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MAY 2015 YOU CALL IT Q&A #42


MAY 2015 YOU CALL IT Q&A #42
The red keeper had been warned earlier by the AR and the referee for stepping outside his area while holding on to the ball. This time he had blatantly carried the ball in his hands almost all the way to the keeper's top left of the penalty arc, almost 22 yards in front of goal before releasing the ball from his hands and punting it down field. The referee correctly awards a DFK. The red defenders were making a wall at about the penalty mark straight across. One blue attacker decides to stand behind the wall in the goal area, 1 yard from the goal line, three yards inside the keeper's left post. The keeper is understandably agitated that the blue player is standing directly in front of him, 3 feet from the middle of goal. The keeper is standing directly in behind him, arguing that he has no business being there, while the attacker replies he can stand there if he wants, it is not an offence to be offside! The blue kicker seizes this opportunity spots the ball near the top of the penalty arc and kicks it without any signal into the more open right side of the goal. The blue PIOP player does absolutely nothing; he simply stands there and smiles as the ball goes in. The keeper is outraged saying there was no signal and that his vision was blocked by the offside attacker. Your call is?
Your match - Your decision - Your reputation


Jay LaFountain USA Referee
First, the placement of the ball is likely wrong. Should have been right at the top of the penalty area, unless the goalie was bouncing or throwing the ball in the air. Second, the signal. A signal is not required for a free kick, and since I did not interfere with the wall situation, I will not expect blue to wait for a signal unless I specifically instruct them to. Third, the offside position. The player is definitely in an offside position, per the problem. But did he interfere in the play, in this example, by blocking the vision? If the player obstructed the view of the keeper of the kick or the ball afterwards, it's offside. If the player was off to the side enough, since the kick went to the other side of the net, the goal stands. I can't tell from the problem whether he is obstructing vision or not, but what other reason does he have to be there? So I would err towards offside
Brad Michigan United States Referee
Goal denied, restart with IDFK for red at the location where PIOP was standing at the time of the kick (This assumes that the referee agrees that the GK's vision WAS obscured--independent of whether GK was in a "reasonable defensive location"). Assuming GK's vision was obscured, blue player committed an Offside Offense. He is clearly PIOP. Additionally, he is in such a position as to be interfering with an opponent (the GK). Initially I felt it to be a goal, as the GK is in an "unnatural" position given the circumstances. However, my 11 year old son (Level 9 ref and GK) suggested--I believe correctly--that GK has by accident or intent essentially created an offside trap situation. Given that LOTG only specifies PIOP and obstructing vision as qualifiers, this satisfies an Offside Offense. If correct, "kudos to Justus". (As of late, it has become a good experience for us to read and discuss the forum questions--thank you for contributing to our knowledge!)

Michael Calgary Alberta Canada Referee
With regards to the referee not blowing the whistle, the guidelines for referees on Law 5 (LOTG p. 82) says that a whistle is not needed to restart play on a free kick except for when the appropriate distance is required. It is the right of the attacking team to have a quick free kick if they choose to do so. Therefore, the goalkeeper has no credible argument against there being no whistle. With regards to the offside, Law 11 says that an offside offense occurs if a player in an offside position interferes with an opponent, which means preventing an opponent from playing or being able to play the ball by clearly obstructing the opponent's line of vision or challenging an opponent for the ball (p. 108). Since the blue player was standing directly in front of the goalkeeper, obstructing his view, the call is offside. Since the offending player was inside the goal area the restart is an indirect free kick to the red team to be taken anywhere inside the goal area.

Matt Bristow USA Referee
My call given the information is to call for a rekick based on the fact that the kick was taken from the incorrect position. I would also speak to the keeper and the player screening him if I thought there was a danger that the behavior might escalate. Since the ball was never legally put into play, the question of offside is moot. If the referee were to judge that the positioning of the free kick was acceptable, the attacking team was clearly not disadvantaged by the positioning of the wall, so that is not an issue. The question then is has the goal been nullified by the player in the offside position? In my mind, the crux of the issue is whether the player interfered with the opponent. In my opinion, the answer is that he did block the view of the opponent and the restart is an IDFK from any point inside the goal area as the player was in the goal area when it occurred. I am making three assumptions here: 1) There was no persistent infringement and the referee did not intend to award a yellow card to the keeper for PI. If that is not true, the restart would be a rekick and with an additional slap across the face with a wet noodle to the CR for poor mechanics and being unclear when he originally stopped play. The player in front of the goalkeeper actually interfered with the his opponent and not 2) the goalkeeper needlessly reacting to a player who was not actually creating a disadvantage or 3) the player's position is moot as the wall would have screened the keeper anyhow. If 2 was in fact true, I'd award the goal and start with a kickoff. 3 is a little dicier and would involve a lot of factors that have not been addressed, but I am inclined to believe that I would award the IDFK for offside as the attacker might very well have blocked the keeper's view of the ball after it passed the wall. Given that it is a dead ball regardless, if it was a question of offside or a goal, I would also consider confirming my view of the facts with the AR. This may give whichever team comes out on the short end the correct impression that both officials agree on the call which helps to sell it more than the CR making the call independently.

Patrick Little USA Referee
No goal. At this distance to goal, I do ceremonial restarts and from the description more time has passed than I would allow to consider it a quick restart. The defenders are only about 6-7 yards away, so I need to back them off the full distance. Next I will talk to the keeper and the defender explaining what each of them are allowed to do, and under what circumstances the attacker will be ruled offside. I would have made it clear to the kicker that he needs to wait for my whistle before the restart can be taken, thus I would consider a caution for delaying the restart of play.

Filippo Palermo Italy Referee
Could it be that the free kick has to be retaken because it's not been kicked from the correct position? If it derives from the keeper having carried the ball with his hands outside his own penalty area, then the direct free kick that ensues from this foul should be taken from the point of the field of play, that is NOT part of the penalty area, on which the keeper first walked with the ball in his hands right after having gone outside his own penalty area. Taking it from the top of the penalty arc, that is from where the goalkeeper releases the ball from his possession (and when the referee awards a free kick), is not correct. Hence, the correct decision would be (Law 13, 2015): 1) disallowing the goal; 2) repeating the free kick, this time from the correct position. The offside position, let it be punishable or not, does not matter as long as the free kick has to be repeated, though it's worth to be noticed that standing in front of an opposing defender and blocking his line of vision IS an offence if the attacker who does so was in an offside position at the moment in which a teammate of his touches the ball. And the free kick would have been correctly executed (if not for the wrong position) even if kicked quickly and without warnings: the attacking team has the right to take it in a quick way, and since this is that kind of foul that can't even yield disciplinary sanctions against the keeper, the referee can't even disallow a quick restart of the game to issue a yellow or a red card since NO misconduct has happened here, but just a simple hand-ball foul with no other consequences but the direct free kick.

Oliver Oakland CA USA Referee
Well first off if you (the referee) deemed the kick ceremonial and set up the wall yourself, you have to go back and order it retaken if the goalkeeper's assertion that you've not signaled is correct. If, on the other hand, you did signal the kick or it wasn't ceremonial, you have a fun offside decision to make based on USSF's new interpretation of the laws. Law 11 (2014) states that a player commits an offside offense if "he is, in the opinion of the referee, involved in active play by: (...) - interfering with an opponent." Let's dig into what that means. USSF's Advice to Referees (2013) states in section 11.8 that "interfering with an opponent consists of clearly blocking an opponent's line of vision (this applies mostly to goalkeepers) or challenging an opponent for the ball." If you, the referee, determine that the attacker was clearly blocking the goalkeepers line of vision, which it definitely sounds like he was, then the player is offside and it's an indirect free kick. I definitely think that, based upon the description given and my assumptions about what it means, offside would be the correct decision in this case, although looking at it in real life would hopefully make it clearer.

Brad and son Michigan United States Referee
Disagreement between two referees in our home, who are both also keepers. Clearly attacker is a PIOP. I suggest that he does not satisfy any of the three criteria to enforce offside, since the only "distraction" is due to him getting in the GK's head, so "goal". My son suggests that, by intent or accident, the GK has forced the PIOP into a position in which he has obstructed GK's vision satisfying criteria two, so offside is enforced. My son notes "The GK basically trapped the PIOP." I disagree since GK put himself in that position, but I worry I may be wrong. Great question!

To quote an old soccer aphorism: “The Laws of the Game were not written to compensate for the mistakes of players" It seems that we have the kicker, a PIOP and a keeper perhaps all doing so, but that said, what if the Referee is also adding some fuel to the fire?

There are some tender sore spots even amongst the panel as to an reasonable answer versus a correct answer. First off congratulations to those who had the courage to think through the situation and come up with an answer. Whether we agree to the conclusions reached is another matter!

This situation started with warnings given to the keeper by the AR and by the referee of an event that usually is of a trifling or doubtful nature, most often caused by holding the ball in outstretched arms and tossing it forward as the keeper exits the penalty area. If the keeper is inattentive, over excited, inexperienced or possibly, just oblivious of some very faded boundary lines he is eventually going to have to pay a price. The keeper, ...DESPITE... being appraised of his doubtful misdeeds could not stop himself from a blatant performance of carrying the ball in his hands while punting the ball OUTSIDE his own penalty area, causing the referee to award a DFK restart for the foul of handling the ball deliberately! No need to caution, the free kick scoring opportunity out of nothing is sufficient punishment!

These situations can and do create ...issues... if improperly managed. We think it was absolutely fine for the AR or CR to remark to the keeper if he was marginally appearing to be guilty of DH when releasing the ball as a doubtful or trifling infraction as part of effective match management and the mandate to educate. Once the foul is called we suggest you might want to manage the opposition trying to grab the ball from the keeper's hands if it was not released or during the long retrieval of the punt try to sort out particulars of where the wall is being set up and confusion that might follow by assuming possession of the ball and ensure it is set in the correct restart position.

In our opinion this ...COULD HAVE BEEN... be a ceremonial free kick no matter the, "Lets not interfere with the teams doing their thing attitude!".
That said, if a referee decides not to directly intervene, the kicker can not really be faulted for having a go! If the referee ...HAD...stated wait for whistle, then the free kick ...should be retaken and the kicker, cautioned shown the yellow card

A Question?
Was the restart location was too far from the spot of the foul, could a retake could also be feasible? In our opinion, certainly, but if the referee does not object to the placement then c'est la vie!

Law 12 Fouls and Misconduct
• a direct free kick is awarded to the opposing team, to be taken from the place where the infringement occurred (see Law 13 – Position of free kick)
Restart of play
• Direct free kick from the position where the offence occurred (see Law 13 –
Position of free kick) or penalty kick
Outside his own penalty area, the goalkeeper has the same restrictions on handling the ball as any other player.

The top of the Penalty Arc is 22 yds. from goal so just top left likely between 22 ft. to 18 ft. from goal, 6 to 10 yards from the penalty spot which is 12 yards from goal. The actual restart location for those attentive to the foul being called is likely almost 4 yards further out in the pitch then it should!
The restart SHOULD be just a whisper but completely, just outside the 18 yard boundary line, within the penalty arc, outside his PA from ...WHERE HE EXITED... the PA, ...HOLDING... on to the ball!

We hold the opinion that ...any... free kick restart location, presenting its self as a good scoring chance, leans to a blade of grass restart, especially in and around the penalty area . The location is in fact ...EXTREMELY... important, even a few inches left or right open up scoring avenues and for a ball to dip over the wall it needs a certain distance to do so! Once placed, the ball should not be moved! IF it was, it could be a reason for a retake! Only a few noted that GIVEN the correct restart should be 18 yds out the defensive wall was only about 6 yds away positioned on the pk spot

Did you consider these 3 Questions?
Could we possibly caution the offside opponent?

LAW 12 Fouls and Misconduct
Cautions for unsporting behaviour
There are different circumstances when a player must be cautioned for
unsporting behaviour, e.g. if a player:
• verbally distracts an opponent during play or at a restart

We do not think this is feasible as the keeper had initiated the conversation! Replying to questions is not the same as taunting with innuendos.

Could we possibly caution the keeper for dissent?
As it is worded NO! I think the keeper's outrage as legitimate emotion can be forgiven provided it does not persist and or escalate.

Could we possibly caution the keeper for PI (persistent infringement)?
No, there is NO PI! The DFK call is his first offence, despite the verbal warnings to be careful earlier in the match..

These circumstances, which ARE important, are of course, window dressing to the real problem, we wanted you to consider. Was this free kick a goal or offside?

Our conclusion for the information given in the question.

NO GOAL! INDFK out for OFFSIDE from anywhere inside the goal area.

A player in an offside position is only penalised if, at the moment the ball touches or is played by one of his team, he is, in the opinion of the referee, involved in active play by: • interfering with an opponent “interfering with an opponent” means preventing an opponent from playing or being able to play the ball by clearly obstructing the opponent’s line of vision

Infringements and sanctions
In the event of an offside offence, the referee awards an indirect free kick to the opposing team to be taken from the place where the infringement occurred (see Law 13 – Position of free kick). • a free kick awarded to the defenders in the goal area may be taken from any point inside that area

The mechanics here are indeed flawed but the premise of offside is we hold the offside attackers responsible for their actions! We generally do not consider the actions of the defenders. It could and is fact likely to be argued the keeper was inattentive, placing himself in an untenable position voluntarily, but does that matter?

Remember, offside is ...only... judged at the moment the last touch by the teammate. In this case the taking of free kick! That is the critical judgement moment! During the last change to the definition of "interfering with an opponent" IFAB removed all references to acts that "deceives or distracts an opponent." so we are no longer overly concerned with mere presence of an opponent affecting the play of the opponents. UNLESS they are challenging for the ball which our PIOP is not or blocking the line of sight which if the referee sees that he is, can correctly hold the PIOP accountable for offside!

WHEN the ball is ...last touched... by the teammate, the offside player by being, where he was and why, has fulfilled the LAW 11 offside criteria interfering with an opponent by blocking the line of sight! And yes, if a opponent is blocking the sight line of the keeper and in an offside position when the ball is last touched by a team mate he is offside because he has interfered with an opponent. However, the direction of the ball is an important part of the decision and the PIOP attacker only standing close by the keeper is not sufficient criteria for interfering with an opponent ITOOTR he must be seen to be blocking the line of sight as there is no challenge or touch of the ball.

Those who claim the keeper is solely responsible for being inattentive or standing in the wrong position simply do not grasp the criteria of offside as it relates to position alone when blocking the line of sight. It is no different then if the PIOP had physically touched the ball by accident, it FULFILLS the criteria of involvement if ITOOTR he is offside and ITOOTR he blocks the line of sight of the keeper when the ball is last touched by the team mate.

When the free kick (last touch of the ball by the teammate is taken) The PIOP attacker is standing 5 yds. (15 ft.) inside the goal area, 1 yd. (3ft) in front of goal, 3 yards (9ft) inside the left post of a 8yd (24 ft.) wide goal and MOST importantly, directly in front of our keeper. Although we have grave doubts as to the validity of the restart position, the kicker places the ball, his team mate is directly in front of the keeper! If a goal was scored and the referee thought no blocking occurred he could STILL consider retaking.

In our opinion, the PIOP attacker is not there using the LOTG to his advantage as he so cleverly thought where as the keeper, by having the attacker between him and the ball HAS actually, if perhaps accidentally, lucked into using the LOTG to his advantage! So score a minus one for no signal as a lost plea and count his blessings as a plus one on the other

To award a goal by the virtue of ITOOTR that the Keeper's line of sight was not blocked and the restart location was OK would be of course, your match, your decision, your reputation! After all, there is no picture provided. However, be prepared for considerable repercussions be it dissent, leading to cautions or outright hostility for send offs for acts of VC that are very likely possible. And possibly a whole lot of PIOPs wandering about the goal areas in future free kicks. Then defend your actions in the post game when asked why the situation unfolded as it did! In my opinion I hold that if you ALLOW the goal because you think it is just the keeper's fault you are responsible in part, for making it possible, no matter the level of culpability of the defenders. You allow the goal only because in YOUR opinion the PIOP did NOT block the keeper. It is a sad but incontrovertible fact, as a referee we can be correct in law and still wrong!

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