E-News Detail

Cal South E-News | May 2010 REFEREE EDUCATION

May 20, 2010

Rules 101 content provided by U.S. Soccer

Laws of the Game:
Ask the Referee

In response to various questions, the following are responses from the National Referee Program Office:


Question: A referee brought up this question at our association meeting tonight. It started quite a debate and we would like to know the correct answer to put this to rest: A shot on goal is made by an attacker. The goalkeeper is too short to stop the ball from entering the goal with his hands so he pulls on the back of the net thus preventing the ball from completely crossing over the goal line.

What should the referee do in this case? If he stops play, what action should he take and what is the restart?

Answer (May 6, 2010): In using the net as an artificial aid (and extension of his hands), the goalkeeper has theoretically denied the opposing team a goal or an obvious goal-scoring opportunity by deliberately handling the ball. However, as we know from Law 12, the goalkeeper is expressly excluded from the requirement for a send-off in this case, "(this does not apply to a goalkeeper within his own penalty area)." Solution? After the caution is given for unsporting behavior, award an indirect free kick for the opposing team on the goal area line parallel to the goal line at the point nearest to where the infringement occurred.


Question: Do all of the lines on a field need to be of uniform color? While common sense would prevail that they should be of the same color, that is always not the case due to fields being utilized by more than one sport. In this case, it was a grass field, not an artificial surface. It was a U9 "travel" game.

The touch lines were of different colors, the goal lines were different than the touch lines, and the penalty area was yet another color. I know there is a law regarding the size of the lines, but I could find nothing requiring the uniformity of color for all boundaries. "..All lines must be of the same width, which must not be more than 12cm (5inches)..." The game was played, but our coach told me that his team and the referee had difficulty throughout the game identifying if a ball was in or out of a particular area of the field.

Answer (May 4, 2010): While Law 1 states only that the goal posts and crossbar must be colored white, it is traditional that all field markings are in white. And "traditional" means that this is the way it is supposed to be done. Field managers should not be artistic geniuses; they should prepare the field in accordance with the expected: white lines.

We understand that some competitions use multi-purpose fields, and because of this, the participants must simply cope with that issue.


Question: During a GU15 game, the center referee (CR) issued a yellow card to a player for a (presumed) reckless tackle. After showing the yellow card, the CR was called over to the sidelines by another referee who was mentoring the game. If the center referee issues a yellow card for a reckless foul, can a mentor recommend changing the yellow to a red, and have the center referee change the yellow to a red on the spot? Again, the 5th referee here refers to one who is only a mentor, and does not have an active role in the game.

Answer (May 4, 2010): Unless there is some special rule in your state that does not exist in other states, the mentor (or the assessor) is not allowed to interfere with the referee's handling of the game until after the game has ended; not at a stoppage, not at halftime. He or she cannot intervene to make the referee change a call or take back a card or anything else. That sort of thing is done in the post-game conference.

However, the mentor (but NOT the assessor) could quietly suggest to the nearer assistant referee that the referee might wish to do this a bit differently -- provided that the game has not already been restarted. The AR could then pass this information on to the referee.


Question: My understanding is during a stoppage for an injury a coach (the team not with the injured player) is not allowed to call his players over to the bench area (technical area) and provide coaching instruction. Likewise, the coach of the injured player who comes on the field with permission cannot gather his field players and provide coaching /tactical advise. I cannot find this in the Laws, Guide to Referees, and Advise to Referees. Can you direct me?

Answer (May 3, 2010): There is no rule against either coach or other team official calling his or her players over to the touch line to discuss tactics during a stoppage for injury. However, if a coach or other team official is permitted on the field to see to the status of a seriously injured player -- the only reason for stopping play for an injury is if the referee believes it to be serious -- he or she may not share any information with any players of that team who are on the field. That would be regarded as irresponsible behavior, forcing the referee to expel the coach.

However, the intelligent referee will preempt the coach from coaching by stopping him early and letting him know that coaching on the field is not permitted. If the coach persists, then the referee should take more drastic action.

For more, please visit USSoccer.com