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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 12 - Fouls and Misconduct 5/15/2021

RE: Adult

John Christopher Fairweather of Woking, United Kingdom asks...

In Wednesday's (12/04/21) Premier League match "Chelsea vs Arsenal", the Chelsea goalkeeper stopped (1) A back pass with his hands & (2) Stopped the ball going into the net, by the back pass.
If Arsenal had not scored, my question is - Do these two events constitute a Red Card and a Penalty, or just a Yellow Card and a Free Kick to Arsenal?...

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Law 13 - Free Kicks 5/13/2021

RE: U17 boys ECNL Under 18

Mark K of Rocklin, CA US asks...

two questions

1-how important are CR mechanics in these free kicks? The reason I say this is that I was at this game(you know you're reading too much AsktheRef when this happens...)

I agree with you that, indeed, the goal counted. The ref did not signal to wait, and no whistle was blown.

But, the free kick "felt" ceremonial. What I mean by that is that it was not an instant quick kick. Offensive team milling around, setting up. Defensive team milling around, trying to organize a wall. Ref starts walking towards the wall (as if to move the wall back) but player does not ask for 10, rather, sees that keeper isn't fully engaged, pokes it in. After it happened, I knew it was good, but it "felt" ceremonial. And I...

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Mechanics 5/10/2021

RE: Competitive Under 14

Doug Crawford of Folsom, CA U.S. asks...

Hi there fellow refs - When should coach misconduct stop the game?
As an AR yesterday I raised my flag for coach comments - the CR and I later agreed that I should NOT have kept the flag raised after play restarted.
The referee had stopped play and called a foul against Black, with a DFK to White, at center circle, 5-10 min. left to play.
One of the Black team assistant coaches said “that’s bullcrap” with emphasis, loud enough for all of the 2 teams subs and coaches to hear, as well as 2-4 players on the field.
The ball was still dead, so I raised my flag and called the referee’s name. The ref did not hear me, and moments later the free kick was taken by White.

I kept the flag raised and called the ref ag...

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High School 5/9/2021

RE: High School High School

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

A hypothetical situation and two questions, I'd be interested in answers for both NFHS and IFAB.

90th minute of a US high school playoff game, there's a foul in the penalty area, a penalty kick, and an injury to the fouled player that results in a substitution for the team taking the kick. Amid all the uproar, the substitute is mistakenly allowed to take the penalty kick and it is scored. Immediately upon the kick being scored the referee recognizes that an ineligible kicked it.

First question - is the penalty retaken or forfeited. Second, if the referee does not know the answer to the first question, would it be proper in this very important situation to take a three minute break and consult the NFHS rulebook (or if ...

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League Specific 5/5/2021

RE: Under 17

Callum P of Dundee, United KIngdom asks...

Our goalkeeper went out for the ball and ended up outside his box, he went to ground thinking he could kick the ball out. He never got the ball but he did made a genuine attempt for the ball. The referee said he did not and that although he never caught the player he could have. He sent him off and hes now banned for 2 games for Serious Foul Play. We want to appeal this as think he made a genuine attempt for the ball, do you think we would get anywhere with the appeal and how would be best to word it to give us the best chance? The opposite coach said he would back the appeal....

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Law 12 - Fouls and Misconduct 5/2/2021

RE: Semi-pro Adult

Ignas Repecka of Kaunas, Kaunas Lithuania asks...


Quick question. Goalkeeper catches a cross and when kicking the ball out, hits teammates (who is in the box) hand is it a penalty? The teammate is not facing the goalie and his hand is in natural position next to the body.

Thank you for answers....

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Law 12 - Fouls and Misconduct 5/1/2021

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

Thank you for answers. One more question for a specific situation please.

Before opponent's free kick defender crosses the goal line and remains standing in his goal. The opponent shoots. This defender heads it away.

Is that allowed? For example, a goalkeeper may not do this during a penalty kick ('The defending goalkeeper must remain on the goal line,...').

How would you personally handle this?


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Law 12 - Fouls and Misconduct 4/28/2021

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


three questions, please.

First: Team A takes a free kick (or corner kick). Defender from team A crosses the goal line and remains standing in his goal. Team A kicks to the ball and the defender returns to the field. Is he in danger of two yellow cards for two intentional offenses?

Second: The attacker leaves the field to avoid the offside. He returns before the action ends. Is it automatically a yellow card?

Third: In the end, maybe a stupid question. :-) Player A kicks player B. The kicked player does not fall to the ground. Does the referee take this into account? Or is it a 100 percent foul? :-)

Thank you very much!...

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Law 12 - Fouls and Misconduct 4/27/2021

RE: Competitive Under 19

Ryan Brenneman of Charlotte , NC USA asks...

I am RR in a U16 club game tournament. An offensive player plays a long ball into the box. It comes down about 2-3 yrds out from the goal box. An offensive player backs in, eyes up, and jumps for a header. The keeper comes from behind, eyes up, and makes a play catching the ball higher than the offensive player can get his head. There is a more than mild collision but no one is hurt and the keeper retains the ball. In my opinion the keeper is the offending party but is ultimately trifling and I make no call. The AR, who is a very senior official said after the game he would have called a foul on the offensive player for running into the keeper. I just said ok and asked about another play and did not disagree. This is only my 3rd time as RR...

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Law 12 - Fouls and Misconduct 4/27/2021

RE: Varsity High School

Derek of Cary, IL USA asks...

I have had a recent match with an inexperienced Center and am wanting your input. As an AR, I assist the ref in making decisions, and most of my assistance relates to matters of fact, but sometimes I feel like I could do more.

With the play on the goal line outside the Goal Area, I raised my flag to signal the ball crossing the line. I lowered the flag and then pointed it directly in front of me to signal a goal kick. CR thought I was signaling offside, and I had to come onto the field and yell it was a goal kick. I debated correcting him, but because it was a windy day I didn't want an IFK mistaken for a GK in case it flew 100+ yards into the other goal.

Touchline call in CR's quadrant, I raised my flag as loud as ...

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