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You blow for full time. A ruckus from behind you catches your attention. You turn and see the AR waving the flag madly! Two opposing players are fighting inside the penalty area of green! After the melee is settled the AR relates that green defender slapped the blue attacker across the face to start the fight! As referee how do you proceed from this point! What's Your Call?
Your Match! Your Decision! Your Reputation!

The term "situational awareness", is one that we often toss about , in our opinion it really means not to lose focus. In witnessing the ending of a match we often see inexperienced referees looking at their watches as they blow the whistle. Even at the elite level we witnessed a World Cup referee blowing a whistle as the ball rolled into the goal. That little event certainly did not ensure him additional matches. The key to remember, anything can happen if we are not looking for anything!

Here we have a referee ending a match at one end of the field as something has occurred in behind him. While not all referees are in radio communication as in the elite, we do have ARs and some procedures that can help us stay in touch. Yes we shoulder check and the opposing AR can mirror a flag however, it is not impractical to think it takes a few moments to see, perceive, signal, get the attention and turn around to deal with something!

While we were purposefully vague on location and time as it was pointed out by many who responded, we have a few options here which need sorting out.

The match was whistled as over BUT is IT?

The referee must ask the AR, "WHEN did this occur?"

The referee must decide whether he will to accept the foul before the match was over or only as misconduct after the match was over!

Yes we saw fighting inside the penalty area but was that where the foul or misconduct occurred?

The referee must ask the AR, "WHERE did this occur?"
LAW 12 Fouls and Misconduct

Direct Free Kick
A direct free kick is awarded to the opposing team if a player commits
any of the following six offences in a manner considered by the referee
to be careless, reckless or using excessive force:

-Strikes or attempts to strike an opponent

Sending-Off Offences

A player, substitute or substituted player is sent off and shown the red
card if he

2. is guilty of violent conduct

Disciplinary Sanctions

The referee has the authority to take disciplinary sanctions, as from the
moment he enters the field of play until he leaves the field of play
after the final whistle.

Decision 1

A player who commits a cautionable or sending-off offence, either
on or off the field of play, whether directed towards an opponent, a
team-mate, the referee, an assistant referee or any other person, is
disciplined according to the nature of the offence committed.
If the strike was inside the PK area it becomes a PK which if the referee decides occurred before he had decided to end the match he can extend time to take the pk. If the Pk could decide the outcome of the match does it become more important?

law 7 Match duration
Penalty Kick
"If a penalty kick has to be taken or retaken, the duration of either half
is extended until the penalty kick is completed.

A penalty kick is awarded against a team that commits one of the ten
offences for which a direct free kick is awarded, inside its own penalty
area and while the ball is in play.

A goal may be scored directly from a penalty kick.

Additional time is allowed for a penalty kick to be taken at the end of
each half or at the end of periods of extra time."
Now if the strike was outside the penalty area it would only be a DFK! Given the referee decides OK it happened just before I wanted to end the match can a DFK have sufficient time to be taken? It is our considered opinion that if the event was ONLY a free kick outside the penalty area then time will expire, as a matter of consequence, before the kick is taken.

Also in either case, if the match was a blow out, say 6 to 0 and this would be a possible 7th are you more or less inclined to see it occurring before or after the whistle ended the match?

No doubt the easy out is to see the act as only misconduct and we likely show the two combatants the red card for violent conduct as they still are under our jurisdiction while on the field even after a match is over note (f). The trick might be to make sure these are the only two as late game fisticuffs invite additional joining in. Of course we incorporate ALL activity in the match report of the actual circumstances as the instigator may be held more accountable in determining discipline later
However, it is entirely correct if we resume play as the referee can accept information from his neutral party AR on an event occurring before the match ended. Referee cannot change a decision but the referee has yet to MAKE a decision here as only the AR knows what occurred and under Law 5 a referee can accept the advice of the AR of events he did not see himself
Law 5 The Referee
" -acts on the advice of assistant referees regarding incidents that he has not seen

-The referee may only change a decision on realizing that it is incorrect
or, at his discretion, on the advice of an assistant referee, provided that
he has not restarted play or terminated the match. "
I think this term (terminated) confuses referees as to the finality of a match. As in a previous you call it #2 about match duration it was deemed appropriate to replay the lost time even though the referee had blown his whistle to end the match . Remember there is no decision to change as this one was never made. The clause means we can not undo what we already have done and the AR is mandated to provide this information under law 6
Law 6 Assistant referee
" -when misconduct or any other incident has occurred out of the
view of the referee

-when offences have been committed whenever the assistants are
closer to the action than the referee (this includes, in particular
circumstances, offences committed in the penalty area)"
The real key to sell what you decide to do is remain calm and think carefully if you are about to go ahead and run a pk remind everyone this is a one shot deal so no incursions into he penalty area. OK fellows?

461 Steve Vero Beach FL USA Referee
Law 5 charges the Referee with the responsibility to govern the game under the FIFA LOTG. He may act upon the advice of his AR for actions that occur in the AR's respective area and out of the view of the Referee. This authority is conveyed to the AR in Law 6. Law 7 requires the match to be 2 equal periods of 45min or in accordance with the ROC. It is the responsibility of the referee to maintain the running time and add time as is necessary under Law 7. In this case the referee has determined that the time requirements of Law 7 had been satisfied and the whistle to end the game has blown. Simultaneous to the blowing of the whistle, a fight breaks out behind the Referee's back. The question falls back to the AR. When did the slap occur? If the offense occurred prior to the full time mark, then we have a send-off during play for violent conduct for the Green Attacker and a PK awarded to the Blue team. The Referee would extend time to accommodate the PK as the offense happened before time expired. Since the Blue attacker would also be sent off and shown the red card for violent conduct. He earned this be continuing the fight. The PK would not take place until Green Defender and Blue attacker were removed from the FOP. The Blue team would identify the player to take the PK, the PK would be set and taken and as soon as the ball stops moving or crosses the goal line, the match would be ended. Only the kicker and the GK would be allowed to participate in this PK under the extension of time as indicated in Law 14. If the offense happened simultaneously or after the full time, then both players would be shown the red card for violent conduct and no PK would be awarded. The game would be considered over as indicated by the referee. The referee would ask his AR to give him a detailed account of the incident, including the timing of the actions, to help complete the game report. The referee would attach the player cards from the offending players to the report and send it to the appropriate league officials. As the referee in this situation, I would have to have full confidence in my AR (should be a given) and he would have to have a clear and detailed explanation as to why the offense was before time expiring before I would award the PK.

465 ref47 Arlington VA usa Soccer Parent
do we take the easy way out or make the hard call? easy way out. we consider the action of the green and blue players to have happened during the time immediately following the end of play (as signaled by the ref)(see atr 3.21(f)). our action; red card to both green and blue players for vc (not contesting for the ball). end of match. hard call. the action happened during the match, as noted by the ar. the AR's signal was unobserved and the match inappropriately ended without taking action on that signal. our action; red card to both green and blue players for vc. however, as the event happened in the green pa, and green started the misconduct, award a pk to the blue team, to be taken in extended time solely for the taking of the pk. I believe the hard call to be the correct call.

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