Soccer Referee Resources
Ask a Question
Recent Questions

Previous You-Call-It's

VAR (Video Assistant Referee)

Q&A Quick Search
The Field of Play
The Ball
The Players
The Players Equipment
The Referee
The Other Match Officials
The Duration of the Match
The Start and Restart of Play
The Ball In and Out of Play
Determining the Outcome of a Match
Fouls and Misconduct
Free Kicks
Penalty kick
Throw In
Goal Kick
Corner Kick

Common Sense
Kicks - Penalty Mark
The Technical Area
The Fourth Official
Attitude and Control
League Specific
High School

Common Acronyms
Meet The Ref
Contact AskTheRef
Help Wanted
About AskTheRef

Soccer Rules Changes 1580-2000

Panel Login

Question Number: 34235

Law 5 - The Referee 5/28/2021

Petr of Prague, Czech Republic Czech Republic asks...


One rule question, please.

For which types of offenses can the advantage be applied? And when is it forbidden?

(Example: 'Can an advantage be considered if the throw-in is not taken correctly?')

Thank you very much?

Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

Hi Petr,

• allows play to continue when an offence occurs and the non-offending team
will benefit from the advantage, and penalises the offence if the anticipated
advantage does not ensue at that time or within a few seconds.

The LOTG was recently changed to better accommodate fair play by not allowing deliberate unfair actions that players performed to thwart the attack without greater punishment than in the past. For example, in Wednesday's (12/04/21) Premier League match "Chelsea vs Arsenal", the Chelsea goalkeeper in what would have been an indfk offence stopped the teammates deliberately kicked back pass with his hands from entering the goal but the rebound fell to the opposition who scored BECAUSE the advantage was applied.

However, are you aware that DOGSO or a caution COULD apply if the illegal handling was actually a 2nd touch after a release even if inside the PA? For a keeper, this could be after 6 seconds of legal possession or with any player performing a free kick, goal kick even a throw -in.

The 2nd touch be it an indfk or DFK for handling you COULD wait and see how the attack plays out or if a goal results as the advantage & DOGSO principles apply.

You can not apply advantage off an incorrectly taken restart but once the ball is in play, you can. You could even wave off an offside if the keeper has ball possession with no threat of conflict. Although an offence might create a restart, the restart itself is a set procedure to get the ball back into play, if play is continuing why stop if it is better not to?

Goal kicks, corner kicks, throw-in, drop balls, INDFK, DFK and PKs are just ways to get play restarted. Generally, the referee will apply advantage when the offence is a foul by one team that was trying to stop the attack or scoring opportunity of the other. You use the advantage to thwart their intention of stopping play and giving them time to recover but also consider the skill and ability of the team with the advantage of being able to take advantage of the opportunity to play on which is WHY we can return to the scene of the crime so to speak if the advantage falters through no fault of their own.

For a restart to be correct the mechanics must be adhered to but in the procedure whereby a 2nd touch cannot be allowed, there is room for advantage! The forbidden fruit area if you will.

You cannot apply advantage if the throw-in is performed incorrectly, the opposition must retake the throw-in. If the ball hits the ground before it enters the pitch, if it was thrown in like a grenade, if they are jumping 5 feet in the air, if they are 5 feet into the pitch over the touchline with both feet. Some things are what they are.

However, you COULD choose to ignore a badly performed throw-in or an ugly looking free kick to some degree!

Say a throw-in taken too far from where it exited, it is intercepted and you COULD order it retaken but the team that would retake now has an attack ongoing thanks in part to a poor decision. The mechanics of the throw-in were fine. This same consideration might also apply to iffy throws as well, did the hands go completely behind the head or just hovered over where it was difficult to be sure, the foot was on the touchline but the heel might have lifted just a wee bit? If say the ball was in play, then went out of play into touch but then came back into the pitch you CAN NOT ignore it or claim advantage if the opposition should benefit, the restart MUST comply with the event that created it. Once the ball is OUT of play a restart MUST occur to put the ball BACK into play!

Although the mechanics state the ball must be kicked and moved on goal kicks, corner kicks, kick-offs, or PKs (ball must be kicked forward), the ball has requirements to be on or within a certain space. On DFKs and INDFKs there can be leeway on the spot where this occurs as an open field free kick often has latitude in its position where the exact blade of grass is not required.

In the ITOOTR aspect of the referee, they can overlook certain things. This is NOT really an advantage more like consequences of actions. The concept of a referee signalling for something to commence might be a whistle but they can simply give permission in other ways, a nod of the head, use a hand to indicate, say go.

Imagine a free-kick was to occur and the team does have a right to take it quickly the attacker thinking to restart quickly place the ball and kicks it into one of his own players where it rebounds and the opposition gain control. He whines, "Ref I did not take it from the spot of the foul it was not legally restarted? I ask you, was it?

Imagine the attacker thinking to restart quickly place the ball and kicks it poorly then kicks it a 2nd time as an opponent was trying to get to it and the ball hits his own player where it rebounds and the opposition gain control? He whines, "Ref I did not take it from the spot of the foul, I kicked it twice, it was not legally restarted? I ask you, was it?

Now imagine the referee heard the player say, Hey referee I want 10 yards and then that player does the same thing? He whines, "Ref I did not get ten yards & I did not take it from the spot of the foul, it was not legally restarted? I ask you, was it?

Now imagine what if the referee had replied. "I heard that request we will now WAIT For the whistle!" and was engaged in a ceremonial restart and the attacker again does the same thing?He whines, "Ref you did not blow your whistle & I did not take it from the spot of the foul it was not legally restarted? I ask you, was it?

What can not occur is IF a referee blows the whistle even accidentally and STOPS play he can not order players to ignore it and keep playing or award a goal if the ball has not yet crossed into the goal over the goal line under the crossbar between the posts. Technically if the official stated, to the benefit of all the players WE wait for a whistle!, then, in theory, any restart before that whistle should NOT be permitted.

If the kicker obtusely went before the signal and a goal was scored, that goal would be disallowed or at least it should be & the possibility of the kicker being cautioned is likely.
If the kicker goes early, misses and the opposition catch a lucky rebound and are off to attack are you certain you didn't give a signal??
Yet if he missed and the ball sailed over the crossbar, are you certain you didn't give a signal?? You redo the kick and then they score on the 2nd attempt you better have at least cautioned the kicker for going early on the miss.

In a worst-case scenario say the ball hit an opponent in the face. You should red card the kicker and send him off, reducing them a player before allowing that same team to retake the free-kick because the restart was not correctly taken. You redo the kick and then they score on the 2nd attempt you at least upheld the LOTG on the first take.


Read other questions answered by Referee Richard Dawson

View Referee Richard Dawson profile

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Petr
Advantage cannot be played on an incorrectly taken throw in. The only option is a retake by the opponents.
For any restart which is not taken correctly there is no possibility of advantage as the ball is not in play and the referee only has powers to allow advantage on offences in play.

A referee could opine that it was taken correctly or if the technical fault was missed such as a foot on the field of play although on matters of fact that are seen that is not possible.
If a throw in was taken from the *wrong* location a referee could and does let those slide so while not advantage per se play can be allowed continue. A team is unlikely to claim that a TI was taken incorrectly unless of course it was blatantly not a TI just a toss of the ball.

Read other questions answered by Referee Joe McHugh

View Referee Joe McHugh profile

Answer provided by Referee Peter Grove

Hi Petr,
I would agree with my colleague ref McHugh that advantage cannot be applied to a throw-in and incorrectly-taken restarts. As I read the law, this is inherent in the wording of the advantage clause.

As quoted by ref Dawson, the relevant part of the law states that the referee:

"allows play to continue when an offence occurs and the non-offending team will benefit from the advantage, and penalises the offence if the anticipated advantage does not ensue at that time or within a few seconds."

If a restart (such as a throw in) is incorrectly taken then the ball is not in play. So logically, play cannot be allowed to continue, since it has not started.

For any offence that occurs while the ball is in play, the advantage can be applied. Please note however that there are times where it is advised the advantage should not normally be applied, as follows:

"if the offence warrants a sending-off, the referee must stop play and send off the player unless there is a clear opportunity to score a goal"

Read other questions answered by Referee Peter Grove

View Referee Peter Grove profile

Ask a Follow Up Question to Q# 34235
Read other Q & A regarding Law 5 - The Referee

Soccer Referee Extras

Did you Ask the Ref? Find your answer here.

Enter Question Number

If you received a response regarding a submitted question enter your question number above to find the answer

Offside Question?

Offside Explained by Chuck Fleischer & Richard Dawson, Former & Current Editor of AskTheRef

This web site and the answers to these questions are not sanctioned by or affiliated with any governing body of soccer. The free opinions expressed on this site should not be considered official interpretations of the Laws of the Game and are merely opinions of AskTheRef and our panel members. If you need an official ruling you should contact your state or local representative through your club or league. On AskTheRef your questions are answered by a panel of licensed referees. See Meet The Ref for details about our panel members. While there is no charge for asking the questions, donation to maintain the site are welcomed! <>