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|-= LAW - 12 - QUESTIONS & ANSWERS =-|
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'Questions and Answers'
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Question 1: How is a Referee
supposed to decide what is a foul under the auspices of Law 12, and what
is not a foul. He would have to be a mind reader to know the intentions
going through a player's mind before he makes each tackle - and whether
a tackle was done deliberately or not?
Law 12 Fouls and Misconduct offences are mostly committed by a player,
against an opponent whilst the ball is in play, and normally committed
on the field of play. (Although there are one or two situations that can
occur off the field of play, such as when the ball remains in play very
near the touchline, but a player is fouled when he has traveled just
outside the touchline following a misjudged 'follow-through' tackle
which takes both players outside of the touchline - where illegal
contact is then initially made). Deliberate handball is the only
exception that is not committed against a particular opponent, but
against the opposing team.
Question 16: Just exactly
what parts of the body is a player allowed to use to legally pass the
ball back to his own goalkeeper, before the goalkeeper is penalized for
subsequently touching the ball.
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Question 20: Just exactly what do the words careless, reckless, and using excessive force mean?
Answer 20: Firstly, we must not forget that football is a tough combative sport with lots of body contact. Gaining possession of the ball should nevertheless be done in a sporting manner - most challenges for the ball can (and are) committed fairly and in a vigorous fashion, and should not always be penalized by the Referee. Serious foul play and violent conduct (including spitting) are strictly forbidden, and must be stringently dealt with by the Referee.
Careless is when a player attempting to challenge for the ball which is in close proximity to an opponent, puts a great deal of honest effort into the challenge, but wildly mistimed it, and in doing so fouls the opponent.
This includes when a player challenging for the ball has not exercised proper care or has misjudged or mistimed a tackle when making his play, or when a player has miscalculated the strength required to challenge fairly or has overstretched his leg when making the challenge. This type of foul is common, and should be penalized with an award of a direct free kick (or penalty if occurring in the player's own penalty area) - and a quiet verbal warning by the Referee. A careless tackle does not necessarily warrant a caution, depending on the severity or the number of persistent offences committee previously by the perpetrator. A quiet word usually suffices in normal circumstances.
The word careless can also mean, absent-minded, hasty, heedless, inconsiderate, negligent, regardless, thoughtless, unconcerned, and sloppy.
The Referee must also learn to differentiate between an act carried out against a minor, and a similar act carried out against a senior player - what is an excessive push on a minor, might not even be noticed in a professional match involving senior players, where body contact is more prevalent and readily accepted as part of the game.
Reckless is when a player makes a challenge in a manner where there is a clear risk of endangering an opponent, but pays no regard to the possible consequences and the safety and/or welfare of his opponent.
This includes when a player has made a challenge for the ball, and it is done in such a way that it clearly intimidates (or distracts) an opponent, regardless of any potential danger to that opponent. The challenger himself does not have to make contact with the opponent (many opponents are adept at 'riding' challenges by jumping up to prevent contact being made) the intimidation alone is enough to warrant the tackling player being penalized. For example, a reckless sliding tackle may be executed with the sole aim to intimidate an opponent, or distract him from shooting towards goal. The punishment for a reckless challenge is a direct free kick to the opposing team (or penalty if occurring inside the perpetrator's own penalty area) and usually a caution for unsporting behavior if the reckless challenge was outside the sporting bounds expected in normal play. A strong verbal warning by the Referee is also recommended.
The word reckless can also mean, daredevil, devil-may-care, foolhardy, harebrained, hasty, headlong, heedless, imprudent, inattentive, irresponsible, madcap, mindless, negligent, over venturesome, rash, regardless, thoughtless and wild.
I like the word harebrained; this sums up (for me) what a reckless challenge is all about!
Excessive force is when a player makes a challenge, which may be malicious or brutal and may be designed to hurt or maim an opponent.
These are the worst types of tackles where a player has placed an opponent in considerable danger of being injured by the use of unnecessary force when making a challenge for the ball.
If the challenge involves excessive force far outside the bounds expected in normal play, this is serious foul play, and the Referee must send the player off, and award the direct free kick to the opposing team (or penalty if occurring in the perpetrator's own penalty area). The use of excessive force should at the very least warrant a caution against the perpetrator (and a very strong verbal warning by the Referee).
Winning the ball first, is not an excuse for a challenge of this nature to be deemed legal. Players who plead their innocence because they have "won the ball" just before breaking an opponents leg in a tackle using excessive force, should be strongly, immediately and properly dealt with by dispatching with a Red card.
Question 21: An attacker is in an offside position inside his opponent's penalty area but not involved in the active play. The ball is in play and near the half way line. This attacker is then violently thumped by an opponent. What action should the Referee take?
Answer 21: As offence took place inside the penalty area when the ball was still in play, the Referee should stop play, send off the perpetrator for violent conduct, and award a penalty kick to the attacker's team.
Question 22: During a game, a defending player had left the field of play to receive treatment. Whilst he was outside of the field of play and very near his goal line, he deliberately puts a foot inside his penalty area and purposefully trips an attacking opponent who is inside the defender's penalty area. What action should the Referee take?
Answer 22: By putting his foot back inside the field of play, the defender has actually re-entered the field of play and has therefore placed himself back under the full jurisdiction of the Referee and the Laws of the Game - the defender will be treated as if he is fully on the field of play. The Referee should caution the defender for unsporting behavior and award a penalty kick to the attacking team. If the tripping action took place outside of the penalty area, then a direct free kick should be awarded to the attacking team. If the tripping action prevented a goal scoring opportunity, the defender should be sent-off for preventing the goal scoring opportunity.
Question 23: What action should a Referee take when during play; two members of the same team start fighting and exchanging blows on the field?
Answer 23: The Referee should stop the match and send both players off for violent conduct. Play should be restarted with an indirect free kick to the opposing team from the place where the blood marked the spot!
Question 24: If when diving to gather the ball, a goalkeeper inadvertently slides towards the edge of his penalty area and his hands, which are still holding the ball travel outside of the penalty area, what action should the Referee take?
Answer 24: The Referee should stop play and award a direct free kick to the attacking team. If the Referee believes that this action by the goalkeeper prevented an opponent from having a clear goal scoring opportunity, then the goalkeeper should be sent-off the field of play.
Question 25: If whilst challenging for the ball, a defender (not the goalkeeper) standing just outside his own penalty area, stretches his arm inside the penalty area and deliberately handles the ball within his penalty area - what action should the Referee take?
Answer 25: The Referee should stop play and award a penalty kick to the attacking team. If the Referee believes that this action by the defender prevented an attacker from having a clear goal scoring opportunity, then the defender should also be sent-off the field of play.
Question 26: During a match, it was noticed that the Referee showed a red card to a substitute sitting in the technical area, and asked that substitute to go to the changing rooms. Is the Referee allowed to show a red card to players who are not on the field of play?
Answer 26: Yes. The players and the substitutes (and team officials) come under the jurisdiction of the Referee. It does not matter whether they are on the field of play or not. The Referee can yellow or red card the substitutes, and ask them to go into the changing rooms. By showing the red card to the substitute, the Referee has given a clear indication to all, that the substitute has been sent-off. A card can also be shown to a substitute who has already been substituted.
Yellow and red cards should not be shown to team managerâ€™s coaches, or any other non-players - they might not be cautioned or sent off or shown any card. Nevertheless, the Referee can (at his discretion) warn team officials regarding their behavior. He can also dismissed them from the field of play and its immediate area (including the technical area). When a coach or other team official is dismissed, the Referee must tell them that he will be reporting their misdemeanor to the appropriate authority. The Referee must report such incidents using a normal disciplinary report form. A dismissed "medical trainer, sponge man, Doctor" or any other such medical assistant, can remain in the technical area (after being dismissed) to be available to treat injuries during the remainder of the game - but an appropriate misconduct report will still be sent in by the Referee.
The Referee's authority begins as soon as he arrives at the area near the field of play and continues until he has left that area at the end of the match. This authority includes (a) when the ball is not in play (because of temporary suspensions, for example whilst a player is being treated), (b) the half-time interval, and (b) during additional periods of play or kicks from the penalty mark required by the rules of the competition. It can be argued that the Referee's jurisdiction lasts forever. For example, if two days after a match, whilst the Referee is quietly walking down the street, he receives abuse from a known player, relating to a recent match incident - the Referee should seriously consider reporting this to the appropriate football authority. I certainly would!
Question 27: An attacker is seen running with the ball towards his opponent's goal just inside the opponent's penalty area. A defender is running very close behind the attacker. In the motion of running, their legs get tangled up - the attacker falls down in a heap. Is this a penalty or not?
Answer 27: This is a difficult decision for the Referee to make. It all depends on whether or not the Referee deems this action to have been committed accidentally whilst both players were solely intent on the ball - or purposefully committed by the defender to prevent the attacker moving further towards goal. If the Referee believes that the collision was deliberately orchestrated by the defender, then a penalty kick (or a direct free kick if occurring outside of the penalty area) should be awarded to the attacking team - if the Referee believes that the purposeful action by the defender prevented the attacker from having a clear goal scoring opportunity, then the defender should be sent-off the field of play.
If the Referee deems that the incident was purely accidental, then he should allow play to continue. The Referee should be aware that when he takes the action to allow play to continue, he will undoubtedly receive a disparaging comment or two from the attacking player and his colleagues. The Referee should penalize any dissenting comments accordingly. During incidents of these types, Referees are advised to quickly run away from the near vicinity - this prevents players 'having a go'. If the Referee is not near - then players will very often not bother too much about moaning.
If the incident is purposefully done by a defender outside of the penalty area, the Referee can allow advantage if the attacker manages to stay on his feet with the ball after the collision and carries on unaffected towards the goal - the defending team should not be given the advantage of having the attacking play stopped, and brought back for a free kick. The Referee can also consider cautioning the defender (or sending him off if the action prevented the attacker from having a clear goal scoring opportunity). The Referee will have to consider very carefully, when awarding advantage inside the penalty area following an incident of this nature. If the Referee does award advantage and allows the attacker to shoot towards goal, and the attacker subsequently misses the goal, then the Referee is on 'dubious' ground if he then awards a penalty. My 'gut' reaction would be to blow quickly for a penalty, before any further action has taken place.
I have seen some Referees wrongly award an indirect free kick for
dangerous play during these accidental! Tripping type of incidents. It
is either an unintentional accident or a deliberate foul. Either play
on, or award a penalty kick (or a direct free kick if occurring outside
of the penalty area). It is certainly not a dangerous play indirect free
kick (see question 7 above).
An indirect free kick within the penalty area is always an indirect free kick.
A direct free kick is awarded to the opposing team if a player commits
any of the following...
- Trips or attempts to trip an opponent
- Jumps at an opponent
- Charges an opponent
- Strikes or attempts to strike an opponent
- Pushes an opponent
A direct free kick is also awarded to the opposing team if a player commits any of the following  four offences:- Tackles an opponent to gain possession of the ball, making contact with the opponent before touching the ball
- Holds an opponent
- Spits at an opponent
- Handles the ball deliberately (except for the goalkeeper within his own penalty area)
- A direct free kick is taken from where the offence occurred.
A penalty kick is awarded if any of the above ten offences is committed by a player inside his own...
penalty area, irrespective of the position of the ball, provided it is in play.
Indirect Free Kick
An indirect free kick is awarded to the opposing team if a goalkeeper, inside his own penalty area,
commits any of the following  five offences:
- Takes more than six seconds while controlling the ball with his hands before releasing it from his possession
- Touches the ball again with his hands after it has been released from his possession and has not touched any other player
- Touches the ball with his hands after it has been deliberately kicked to him by a team-mate
- Touches the ball with his hands after he has received it directly from a throw-in taken by a team-mate
An indirect free kick is also awarded to the opposing team if a player, in the opinion of the Referee:
- Plays in a dangerous manner
- Impedes the progress of an opponent
- Prevents the goalkeeper from releasing the ball from his hands
- Commits any other offence, not previously mentioned in Law 12, for which play is stopped to caution or dismiss a player.
The indirect free kick is taken from where the offence occurred.
Question 31: During a cup-final match, a particular attacking player had missed a number of good scoring chances. The score is 0-0 with only one minute remaining. This attacker then scores a goal. Immediately after scoring the goal, this attacker runs over towards the opposing team's supporters, lowers his shorts and shows his backside to the crowd and then towards the opposition's technical area. What action should the Referee take, and should the goal be allowed?
Answer 31: As this disgraceful action took place after the goal had been scored - the goal must be allowed to count. The Referee should send-off the attacker for committing an offensive gesture. Law 12 states that a player is sent of if he uses offensive or insulting or abusive language and/or gestures. An offence of this nature does not have to be committed towards an opponent. It can be committed against anyone - and in this instance, the offence was committed against the opposing team's supporters.
Question 32: As the Referee is releasing the ball during a 'dropped ball' situation in the penalty area - a defending player thumps an opponent after the Referee has released the ball, but before the ball touches the ground. What action should the Referee take?
Answer 32: Law 8 states that during a 'dropped ball', the ball does not come into play until it has touched the ground. In this instance, the ball had not touched that ground before the defender struck the opponent. The Referee should send off the defender for violent conduct, and restart play with a 'dropped ball'.
Question 33: During play - if a player hits or spits at one of his own teammates in their own penalty area - is this a penalty to the opposition?
Answer 33. No. A penalty kick is only given against a team when it commits one of the ten (Penal) direct free kick offences inside its own penalty area - and whilst the ball is still in play. A penalty (or direct free kick) offence must be committed against an opponent on the field of play, and when the ball is still in play. A penalty kick cannot be awarded when an offence is committed between players of the same team - as depicted in this example. The perpetrator of this offence should be sent off the field of play. The Referee should restart the match with an indirect free kick awarded to the opposing team - to be taken at the place where the infringement occurred.
If the above incident occurred when the ball was NOT in play, then the restart would be appropriate for the stoppage - e.g. goal kick, throw-in, corner kick etc....
When the ball is still in play, any offences committed by players on the field of play against officials, coaches, spectators or teammates, must be restarted with the award of an indirect free kick to the opposing team. If the misconduct occurred off the field of play whilst the ball was still in play, the restart should be a dropped ball at the place where the ball was when the Referee stopped play.
Question 34: If whilst the ball is in play, a player on the field of play, throws an object at a person sitting in the technical area, what action should the Referee take?
Answer 34: The Referee should stop play, send-off the perpetrator for violent conduct, and restart play with an indirect free kick to the opposing team at the place from where the object was thrown.
Question 35: If after a Referee has cautioned a player, that player then profusely apologizes for his misdemeanor, can the Referee rescind the caution and not send in the caution misconduct report?
Answer 35: Certainly not - don't even think about not sending in a report. A Referee has a duty (Law 5) to report ALL cautions, sending offs and other misconduct emanating from the match.
It is vitally important that Referees' must not be influenced by pleas of leniency after awarding a caution or a sending off. Referees' must be firm in their conviction - any signs of weakness will only fuel further pleas from other players.
Referees must also be aware at all times, that the 'man with the dog' watching on the touchline, may well be an assessor (evaluator), reporting on - and measuring the Referee's performance.
Question 36: Is a player allowed to play the ball whilst he is lying on the floor - should the Referee stop play immediately to prevent any dangerous play occurring?
Answer 36: There is nothing in the Laws to prevent a player attempting to kick the ball whilst he is lying on the ground. In instances of this nature, the Referee will need to stop play immediately if he thinks that any player lying on the ground endangers himself (or any other player's) by being in that position. Opposing players will not stop trying to gain possession of the ball just because a player has 'gone to ground.
There are several following scenarios that can develop when a player falls to the ground near the ball:
So long as a player is not covering the ball or obstructing any opponents, and if that player can easily make contact with the ball without endangering any other player or himself - play should be allowed to continue. Referees must err on the side of caution when situations of this nature happen in matches involving young children. The safety aspect is far more important than worrying about whether to allow play to continue or not. Referees are advised to be particularly quick in stopping play when children are involved. Children do not have the same perspective as adults when gauging what is a dangerous attempt to kick the ball near a prostrate player - and what is not.
If the player purposefully lies on top of the ball to prevent it being released, the he should be cautioned and an indirect free kick awarded to the opposing team.
If the ball becomes inadvertently trapped beneath a player (or players) then play should be stopped immediately and restarted with a dropped ball. Stopping play in this instance will undoubtedly prevent unnecessary injury to players. The Referee should not expect players' to stop of their own accord - when a ball becomes trapped beneath players on the ground - the Referee must make a quick decision to stop play. In such situations, it is not uncommon to see three or four players all attempting to kick the ball at the same time. In the 'heat' of a football match, players can lose all sense of decorum, and have even been known to kick violently at the ball when it is near the head of a prostrate player. This is not necessarily done on purpose to injure that player - the speed of the modern game is such that actions to gain possession of the ball can be done a split second and instinctively. Nevertheless, the Referee should send off any player who he believes has purposefully endangered (or injured) a player lying on the floor, by committing a violent act or serious foul play when attempting to gain the ball.
The Referee can consider awarding an indirect free kick if a player lying on the floor is challenged in such a way that the challenging play is deemed to be dangerous. For example, if the ball is positioned very near the head of the player lying on the floor, and an opponent makes a rash attempt to kick the ball, then this could certainly be deemed to be dangerous play. A player does not have to be standing up for dangerous play to be committed against him!
If the player lying on the ground (and very near - or lying on - the ball) has injured himself whilst falling, the Referee should stop play to allow the player to receive treatment. Play is restarted with a dropped ball.
Whether the play for the ball is dangerous or not is left to the discretion of the Referee - and nobody else!
Question 37: Should the Referee always caution a player if he leaves the field of play without the Referee's permission while celebrating a goal?
Answer 37: The Referee should only administer a caution if the player gives an excessive demonstration such as: jumping over the boundary fence, gesticulating at his opponents or spectators, or ridiculing them by pointing at his shirt, removing his shirt or any other similar provocative action. The celebration of a goal was an important and emotional part of football and FIFA relaxed an earlier statement in their FIFA Circular 579 of 23 January 1996 that any player removing the jersey while celebrating a goal should be cautioned. Players will now no longer be cautioned if they remove their shirt but they will be cautioned for unsporting behavior if their celebrations are provocative and intended to incite or ridicule opponents or opposing spectators. Players guilty of excessive time wasting while celebrating a goal will also be cautioned.
Question 38: Is a fair shoulder charge, i.e. a shoulder-to-shoulder challenge still allowed?
Answer 38: There is no such thing anymore as a FAIR CHARGE. It is either a foul or it is not a foul.
The award of an Indirect Free Kick for a 'Fair Charge' challenge was
taken out of the Laws Of Associated Football during the
The offence is now either a foul or it is not a foul.
If two players are running towards the ball, and one (or both players)
shoulder charges the other, the Referee needs to decide if a foul has
been committed - and by whom.
" Just shout '50/50' get on with it!! "The intention to charge should not be governed by the size or weight of an opponent.
Example: - A large heavy player charging a very small player may look to be an obvious foul when compared to a small player blatantly charging a large heavy player.
Question 39: If an attacker running with the ball very near the touchline, plays the ball beyond a nearby defender, and then runs over the touchline out of the field of play to run past that defender - what should the Referee do if the defender (who is still on the field of play), puts an arm outside of the field of play, and holds back the attacker to prevent him from re-entering the field of play to regain possession of the ball?
Answer 39: The holding offence actually occurs outside of the field of play. The Referee should stop play and caution the defending player. The correct restart is a dropped ball at the place where the ball was located when the Referee stopped play. The Referee cannot award a free kick for an offence committed outside of the field of play. Whilst the ball is still in play, the restart for any offences committed outside of the field of play is always dropped ball.
Note: Holding an opponent includes when a player stretches out his arms across (and touches) an opponent to prevent him from moving any further. This must not be confused with impedance (obstruction), when a player stretches out his arms to block an opponent but does not initially touch the opponent. Impedance (obstruction) requires no physical contact with an opponent to be an offence - a player (who is not playing the ball) may commit impedance simply by forcing an opponent to slow down or change their path to the ball.
Holding is not impedance, but is the physical act of actually touching an opponent, and is penalized with the award of a direct free kick to the opponent's team (if the incident occurred on the field of play whilst the ball was in play). Impedance by the use of arms is when a player stretches out his arms (or arm) to block the progress of an opponent, but the stretching of the arms is initially done without touching the opponent - albeit that the momentum of the opponent may result in an eventual collision with the blocking player's arm. Impedance is penalized by an indirect free kick awarded to the opponents (if the incident occurred on the field of play whilst the ball was in play).
If a player's arm is held out long enough and far enough, and/or if the arm is used in an aggressive manner that leads to the opponent being clearly restrained and held back - both an obstruction and a holding offence have occurred at the same time - the Referee should always penalize the more serious of any two simultaneous offences, which in this case is to award a direct free kick for holding (and not an indirect free kick for impedance).
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Question 40: Why do Referees sometimes wait until the ball has gone out of play before they caution a player?
Answer 40: Law 5 empowers the Referees to let play continue by allowing advantage to the offended team if the incident committed against them was not serious enough to warrant a red card (or players are not seriously injured). If the anticipated advantage does not materialize, the Referee can stop play to penalize the original offence with the award of a free kick (and administer a caution if necessary). The Referee is not obliged to caution a player immediately after an offence has been committed, but if he allows advantage, the Referee must caution the perpetrator when the ball next goes out of play. The Referee must also be careful not to allow play to restart once the ball has gone out of play, and before he has had a chance to caution the guilty player.
In incidents where a serious misconduct and a sending-off are warranted, the Referee must be very certain that if he allows an advantage: that (a) no further serious misconduct will occur, (b) there are no players seriously injured), (c) the player committing the offence does not take further part in the game action, and (d) most importantly, the advantage should only be given if a clear goal scoring chance is immediately and obviously available. As a rule of thumb, Referees are not advised to allow advantage following a misconduct offence warranting a sending off. The Referee is better off stopping play immediately to deal with the misconduct. Allowing advantage to continue, may result in the player who committed the sending of offence, participating again in play - and this cannot be allowed to happen.
In the early days of football, cautions were originally intended to be a severe warning to players of a potential sending-off. Even though the Laws of the Game specifically state that a yellow card should be issued for particular misconduct, experienced Referee will firstly try to warn players by talking to them. This can prevent further misdemeanors happening. Other Referees do not bother with the talking bit, and will issue a caution much more quickly.
Question 41: What is the difference between 'Serious Foul Play' and 'Violent Conduct'?
Answer 41: New Referees should not worry too much about identifying 'which is which' in their reports. The report will not get rescinded just because the incorrect term was used. The important thing is to note down and report exactly what happened and deal with the perpetrators by sending them off. New Referees who are unsure of whether an incident was Violent Conduct or Serious Foul play can contact a more senior Referee colleague for assistance.
Serious foul play is when a player on the field of play commits one of the offences punishable with a direct free kick (or penalty kick) carried out whilst the ball is in play, using disproportionate and unnecessary force when making a challenge for the ball against an opponent. This can include instances when there is a good chance, little chance, or no chance at all of the perpetrator actually making contact with the ball. Serious foul play cannot be committed against a teammate, the Manager, the Coach, the Referee, the Assistant Referee, a Spectator, a Substitute or any other person who is not a player. If a serious act is committed against an opponent whilst the ball is out of play, or not in a game play situation, this must be penalized as violent conduct. (For example, if following a challenge for the ball which has now traveled some twenty yards away from the challengers - one of the challengers decides to elbow his opponent in the face - this is Violent Conduct and not Serious Foul play, because the misconduct did not take place in a game play situation, but happened after the original play for the ball.).
The restart following a serious foul play offence is either a direct
The restarts for violent conduct are as follows:
- Direct Free Kick (or a penalty kick if the incident occurred in the perpetrator's own penalty area) to be awarded if the ball was in play when violent conduct was committed on the field of play, and involved opposing players. Direct free kick to be taken at the place where the incident occurred.
- Indirect Free kick to be awarded if the violent conduct offence is committed on the field of play against (non-opponents) e.g. Referees, officials, coaches, spectators or teammates. Indirect free kick to be taken at the place where the offence was committed on the field of play.
- Dropped ball to be awarded if the violent conduct offence is committed off the field of play and whilst the ball was still in play. Dropped ball to be taken at the place where the ball was when the Referee stopped play.
- Ball out of play when the violent conduct offence occurred - the game should be restarted at the normal stage where it was interrupted prior to the offence - e.g. a goal kick, corner kick, throw-in, free kick, place kick etc.
Question 42: Just exactly
what is an obvious goal scoring opportunity?
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Question 60: A defender takes a free kick just outside of his penalty area. He plays the ball back to his goalkeeper who unbeknown to the defender is lying injured on the ground. The ball is making its way towards goal, when the same defender manages to intercept it, but in doing so, the defender slices at the ball that then crosses the goal line between the goal posts, and into the goal. Does the goal count?
Answer 60: No. A goal has not been legitimately scored, as a player cannot play the ball a second time at such a restart, and an indirect free kick must be awarded. The normal restart by Law 13 for touching the ball a second time after taking a free kick is for the opposing team to be awarded an indirect free kick to be taken at the place where the defender touched the ball for a second time. If the defender touched the ball a second time inside the goal area, then the indirect free kick should be taken from that part of the goal area line which runs parallel to the goal line, at the point nearest to where the defender touched the ball a second time.
Notwithstanding the above, an astute Referee will have noticed that the goalkeeper is injured, and blow his whistle to stop play straight away before any of the above action ensues! (UK/RA).
Question 61: If a defending player taking a free kick just outside of his own penalty area, kicks the ball back towards his goalkeeper, but his goalkeeper misses the ball with his foot, but makes contact on the ball with his hands before it crosses his own goal line and into the net - what should the Referee do? Is it an indirect free kick for touching the ball after receiving it directly from a kick from his team mate (i.e. a back pass) or should the goal be awarded?
Answer 61: As in the above question - Law 5 allows the Referee to apply advantage and allow play to continue after an offence (handling of the ball by the goalkeeper after receiving it from a team mate) has been committed - thus benefiting the team that the offence had been committed against. The goal should therefore be allowed to count.
Question 62: If a goalkeeper holding the ball within his own penalty area throws the ball to a team mate who is also standing in the penalty area, then the team mate miss-kicks the ball and it enters the goal after being handled by the goalkeeper, is this a goal?
Answer 62. Yes. The Referee should allow play to continue as no infringement had occurred. The miss-kick by the defender is not a deliberate act -and therefore cannot be deemed to be a deliberate back-pass - so it is irrelevant whether the goalkeeper handles the ball or not - the goal should still be awarded.
Question 63: (From John Stockman 28 Jan 2001) What does it mean when a Referee puts his elbow(s) in the air and starts waving them about?
Answer 63: This is not a standard recognized Referee signal, but it usually refers to when a Referee has blown for a foul, and is indicating to others, that a player had held another player down whilst trying to jump up to head the ball. This usually happens when a high ball is coming towards two opposing players who are challenging for the ball with their head, then one of the players (usually the one standing behind) puts is his hands on the shoulders of the player in front and uses his shoulders as leverage to lift himself higher, or prevents the player in front of him, from jumping up properly by holding him down by the shoulders.
This is not a widely recognized signal, but nonetheless, is used by some Referees.
Thanks to John for an interesting question.
Question 64: Teams playing in a Christian league, normally have connections with the Church in some way. If the club secretary of the home team informs the Referee that the football is of a high standard, but if any player uses the phrases "Oh God" or "Christ sake" the Referee will be asked by the Christian league to issue a red card for foul and abusive language, as suggested by the Christian league rules. If this situation arises, should the Referee be stricter, and can the discipline report be passed to the Christian league for action, as opposed to sending it to the normal County Discipline Secretary for action?
Answer 64: The official line is, that any football team playing within a County should be affiliated to that County's Football Association. All the players belonging to that team must also be registered with the County FA before they can play. As such, Church type leagues are no different to any other league - and come under the jurisdiction of their County Football Association in all matters - including discipline.
A qualified Referee should not officiate outside of his County without first obtaining permission from his parent County FA (the one that he is registered with). It is also a matter of courtesy for Referees to inform their parent County before officiating elsewhere.
Some 'Church' type league rules are more stringent towards improving discipline standards than those off normal league status. Nevertheless, 'Church' type leagues should adhere to the same standards as everyone else. Any suggestion that disciple will be dealt by the 'Church' league themselves (as opposed to sending in discipline reports to the normal County Discipline Secretary) is not legal.
Registered County Referees must send any discipline reports to the County Discipline Secretary and not to the 'Church' league secretary for action. 'Church' type leagues may try and persuade Referees to be stricter when dealing with swearing and dissent. Although one cannot deny the principles behind this, one of the hardest things for a Referee to learn is consistency. And in this matter, a Referee should not be stricter with the Church Team on a Saturday, than he would be with a normal league team playing the following day on a Sunday morning.
Problems will also arise when a player disciplined for saying "Oh Christ" whilst playing for a 'Church' team on a Saturday, also plays for his local pub team on a Sunday morning, where such an expletive will most probably be ignored by most Referees - if he repeats the "Oh Christ" on the Sunday whilst playing for the pub team, will the same Referee take the same action? I doubt it. If the same Referee has to officiate in both games, he leaves himself open to applying double standards - and this cannot be allowed to happen.
Notwithstanding the above, the sentiments of the 'Church' type leagues must be admired. Any move to install discipline and to cut down swearing and dissent must be a good move. The problem the Referee has - is in fulfilling the 'Church' league expectations for acting swiftly to deal with swearing and dissent. The level of swearing and dissent, should really be a matter for the 'Church; league to promote (as undoubtedly they do)......the Referee should not be expected to follow the 'Church' league sentiments without falling into the trap of using double standards when dealing with discipline.
It is a sad fact, that the 'factory' language of football has reached an unprecedented level of acceptance - it's a great pity that the standards of the 'Church; leagues cannot be imposed on all of the other leagues.
Question 65: When a goalkeeper who has released the ball at his feet, purposefully picks it up again to prevent an oncoming nearby challenging attacker gaining possession and shooting towards goal. Should the Referee Send off the goalkeeper for denying a goal scoring opportunity and restart with an indirect free kick, or should the Referee just give the goalkeeper a caution and restart with an indirect free kick for touching the ball a second time after he has released it.
Answer 65: As the ball was clearly in control of the goalkeeper and not the oncoming player, it is not a clear goal scoring opportunity. An indirect free kick should be awarded. The additional punishment of a caution is not automatic. If the Referee considers that the goalkeeper has gained an unfair advantage over his opponent, he would judge this as unsporting behavior and caution him.
When a goalkeeper handles the ball whilst in his own penalty area, in violation of the laws as in the above question, the punishment is an indirect free kick and not a penalty kick.
Because a goalkeeper is allowed to handle the ball in his own penalty area, he can not therefore be sent off for stopping an obvious goal scoring opportunity by illegal use of his hands in his own penalty area. (The goalkeeper can of course be sent off for stopping an obvious goal scoring opportunity by other fouls, or if he stops an obvious goal scoring opportunity by handling the ball outside of his penalty area).
Question 66: Is an 'over-the-top' (or over-the-ball) tackle that does not connect with an opponents leg, deemed to be an indirect free kick for dangerous play, or a direct free lick for a penal offence (i.e. attempting to kick an opponent) ?
Answer 66: Direct free kick or penalty, depending where the offence occurred and by whom. The disciplinary action will rely on the Referee's view of the severity of the offence. This is classified under the penal offences, kicking or attempting to kick an opponent.
Question 67: As you know, it is impossible to slide tackle someone without having your studs facing the ball. I know that this isn't normally a foul when tackling from one side. But what happens if an attacker is running towards a defender who in turn is running towards the attacker, the defender slide tackles (with 1 foot), taking the ball, but sending the attacker flying. In my view if you touch the ball it shouldn't be a foul, what is your view?
Answer 67: Firstly, you CAN slide tackle with your knee. A slide tackle does not necessarily have to involve the studs facing the ball. For example, you can also slide tackle with the toes pointed downwards, with the studs facing the grass. Referees should always penalize slide tackles when they are done in such a way that they jeopardize the safety of the opponent (it does not matter whether the ball is touched first or not). Only just last night (26 March 2001) in the English Nationwide Div. 1 game West Bromwich Albion v Tranmere Rovers, the Referee penalized two such slide tackles, neither, of which made contact with the opponent but both made in a reckless way using excessive force (Law 12).
It does not matter whether the defender touches the ball or not, it is the fact that the attacker is sent flying that decides whether the Referee will penalize him or not. If two opposing players are running towards each other, and one of them decides to make a slide tackle from the front â€“ then this is most certainly reckless and undoubtedly involves excess force. If a Referee decides NOT to immediately penalize such action, then he will give the 'Green light' for players to make reckless tackles during the rest of the game. And this cannot be allowed to happen.
Making contact with firstly with the ball is normally accepted. But it is not excepted if the tackle is done in such a way that the tackling player - although in Law making a clean tackle - undoubtedly aims to inflict some damage to the opponent. The strength and outcome of the tackle will gauge what action the Referee can take. (a) A strong talking to: (b) A caution for Unsporting Behavior (tackle made in a reckless way using excessive force): (c) A sending-off (Serious Foul Play - even if the ball was touched first) if the tackle is done in such a way that the ball is a secondary consideration, and inflicting injury to the opponent is the first. These types of tackles are very easy to recognize and should be penalized accordingly. Just because a tackling player makes contact with the ball first, this does not mean that every tackle is legal. For example: A player who makes a reckless tackle but touched the ball before he touched the opponent - should be penalized. Touching the ball first does not necessarily give the tackling player a 'get out of jail card'.
The often-heard shout of "But I played the ball Ref." does not necessarily mean free immunity for the perpetrator!
26 March 2001 - Great question from Tommy...........................many thanks.
Question 68: If a player deliberately runs into the Referee what action should he take?
Answer 68: The Referee is a part of the field of play â€“ so it could be argued that no offence has occurred. e.g. If a player purposefully ran into a goalpost, this would not be deemed as an offence. You might think that the player is barking mad but all players are slightly touched anyway!
As rumor has it - that the Referee was once a human being and not born inert the perspective is somewhat different. If a player purposefully runs into the Referee, the first question is "Was it done to harm the Referee". I have been involved with players jokingly running into me and I have reacted in a similar way and just laughed it off. Yes, Referees DO have a sense of humor!
If a player purposefully bumps into the Referee then the severity, speed, whether the action influenced the game, whether it was done whilst the ball was in play or not etc. etc... all need to be taken into consideration before the Referee makes a decision.
There are 4 actions that the Referee can take:
- 1. Do nothing.
- 2. Give the player a verbal roasting for being a Pratt!
- 3. Caution the player for unsporting behavior.
- 4. Send the player off for violent conduct.
Law 12 Fouls and Misconduct allow the Referee a huge amount of discretion when making decisions covering discipline. For example, Unsporting conduct can cover anything from farting to larking about! Nevertheless, it is the Referees duty (Law 5) to take the appropriate disciplinary action against irresponsible players.
Another factor for the Referee to consider is the players size in contrast to the Referee. For example: I weigh 16 stone, am over 6 feet tall, and build like a brick sh*t house. A punitive bump by a 7 stone weakling (or a 7 year old player) is not likely to have much effect on me. I would probably not even notice it â€“ in the course of battle. Conversely, a 16 stone player bumping into a 7 stone Referee will just as likely flatten the Referee like a cow pancake. Notwithstanding all this, it is the act itself and not the severity that must be primarily considered. Purposefully bumping into the Referee is deemed to be violent conduct warranting a red card. BUT as mentioned above, a great deal of Law 18 Common sense must be applied before taking the appropriate action.
There is no easy solution, and each Referee will react differently.
If a player accidentally runs into the Referee " then there is not much that the Referee can do " except shout ouch! As a mobile part of the field of play, the Referee is responsible for getting out of the way during play situations. I have been bumped into accidentally on many occasions and each one has been properly ignored with a touch of humor. If players berate me for being the way then I agree with them, and try even harder to stay out wide from the play action areas.
Now? "What about those situations where the Referee runs into a player" now that is a different question altogether?
Thanks to Dave Larder of Bulldogs Unleashed Western Australia for the interesting question.
Question 69: In the cases when a goalkeeper illegally handles the ball thus denying an obvious goal scoring opportunity, should compassion be used by Referees in a youth contest - i.e. can the Referee ignore the first occurrence of this offence and just teach the 'keeper about the Law?
Answer 69: Although the sentiments above are understandable, there are many factors that make the statement very complex to apply fairly.
For example, at what age would you start applying the Law correctly?
What action would you take in a mixed-age team - and how would you know the ages of each player?
What would you do as a Referee say, if you failed top apply the Law to a 16 year old goalkeeper playing in a youth team on a Saturday - and the same player repeated a similar offence whilst he was playing for an adult Sunday team the next day.
By not applying the Law correctly, young players will expect to be treated the same when they get older - and if they are not, will undoubtedly protest to the Referee. Albeit that some leniency and understanding must be show during throw-ins and kick-offs when very young players are concerned - the goal scoring opportunity is a serious offence that can immediately effect the result of a game - and should therefore always be penalized properly.
Ignoring such incidents will inevitably lead to serious problems with astute parents and coaches.
Compassion in Youth games is a two edged sword that the Referee needs to use very very carefully - it relies on the goodwill of the coaches, managers, players, parents and spectators.
And goodwill can turn nasty in an instance.
As a general rule, goal-scoring opportunities should be penalized properly at all ages - else trouble is surely waiting around the next corner.
When a goalkeeper handles the ball whilst in his own penalty area, in violation of the laws, the punishment is an indirect free kick and not a penalty kick (for example, when he handles the ball after receiving it directly from a colleague taking a throw-in).
Because a goalkeeper is allowed to handle the ball in his own penalty area, he cannot therefore be sent off for stopping an obvious goal scoring opportunity by illegal use of his hands in his own penalty area. (The goalkeeper can of course be sent off for stopping an obvious goal scoring opportunity by other fouls, or if he stops an obvious goal scoring opportunity by handling the ball outside of his penalty area).
Many thanks to Karl Arps - first year licensed referee in the U.S. for this interesting question.
Question 70: If a Referee awards a foul, but is unable to positively identify the exact player that committed the foul, what should he do?
Answer 70: When awarding fouls, it can sometimes happen, that although the Referee has awarded the correct decision, the speed and entanglement of nearby players (and the fact that players are all dressed the same) can prevent the Referee identifying the individual perpetrator of the incident. In such cases, the Referee still has a duty to act positively in penalizing the offending team. There is no stipulation in the Laws that require the Referee to positively identify every culprit. However, recognizing who the culprit is, can allow the Referee to take the appropriate action such as, having a quiet word, or issuing a caution etc. Notwithstanding this, any enquiries from dissenting players to "positively identify" who committed the foul must be quickly and strongly dealt with - the Referee should not waver, he should not succumb to the 'badgering' of players seeking identification, and he has no obligation in Law to identify the unidentifiable!
As is often the case, decisions made by Referees are HONEST decisions made at that particular time. Referees, who penalize a team, have no option but to apply the correct punishment - there is no other alternative. If approached by players seeking positive identification, the Referee is advised to back-off slowly a couple of yards, at the same time telling the oncoming players on a loud voice to "Move away!" using the (back-off) arm/hand signal - similar to that used when shooing chickens or cows away! During incidents of this nature, Referees are not advised to discuss anything with players. Doing so will only lead to further trouble. So long as you know your decision and the punishment you award is correct - what else can a Referee do. Not knowing for sure who did the foul should not negate the advantage of the free kick if deserved.
Question 71: An attacker and defender left the pitch during the momentum of the game, and the ball remained in play. As the attacker tries to re-enter the field of play, the defender holds him back. As this incident is, off the pitch, and the ball is 'in play' what decision should a referee make regarding this Incident,
Answer 71: (sanctioned by the UK RA). If an advantage can be applied the Referee should allow play to continue and during the next stoppage in play caution the defender and show the yellow card, for unsporting behavior. Where no advantage is to be gained then the Referee should stop play, caution the defender and show the yellow card for unsporting behavior and restart play with a drop ball from the place where it was at the time of stopping the game.
Question 72: Should Referees be made to do penance for mistakes made in games? For example as happened during a Norwich City game in season 2000/2001 where a midfielder committed a second yellow offence, the Referee dealt with an injured player first then went to send off the offending player. Unfortunately, a defender with the same hairstyle had walked up the pitch and was sent off by mistake. Ok, his sending off was rescinded later, but what if he was the star man of the game and they lost because of his sending off. Would the club have right of appeal against the loss?
Answer 72: As far as the Laws themselves are concerned - Law 5 clearly states that:
"The decisions of the referee connected with play are final".
That's it really as far as Referees are concerned.
What the question really alludes to is - how much money could be lost following a (genuine honest) refereeing mistake - as far as the commercial business of that particular Club is concerned?
20 -30 years ago, people would have accepted the honest mistake. Sadly, these days, money and success are the ONLY factors that seem to count. Whatever happened to the spirit of the game"?
Albeit that theses days, there may be some mileage in the sentiments. Far be it for a single person to make a judgment that all the wisdom of Solomon, plus an FA panel of judges, and a number of independent adjudicators would take weeks to decide (if at all). The outcome of which could have serious repercussions on the game itself.
Why can't people just accept that mistakes will be made - instead of pillorying every Referee that "so much as farts" in a game?
This is not really a refereeing type question. The answer lies with the decision-making football authorities.
At the end of every game, Referees have done their bit honestly at that particular time. You can't ask for any more than that - surely?
I suppose it is only a matter of time before one of the goalkeepers (or players) is made to pay for letting in a goal that relegates his team from the Premier league. And how many unpunished or talked-about mistakes do they make in a year. More than referees I'll warrant.
We are very much in danger of losing perspective over what in essence is still a game!
Imagine the furor that would occur if one team's relegation was rescinded by a panel of so called judges at a later date, at the expense of another innocent team who get relegated instead.
World War 3 comes to mind!
Question 73: Will technology enhance the game?
Answer 73: Albeit that I (Webmaster) can understand the commercial reasons for advocating the use of technology, I'm not personally in favor of ANY technology being used myself.
There has been talk particularly of using camera technology to decide if a ball crosses the line for a goal or not. This is all well and good at the top level, but what about the majority of Referees who officiate at Park level where such technology will never be used. I am a great advocate that genuine mistakes made by the match officials and the players are a fundamental part of the game itself - and this is why it has such a massive worldwide following. Take away the mistakes, and you might as well stay at home and mow the lawn!
Microphones and earpieces were experimented with in England during most of the 1999/2000 seasons, it lasted a while, but match officials now generally do without them. Referees with their ears taped up, and Assistants talking to their flags made them vulnerable to more ridicule. I believe that technology needs to advance further to make such methods less intrusive and more comfortable for the users. Referees were very often seen adjusting their tapped ear-pieces - and this can only detract from the Referees main task of concentrating on the game itself. The buzzing armband seemed to work for a while. During off sides, the Assistant Referee would press a button on his flag-stick, that in turn would vibrate a concealed armband on the Referee's arm.
Before long, we will have remote controls that can be passed out to allow spectators control of the Referee himself!! Whatever next?????????????
I suppose that one-day, we might even have video evidence that will be used to change the result of a game, because the player who scored the goal was 10 centimeters offside. I think we are heading down a very slippery slope with the utilization of technology - especially if our decisions are constantly overruled by the opinion of some glorified machine or a panel who sits two days after the game has finished.
Question 74: It was noticed during a match that two illegal substitutions were made, and the substitutes entered the field of play at different times during the game, without first notifying the Referee or the Assistant Referee. In the first instance, and after the Referee had realized what had happened, the Referee issued a strong warning to the substitute. In the second instance, the Referee decided to issue a caution to the second substitute who had entered the field of play without the Referee's permission. Surely the Referee should have cautioned both the substitutes and not just the second substitute?
Answer 74: It is not very often that amateur players will purposefully cheat by entering substitutes without informing the Referee. Law 3 (Number of Players) specifically states that a player should be cautioned if he enters the field of play without first obtaining the Referee's permission.
In this first instance, the Referee has used common sense and gave the benefit of doubt to the substitute - who probably did not have a clue about the correct procedure to be used. The Referee should be allowed to use his good judgment by simply warning the player after the first instance. If players continue to cheat after being warned by the Referee (as in the second instance) then the perpetrator should be definitely cautioned. Of course, this only applies to junior (or park) levels of football. Senior players know all about the Law 3 regulations concerning substitutions - so any misdemeanor of Law 3 by them should be punished at the first instance by the obligatory yellow card.
Question 75: If a goalkeeper controls the ball by balancing it on his head (using a gentle rolling to keep it in place), is he deemed to have it under his possession, and is an opposing player allowed to challenge him?
Answer 75: This is a clever question that paradoxically has a simple answer. The only thing that a goalkeeper can use in his penalty area, that other players cannot, are his hands. Apart from that, he is just the same as any other player.
So ask yourself this. If a player (not a goalkeeper) had the ball balancing on top of his head - is another player legally entitled to make a play for it (for example, by jumping up and heading it off)?
Of course he is.
And the same goes for a daft goalkeeper who balances the ball on his fizzog!.
As soon as the goalkeeper releases the ball from his hands, it becomes fair game for an attacking player to make a play for it. So if he decides to place it on the top of his head, it is very likely that it is not only the ball that will be knocked off his shoulders!
Question 76: I went to watch a game the other day, why can't Referees be consistent?
Answer 76: Consistency is not just what it "says on the tin".
Take two similar tackles by player and player for the same team.
- Player fouls an opponent and the Referee just has a quiet word with him.
- Player commits a similar foul 5 minutes later and the Referee shows him a yellow card.
Inconsistency or what! Rubbish!
A spectator in the stands has no idea what grief and dissent and whinnying, player has been giving the Referee throughout the match. And neither does the spectator keep a tally of minor infringements committed previously by player .
The tackle by player is cautioned quite correctly under Law 12 , because player persistently infringed the Laws of the Game.
But to you in the stand, this looks like inconsistency because the two tackles where similar.
What I am trying to point out to you, is that consistency is not quite so easy to understand as you make it out to be. You only see what you see, and not what the Referee sees or hears.
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