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Question Number: 32870

Character, Attitude and Control 11/8/2018

RE: select Under 15

Jeff Banks of Kona, Hawaii USA asks...

Can a dropped ball restart be used to calm play down when the charging fouls are of equal degree of roughness? I want to keep control of the match in the early minutes, when I think play is getting to aggressive early on.

Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

Hi Jeff,
as the referee you are the guy that decides to say yea or nay? It is ALWAYS important to get that first critical incident of the match correct. The tone of voice, your demeanor, the tone of the whistle & its duration makes the point by setting the standard of which you can tolerate when the 1st real foul occurs. The issue of continued effective match control is one of concentration and not to miss the CI (critical incidents) or as my good friend & colleague Ref McHugh says moment of truth. It is easy to be lulled into easy peasey then you switch off miss a clear foul or make a bad decision and suddenly things start to unwind. Try to be sharp in around the start & end of each match including the half.

If the game is getting chippy or slowly de-evolving into something other than a good fun clean match. At a break, call the captains over and read the riot act! In matches where I realize that things have gone further south than I like I have invoked the bad breath clause, where I even get a whiff of a foul outside the PA we are stopping play. I can say, either we calm down & play or we will get whistle after whistle is that what you want? It almost puts a caution on the very next foul as necessary if the least bit of USB or force is involved & doubtful or trifling fouls are going to get called.

We used to have within the LOTG, the option of using a drop ball if two opposing players both fouled one another at exactly the same time. Although high school retains that option under FIFA it appears we are now to choose, given one player or the other usually had better position or initiated first contact. A reason a drop-ball is a BAD restart if tensions are high, is very often on that drop ball one or the other players get a whack on the shin plus the location of that drop ball best be out at midfield as opposed to in front of goal as it could lead to a free for all scrum. I had a drop ball on an injury situation that although I would have preferred the one team back off ,but they chose not too. The drop occurs, players just kicked the crap out of each other, there were about 8 player scrambling about trying to access the ball sigh big mess.

I think on a natural break in play you call over the captains and lay it out crystal clear.
I would not use drop ball restarts to do so unless there was NO other option!

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Answer provided by Referee Joe Manjone

if this was a high school game, the proper call is a drop ball as is indicated by NEHS Rule 9-2-1d:

'The game is started by a drop ball when simultaneous fouls of the same degree occur by opponents.'

I hope this helps and that you are having a very successful season.

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Answer provided by Referee Peter Grove

Hi Jeff,
Firstly, if a foul occurs (or if 2 fouls occur at the same time) the referee has to stop play and make a decision one way or the other - it's not as if there's an option to just let play continue (advantage doesn't apply to simultaneous fouls).

What decision you make, depends on whether this is a game played according to NFHS Rules or IFAB Laws. Under NFHS Rules, as ref Manjone says above, a drop ball is the correct decision for simultaneous fouls. On the other hand, if the game is going on under the IFAB's Laws, a dropped ball restart is not to be given in such circumstances - the referee has to decide which is ''the more serious offence, in terms of sanction, restart, physical severity and tactical impact.''

Even if you can give a dropped ball (as mentioned, you can't in an IFAB game - at least, not for 50-50 fouls) I don't think it's a good way to achieve match control. As my colleagues suggest, it's better to start 'clamping down' on the game and calling all fouls even of a more minor nature (and even using cautions if necessary) until hopefully the players get the message and modify their behaviour.

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Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Jeff
A dropped ball is unlikely to calm play down or exert any degree of control. In fact it will look like indecisiveness on behalf of the referee. Throw in the norm now of a lack of contested dropped balls and there will be a whole debate about who should give the ball back. I think I have had one contested DB in the past 5/7 years!
Instead my advice is to start calling every single foul and using the caution card as appropriate. Players will soon see that every single offence no matter how small is getting called and hopefully will soon get the message.
In addition the referee needs to start exerting his presence on the game by speaking sternly with players. If it is not going to be a caution then the referee can still have a word with the player/s. I tell players that if they come to my attention again that disciplinary action will be taken, I remind players of the need to play in a safe manner etc.
This approach needs to continue until the referee sees a marked improvement in player behaviour. I always like to hear players shout *No foul* * Stand up* to team mates in these situations. It is a clear signal that my approach is working.
Now the trick is to not allow it to get to that situation in the first place. The first 10 minutes of any game, 10 minutes before half time, the 10 after half time and the last 10 minutes are times to pay special attention to. The first 10 minutes the referee sets out his stall as to what way the game is going to get called. Good presence, good communication, good strong whistle etc are all signals that the referee can use to assist in his match control. It tells all the participant who is in control of the game. It is the players game to play provided they do so in a manner expected in the Laws. Once players step outside that framework they know that action will be taken.
In these questions I always like to mention what some have called *Moments of Truth*. In a game there can be an incident that was not properly dealt with either through poor decision making or not seeing the incident. A referee needs strong credibility and to get that he needs to call the game correctly. Not handling a particular incident can and does affect match control. Players know what is going on in games and they know when a referee is not *on the money*. Miss a heavy tackles or call one and not another can raise tensions among players.
I recall in a game last season when I did not caution a player in the 88th minute for a reckless challenge as I felt the game was over as a contest. Wrong. I had more difficulty in the last 5 minutes than I had in the preceding 85,I believe because I did not take the appropriate action on the challenge and I did not sense it as a moment of truth. Anyway I only had a few minutes left so the game was over quickly. Flip it over and if it was the first 5 mintes I would have had 85 minutes to manage match control.

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