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Cal South E-News | June 2011 REFEREE EDUCATION

June 17, 2011

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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:


Can a keeper that has made a save run to the 18 yard line, release the ball (to himself) and then continue toward the opponent's goal, dribbling the ball and keeping possession, or does the keeper have to release the ball to a teammate?

Once the goalkeeper has released the ball from his hands (other than through bouncing it on the ground, tossing it into the air and catching it, or dropping it to his foot to kick away), the ball is free for any player to play. Of course the goalkeeper may do this.


A player receives a caution for a tackle. The player who was tackled is still down for several minutes, there has been no restart to the game. Can the referee issue a second caution to the same player?

Directly to the question you posed: On what pretext would the referee want to issue a second caution in this situation? The referee saw the initial act as either reckless or as unsporting behavior, so called the foul and issued the caution. The fact that the "injured" player is still down is not grounds for a second caution.

Instead of worrying about a caution, the referee should be interested in the condition of the player on the field. If the "injury" seems to be serious, the referee should allow a competent person from the player's team to examine the player and help him off the field.

An alternative solution: Because play has not been restarted the referee may, upon mature reflection over the nature of the challenge and subsequent foul, change his or her mind from the initial caution to a send-off for serious foul play or violent conduct, whichever is applicable.


What obligation does my keeper have to chase after errant shots on goal that go 30-40 yards out of bounds after each shot. Our rules required the home team (not me) to provide 3 game balls but they only provided one. After the first errant shot, I asked the AR where the other game balls were and was told there were none. I suggested they get some because my keeper is not going to run 60-80 yards after each bad shot. After no other balls were forthcoming and after about the fifth bad shot, I told my keeper to walk to get the balls, and the referee criticized me for timewasting. I said this would not be an issue if you would get the required number of game balls. My real question is does my keeper have to get the balls at all?

Whichever team is putting the ball back into play must make the effort to go after balls that are kicked beyond the immediate area of the goal line. (We cannot give a specific distance as a measure, as fields differ in their setting.) In any case, in order to expedite play each team should volunteer one person to stand behind each goal to retrieve the errant balls.

If the rules of the competition (league, cup, club) require that the home team provide three balls, then the referee MUST also enforce the rules before worrying about the visiting team not running great distances for the ball. However, if the home team cannot come up with three balls, then the visiting team may be able to furnish them. (The referee must also have checked all three balls prior to the start of the game for suitability, in accordance with Law 2 and Law 5.)

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