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Soccer Referee Questions on Soccer Rules
Welcome to -- a Soccer Law Question and Answer site. Providing answers to questions regarding soccer laws since October 11, 1999... to ask a question simply click on Ask the Ref in the menu bar and pose your question and the panel will reply. Those who have ideas or articles please feel free to contact the editor Richard Dawson at with suggestions.

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Law 3 - The Players 4/14/2021

RE: Under 19

george of New York, New York Unites States asks...

A big pet peeve of mine as a referee is with subs wearing pinnies/bibs. I now include it in my very short pregame to players during check-in to wear it all the way like a jersey. Yet I still run into, quite frequently, where players will still just have it in their hand or neck, not wearing it at midfield while waiting to sub, not wearing it on the bench, etc. It has annoyed me to the point where I may start not allowing a team to bring subs on unless their players are wearing their pinnies the whole time including standing at midfield until the whistle is blown when they can take it off.

Am I coming across as too dictatorial by possibly doing this? I feel that it is such a simple thing for them to do it doesn't restrict their mo...

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Law 13 - Free Kicks 4/12/2021

RE: Comp Under 19

Stephen of Sydney, NSW Australia asks...

Free kicks: I was recently told by another referee that a defending team has the right to call for a wall if a free is to be taken from within shooting range of the goal. That is, the attacking team cannot take a quick free kick if a defender asks the referee to set a wall. Is this a LOTG?...

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Law 12 - Fouls and Misconduct 4/11/2021

RE: Rec Adult

Mark of West Pymble, New South Wales Australia asks...


Today in my son's senior game, the opposition deliberately passed the ball back to their goalkeeper but misdirected it causing the keeper to have to use his hands to prevent the ball from going into the goal. The referee awarded an indirect free kick to my son's team, on the 6 yard box, and gave the oppositon GK a yellow card. Was this the correct action to take?


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Law 18 - Common Sense 4/8/2021

RE: Pro Adult

Crebs Crem of Zagreb , Croatia asks...

Are the referees advised not to play the advantage but to give the free-kick if the player who has been fouled seems to be injured and cannot get up? If the referees aren't advised as such, how would they deal with the following potential scenario?
Red team player is fouled but red team maintains possession for a while and therefore the referee waves play on. Then, blue team gains possession and scores by developing a very fast counter-attack. However, red team player who has been fouled is still on the floor when his/her team concedes the goal. So, should the referee have stopped play at the moment when blue team's counter-attack starts, so that red team won't be like one man down? But this time, it might be unfair against...

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Mechanics 4/6/2021

RE: Other Other

Derek of Cary, IL USA asks...

I don't feel like my question was answered I seems like it was lost in the background information. I'll post it here again:

If a mass walk-off occurs (reducing a team's players to below 7) and the referee either "stops play" or "suspends play," who determines if and when the match can be restarted (referee, league officials, or other)?
Does the wording that the referee uses matter, or am I just quibbling over semantics?...

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Law 5 - The Referee 4/5/2021

RE: Other Other

Derek of Cary, Illinois United States asks...

In the Valencia-Cadiz match, the entire Valencia team walked off the field because of an alleged racial slur thrown at one of their players. To my knowledge the referee did not sanction the player who spoke it. Several minutes later Valencia returned to the field only after allegedly told "they had to or lose three points," inferring that they would've forfeited and/or been sanctioned by La Liga.

My Question: The referee cannot restart the game if there are less than 7 players on either team. If a mass walk-off like this occurred and the referee either "stops play" or "suspends play," who determines if and when the match can be restarted (referee or league officials)? I assume the nuances of the wording makes a difference her...

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High School 4/4/2021

RE: U18 High School

Jason C. of Lacrosse, WI USA asks...

Question pertaining to NFHS rule 12, section 7 but I would also be interested to know the IFAB rule as well.

A shot comes in at the far edge of the penalty area. The keeper runs over and grabs the ball inside the penalty area with one hand and then appears to intentionally drop it inside the area because his momentum is about to carry him outside the area and he doesn't want to be carrying the ball with him as he goes. He then turns around, runs back over to the ball and picks it up.

Is this a release into play and an illegal second touch?

Does it matter if he A) deliberately slaps the ball down as he runs out of the area, B) takes one-handed possession of the ball and then intentionally drops it, or C) ta...

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Law 12 - Fouls and Misconduct 3/31/2021

RE: Under 19

shane of philadelphia, pa Unites States asks...

There are two fouls in particular I have some trouble with and hope you can help

1. Reminds me of the charge/block foul in basketball. It is when an attacker with ball and defender run towards each other, attacker passes right before encountering them, and then after releasing the ball, runs into the defender, possibly even if they are a decent 3-4 yards away. I usually don't call anything since it feels like both players were using natural momentum without intent. Is this typically the right no call, and to only call a foul on either if you specifically see one go "above and beyond" through the other player after release?

2. Usually happens when an attacker receives a ground pass with his back to the defense, and freq...

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Law 12 - Fouls and Misconduct 3/30/2021

Petr of Prague, Czech Republic Czech Republic asks...

I have one interesting situation.

In today's match the Czech Republic vs. Wales Patrik Schick received red card for a punch in the face. It happened in the Welsh penalty area. Previously, players held on to each other. The Welsh defender also received a yellow card. The only thing he did wrong was holding. Whistle was after Schick's punch.

Why did he get a yellow card? Was it a simultaneous foul? It seems to me that otherwise it would be a penalty kick. :-)


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Mechanics 3/29/2021

RE: Comp Under 16

Doug of Folsom , CA USA asks...

Hello all- I am looking for advice on the ability of an exercise tracker to semi-accurately measure the distance I move as a referee, including all of the continuous walking and running, as well as the frequent stop and start activity. I was thinking about a Fitbit but I know there are many devices out there. I am trying to train myself to limit my running so as to be able to ref more games in a day. Advice on these devices?...

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