):
If the competition authority, in this case the USYSA Championships, has a sponsor, the referees are usually given uniforms and other gear for the final round of games. This has no bearing on what referees are required to wear throughout the rest of the year. In fact, the referees are not allowed to wear the "finals" uniforms in any other competition.



Question # 58 on this test: A player injures himself/herself while taking shot on goal. As the ball is being retrieved, the player is being treated off the field. Just before the ensuing goal kick can be taken, the player is ready to return to the field. The referee may allow the player to return before the goal kick is taken. True or False. The answer key has true. When reading 2007/2008 Laws of the game page 16 under Powers and Duties 8th note stops the match if, in his opinion, a player is seriously injured and ensures that he is removed from the field of play. An injured player may only return to the field of play after the match has restarted.

The question that I am asking you is can a player return prior to the restart of any play?

Answer (August 7, 2007):
While it is true that the referee " stops the match if, in his opinion, a player is seriously injured and ensures that he is removed from the field of play. An injured player may only return to the field of play after the match has restarted," as written in Law 5, it is clear from the question in the test that play was stopped not for the injury but for the ball out of play. Therefore Law 5 does not apply, but this series of statements in the USSF publication "Advice to Referees on the Laws of the Game" does apply: Only the referee may permit the return to the field of play of a player who was permitted to leave the field for treatment of an injury. This is not a substitution. The player who left the field for treatment of an injury may return during play with the permission of the referee, but only from the touch line. If the ball is out of play, the player may return with the permission of the referee across any boundary line.


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.

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