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Question Number: 33622

Law 5 - The Referee 9/4/2019

RE: All High School

Derek of Cary, IL USA asks...

I find advantage a difficult concept to master. Plenty of times in a recent match I found myself wondering if gaining advantage would be more beneficial to the team than calling the foul.
Example 1: attacker is fouled inside the PA. Ball goes to teammate just outside the 18. I gave advantage hoping for a quick shot. Instead the ball is passed around until a shot off goal is made. About 6-8 seconds passed between the foul and the shot. (Follow-up: would a shot on or off goal make a difference in your judgement?)
Example 2: Attacker is fouled just outside the corner of the PA. Ball and attacker were moving towards the corner flag. I stopped play because I felt the direction and location of the ball created less of a goal chance than a spot kick near the 18 yard line.

I am curious to hear your thoughts on these two situations. There are more examples that I had but these two stick out the most.

Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

Hi Derek, advantage is an evolutionary process for each referee. Your anticipatory awareness of what might or could occur evolves as your understanding of the game developes. You will see possibilities within the scope of each decision at a faster rate and with greater credability. The PA is not the area of play where indicating and signaling advantage is one we promote. Instead here we take a WAIT AND SEE approach, just so a too early whistle to award the PK does not prevent a goal. Notice I said goal, not opportunity to score or get off a shot . Some consider the two bites of the Apple argument that to award a PK AFTER a missed opportunity a few seconds later is inherently unfair. IF the opportunity was wasted due to a stunting or silly action on the part of the attackers perhaps I might agree but a free shot on a PK is a very very good chance. In your 1st senario you forgot that if there was no immediate advantage you go back to the foul. Even if a shot is made was it really better than 1 on 1 at 12 yards? We generally wait a few moments in the PA but the longer you delay it becomes a harder sell.
Your 2nd approach was well reasoned and the DFK likely the best choice, given the potential for developmental play. My mentor Esse has an incredible video of his 5 minutes of infamy during the 1998 World Cup but within that is a great example of an advantage as well as explanation on what advantage is and why you look for it. It is in my opinion the best example of integrity you will ever see on the pitch!

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Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Derek
Inside the penalty area many times the best advantage is a penalty kick. The way to manage that is through a *wait and see* approach and if there is a goal scored or goal scoring opportunity presented then allow play to continue. If not stop play and award the penalty kick.
In your first example I would have gone immediately with the penalty kick. It did not read to me that there was a better opportunity than a penalty kick.
On your second one your were correct to award the free kick as there was no benefit in allowing play to continue.
By going with the free kick in that situation you are allowing the attacking team to achieve what it was trying which was to get the ball into the penalty area in an attacking manner.
Now many times a team nay not have the skill or ability to avail of advantage so the best decision can be the free kick. It is a refereeing skill that can be developed where the referee evaluates if it is clearly beneficial to allow play to continue or by stopping play benefits the defending team to achieve a stoppage which may have been the reason for the foul.
There can be many factors to consider such as location of the foul, number of players, eagerness of the attacking team to continue etc.

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