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Cal South E-News | October 2010 REFEREE EDUCATION

October 22, 2010

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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:


If a team makes an illegal keeper change, Law 3 instructs the referee to wait for the next stoppage before cautioning the players involved. What if the next stoppage is a goal scored by the offending team? My assumption is that the goal would not count because Law 10 states that there must not have been an infringement by the scoring team. Is this correct? If my assumption is correct, then what would be the restart? Would the restart be an IFK in the goal area for the non-offending team?

There are two separate issues here.

First, Law 10's reference to a prior violation of the Law by the team scoring the goal is traditionally understood to mean a violation that played some part in the scoring of the goal. For example, if a Red fullback, at his team's end of the field, just before Red scores a goal, directed dissent to the trail AR, the fullback would, of course, be cautioned for the dissent but this would not nullify the goal because there was no connection between the two events.

Second, the caution for the illegal goalkeeper change does not in the slightest affect the legal status of either player -- more specifically, the goalkeeper is still the goalkeeper regardless of how he or she became the goalkeeper. Accordingly, not only is there no nexus between the illegal goalkeeper change (see issue 1, above) but the caution for this misconduct is not at all like the illegal entry of a substitute. In the latter case, the person on the field illegally is still illegal and represents a continuing violation of the Law whereas the illegal goalkeeper change is a discrete offense whose punishment is simply being delayed (until the next stoppage which, in this case, is the goal being scored).

The goal should count.


How many coaches are allowed in the coaches box during a game?

Under USSF guidelines and in the absence of any competition authority rule specifying otherwise, anyone other than a substitute who is in the technical area is to be considered a team official. Some youth leagues allow as many as four, but the number of coaches permitted in the coaches box (generally known as the technical area) is determined by the rules of the particular competition or competitions in which you referee. Your assignor should be able to supply you with the rules.


My question is regarding Assistant Referee mechanics and signaling. Particularly for goal and corner kicks.

As an AR, I am level with the 2nd to last defender, which is outside of the penalty area. The attacking team takes a hard shot, and I chase the ball down to the goal line. Being that it is a hard shot, it crosses the goal line by the time I am level with the penalty mark.

Where do I make my signal for goal kick? Do I continue to run towards the goal line until I am level with the goal area (6 yards from the goal line) and then signal? Or signal from where I am standing when the ball crosses the goal line?

I have the same question regarding corner kick signals. If the shot deflected off a defender and crosses the goal line when I am level with the penalty mark. Do I continue my run until I am beside the corner flag before signaling?

First, make every effort to follow the ball down the field. That said, we all know that a ball can travel faster in the air than most ARs can run along the line.

Therefore, if you are close to the goal line (e .g., 2-3 yards) or if it is clear that the restart will be a goal kick, continue on down to the goal line and signal for the goal kick.

However, if under the circumstances, you are caught fairly far away from the goal line when the ball leaves the field OR if there is likely to be controversy about the restart, it is generally better to stop where you are, make eye contact with the referee, and signal so that the referee gets your information quickly. Then, after the referee clearly agrees, proceed to the position on the line which the Guide to Procedures advises you take initially for a goal kick restart.

This advice would be equally true if the ball left the field for a corner kick -- except that, if you do go down to the goal line, take a step or two back upfield before signalling so that the flag is not pointing off the field.

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