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: 34595

Mechanics 5/18/2022

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


I'm sorry, but I still have one :-)

Advantage rule says: 'Advantage should not be applied in situations involving serious foul play, violent conduct or a second cautionable offence unless there is a CLEAR OPPORTUNITY TO SCORE A GOAL.'

What is 'clear opportunity to score a goal'? Is it something different than OGSO (obvious goal-scoring opportunity)?


Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

Hi Petr,
IF the team that was cheated, benefitted more from continual play than a stoppage, referees can use the advantage concept to make that distinction in a few seconds. Allow the attack to continue and if cardable activity is within the foul or misconduct it can be temporarily set aside until the next stoppage. However, the decision comes with an element of RISK.
There is NO guarantee a goal will result. A yellow caution for USB could still be considered for the manner in which the DOGSO foul that preceded the goal occurred, NOT so for a SFP or VC altercation as the physical act itself is the red card offence not the denying of a goal or opportunity to score!

In cases of a DOGSO, comprises a 4 point criteria-based decision on whether a red card IS warranted for preventing an obvious goal-scoring opportunity.
# distance between the offence and the goal
# general direction of the play
# likelihood of keeping or gaining control of the ball
# location and number of defenders

None of these listed points has anything to do with the reason for the offence, the DOGSO transgression could be a careless foul & SHOULD a goal result, there is no send-off or red card shown, as no goal was denied!
If the physical conduct of the foul or misconduct itself was cardable, while we can legally show the card at the NEXT stoppage, however, we are WARNED it is a BAD idea to apply advantage in red card scenarios, especially in SFP or VC situations because of the potential for further trouble, there is if course attending to the serious injury possibilities a very real possibility of RETALIATION against the defender responsible. Then there are the, (What if?) conundrums, can you imagine allowing play to continue, awaiting the advantage to materialize, then if that soon to be removed miscreant follows through on developing play with further USB or continued violent action or good heavens if the advantage was realized but no goal resulted then scores his own goal or participates in play that creates one for his team?

In the severe SFP or VC cases where our immediate thought is to punish the player responsible we STILL need to think and not overreact by hitting a too early whistler for the foul or misconduct if the ball is most likely on its way INTO the goal but before it has yet to cross the goal line under the crossbar and between the posts! Sure, we stop play to send the miscreant player off but if we pull back a goal and give a free-kick or even a PK when the kick-off would be so much more satisfying.

If you decided to allow advantage after a player was just savaged and the red sleigh ride is in effect, it is best to assume a goal being immediately scored is the ONLY outcome acceptable!

Similar in context but a bit different in reality.
A CLEAR opportunity essentially is the ball on its way into the back of the netting whereas an obvious goal-scoring opportunity is a realistic continuation of an attack where you might score!

Read other questions answered by Referee Richard Dawson

View Referee Richard Dawson profile

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Petr
Clear opportunity is not defined by IFAB so it is left to the referee to opine what is the best decision in the circumstances.
The best way to adjudicate on this is to consider whether the offended against team will be aggrieved by a goal being disallowed or an immediate goal scoring opportunity being denied by immediately stopping play rather than allowing the advantage with the chance to be taken.

Such situation are extremely rare and the one I refer to is the infamous Lehmann red card in the Champions League final between Arsenal and Barcelona. It was a DOGSO red card yet if say the card was for serious foul play or violent conduct or a 2nd yellow then still the best decision was to allow the advantage and then issue the card. As it turned out the referee Terge Hauge stopped play immediately and by doing so he had to disallow the goal that Barca *scored*.
He later regretted not allowing the advantage and his reasoning was that he was solely focussed on the red card and stopping play rather than allowing the advantage which was a clear opportunity to score a goal.

The OGSO situation could happen well away from goal and play can continue for some time with the card even being downgraded to a caution if nothing is denied or a goal scored or a penalty awarded. In the SFP, VC situation there is no option to downgrade the card.

In addition what the law makers I believe are saying is that advantage should only be applied on a SFP, VC etc red card in the very rare situation where there is an immediate opportunity to score aka a Lehmann type incident. I would suggest that the opportunity should be clear within a few second much like when advantage does not accrue play is brought back within a few seconds.

As always it is not always black and white
In this video was the referee correct to stop play for the 2nd caution and red card for # Red 8? Was it a clear opportunity. Should advantage have been played?
My personal opinion was that play could have been allowed to continue with advantage and the player dealt with at the next stoppage. The referee though was not incorrect to stop play and send off the Red player as it was not a clear opportunity. White though would have a different opinion on that!
Interestingly I think that in the lower ranks of the game that many referees would play advantage rather than stopping immediately. I say that for a variety of reasons in that such situations are rare, referees would be more familiar with DOGSO type red cards and allowing play to proceed plus some would not even be focussed on the actual player on a 2nd caution. Indeed I have seen referees miss who actually fouled so they are unable to identify the offender at the next stoppage! I saw that in a recent game and the referee admitted that he was so focussed on the advantage plus subsequent play that he lost track of who actually fouled that deserved a caution! Had the defender been on a caution he might not have considered that or had the presence to do so. However on SFP or VC it would be much clearer and referees would be dealing quickly with such offences.

Read other questions answered by Referee Joe McHugh

View Referee Joe McHugh profile

Answer provided by Referee Peter Grove

Hi Petr,

The IFAB does not give a definition of a clear goal scoring opportunity but at least as far as I'm concerned, it does not mean the same thing as a situation that meets the criteria used for a DOGSO offence. For example, there could be a number of defenders closer to the goal than a player, such that a foul on the player at that point would probably not be a DOGSO offence but the player might still have what I would consider to be a clear chance of scoring.

For me, a clear opportunity to score a goal is any situation where the referee judges that the player has a really, really good chance of scoring and one of the things that distinguishes that from the situation required for a DOGSO offence is precisely that it does not have to meet a pre-defined set of criteria.

So for me, it's basically just another example of where the referee has to use their experience and judgement to assess the situation overall and come to a decision that best meets the intent of the law and the spirit of the game.

Read other questions answered by Referee Peter Grove

View Referee Peter Grove profile

Answer provided by Referee Jason Wright

Hi Petr,

I've always interpreted it as something close to a DOGSO, but a bit more relaxed on the criteria.

While DOGSO has some criteria to consider, I consider this to be somewhere between a 'Promising Attack' and DOGSO - it needs to be a really good opportunity for scoring, but not quite as strict as DOGSO.

But when refereeing, you always need to consider the potential for retaliation (as well as any serious injury). If it looks like players are blowing up immediately, you're probably better stopping play - after all, if a confrontation starts, you'll need to stop play immediately.

So here, positioning becomes important - first off, keep a lingering eye on the incident, but you also want to consider verying your position - is there somewhere you can move that allows you to keep the incident in your peripheral?

Perhaps as you're running after the attack, you can angle your run closer to the incident to verbally control it as you're running past? sometimes "I've seen it!" can help along with the advantage call.

Of course, this is probably not possible - but perhaps when you're chasing the attack, you may want to get a bit wider so the incident isn't directly behind you, but at an angle. If you do this, then once you catch up you can stand sort of side on so you don't have to completely turn from play to check on the incident.

If you have ARs this is less of a concern - I do remind my ARs in the prematch to keep an eye on potential retaliation. I said less, not 'no concern' - you still want to try prevent anything from escalating.

Read other questions answered by Referee Jason Wright

View Referee Jason Wright profile

Ask a Follow Up Question to Q# 34595
Read other Q & A regarding Mechanics

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 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.