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Soccer Rules Changes 1580-2000

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Question Number: 32448

Law 18 - Common Sense 5/13/2018

RE: Classic youth

Andrew of Wilmington, Nc Usa asks...

I've got a little dispute with another official. If an obvious goal is scored, are you as a referee required to be the whistle? I believe the laws say no. What's the correct response?

Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

HI Andrew ,
spot on mate,
if the goal is obvious a whistle is not required just signal kick off and enter the scorer /goal into the book. The law does not say yes or no that you must not . It gives recommendations for when & how a whistle could be used. Most often it says a referee must signal but not that it HAS to be a whistle.
You use it for clarity. An obvious goal is CLEARLY one that is easily clarified WITHOUT the need to whistle. A whistle is a command tool , used properly it is quite useful used incorrectly it becomes an item of frustration.

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Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Andrew
The Law book tells us under advice that and I quote -
** The whistle is needed to:
# start play (1st and 2nd half of normal play and extra time), after a goal
# stop play: for a free kick or penalty kick
# if the match is suspended or abandoned
# at the end of each half
# restart play for: free kicks when the appropriate distance is required
# penalty kicks
# restart play after it has been stopped for a: caution or sending-off , injury or substitution
The whistle is NOT needed to:
# stop play for a clear: goal kick, corner kick, throw-in or GOAL**
So there you have it. The official advice is no whistle for a clear goal.
Now I know some referee who signal for every goal and there is nothing to prevent this as it is not part of the actual Laws. The law by the way only mentions a signal not a whistle. The advice tells us that a whistle which is used too frequently/unnecessarily will have less impact when it is needed. So as I remind referee colleagues that if a referee blow a whistle for every clear goal the signal to disallow a goal for say an offence is also a whistle. There is no need to whistle for the obvious.

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Answer provided by Referee Peter Grove

Hi Andrew,
As evidenced in the direct quotation from the Laws given by ref McHugh, the correct response is that:

''The whistle is NOT needed to stop play for a clear [...] goal ...''

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