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: 34983


RE: Rec Under 19

Greg of SLO, CA US asks...

This question is a follow up to question 34975

Responding to Referee Wright’s comment about myths. I am continually amazed how myths about the LOTG start, and how long they persist. Just yesterday, after cautioning a player for delaying a quick restart on a DFK (after his coach told him to do it), I was screamed at because "everyone knows that they have to ask for 10 yards”. In a tournament a month or so ago, I ejected a player for VC after starting a fight. He got increasingly agitated during the course of the game to the point of erupting because his coach kept telling his team after a benign event in the penalty area that "everyone knows that if the ball touches a hand in the penalty it’s an automatic handball”.

It would be interesting and useful to have a compilation of all the Law myths that referees could access, post, print and distribute, or otherwise make available to coaches and spectators. I try to tell them, but I’m just a lowly individual who clearly doesn’t understand the “rules”. Something from a more authoritative source would be helpful.

Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

Hi Greg,
You are spot on mate,
In such cases where the know it all rage and chest beaters are dancing along the touchlines which everyone knows is just an acid stomach buildup for noxiousness. Sometimes we can do little but grin and bear, the wailing and gnashing of teeth but not coaches, players managers, substitutes and technical staff. We can identify, lock on and remind them, be responsible, hold them accountable and to act reasonable! I subscribe to at first a pleasant reminder, then a more forthright do not continue this attitude, and then if required cards can be shown with a request to leave as a final option.

We all realize a match can be an emotional roller coaster with escalating emotions at a perceived or a disagreeable call. We can shut down the radar ears briefly to allow a breather but not for long, not for really untenable garbage and not for ever. Hopefully they settle and if not, it is up to you to initiate a settlement plan for abhorrent behavior .

If a Coach is goading players to react violently to a perceived missed or blown call? Not only is it unintelligent and dark, but grounds for disciplinary actions. Over reacting to a call when officials are simply match conditions.? When you scream at the sun, wind, rain does the weather change? ?

We are all well aware of the lingering myths with the addition of a few new ones created by the rapid evolution of soccer across the world and the consistently weird interpretations people extrapolate from the laws and rules governing the game. Often by only reading one part of the LOTG, not the exceptions!

The IFAB and FIFA are constantly trying to define things to an exacting standard by tweaking the laws to establish in theory, a better spectator program.

Lets face it, the public spending money is key to their concerns, aside from a 11 aside kick around by 22 individuals. Yet even they are realizing a more human approach to the grass root, spectator, player, coach, and parent, requires a less technical approach

Plus the innovations and adjustments that are made at the local levels for youth and senior football are often tournament orientated or the local ROC bylaws that try to deal with certain aspects of the LOTG that change periodically. The non heading clause as an example.

Their secondary concerns are the consistency issues professional mangers and players have with the officiating.

Although we SHOULD recognize a referee is in fact a match condition much like the weather or pitch surface, good or bad you adapt. It is important to get the calls correct. As such it requires a clear understanding of the LOTG and their purpose as well as being able to see and recognize the infractions when they occur by being in good positions.

The introduction of the new handing directives whereby even if accidental by the attackers it is still a foul, put the auto pilot on high for any handling.

It is just so easy to see ball + hand = foul and sell it as a free kick. It takes courage to ignore the theatrics of outrage and concentrate on the reality of what occurs.

The referee can use their discretion to discount ball to hand except no attacker can benefit from a handling that creates a goal directly or causes a goal to be scored immediately.

The speed of the ball, redirected angles, hemmed in by others are considerations as the referee weighs in on how a player uses his body position and arm placements away from or above the head to arrive at decision at his discretion if it was deliberate or accidental.

Whereas a whistle generally indicates there is a foul, as does calling out & signaling ADVANTAGE, allowing play to continue. Both signals say, I got this, relax.

I suggest when there is obvious ball to hand contact that is NOT a foul, to verbally indicate NO! NOTHING THERE! Keep it going! This says, I did not miss it, I chose to ignore it!

At the youth level an instinctive flinch is not cause for a deliberate action on a handling but it is generally NOT permitted to camp out under an ball that could be easily played with an alternate body part . Using the arms to rebound the ball or place the forearms out over the chest to run into the ball and propel it forward are 100% a deliberate act of handling Perhaps in the no heading restrictive matches with the INDFK for doing so I suspect they are less strict.

The defense after creating a foul have ZERO rights on free kicks except perhaps not to be mislead by the referee acting irrationally out of context, and a 100% obligation to retreat to a MINIMUM of ten yards from the point of the foul.

In no way does the attacking team have to ASK for ten yards .

They can CHOOSE to and ONLY once a referee acknowledges it by signaling and saying verbally "We ARE waiting for a whistle!", pointing to whistle, eye contact in a clear fashion should a defender ever assume he has some free time to not defend before restarting. Only the referees' actions indicate that it is a ceremonial kick where the defense can benefit from a wall set up. The issues are many teams simple spot the ball and make a sideways or back kick to get things going unconcerned by nearby opponents or one player is asking for ten as another has started to already put it into play.

As a neutral official we are supposed to not participate unless something occurs that demands our involvement. The fact we can use foam to mark free kick location and wall distance the USUAL start is another whistle . HOWEVER< I remind all players UNLESS the referee has SPECIFICALLY indicated he or she is restarting with a whistle by pointing to it and saying we are WAITING, absolutely nothing prevents the attackers from going!

An opponent moving closer to the ball, cutting off a pathway out or moving real slow and taking an intersection route to ensure no pass or shot can occur can cause attackers to be irate and they will ask for ten yards BUT you could have cautioned the defenders for delaying the restart or failure to respect the distance. Although a bit of a soft carding it is at times necessary to set the bar and remind all to get out of dodge before noon not after!

Throw ins! sigh another easy restart complicated by some vague thoughts of what is thought to be correct.
The keeper has a one handed throw release which is what the throwers can not emulate.
I also suggest thinking on boundary lines as 5 inch walls of water extending forever upwards and should a ball be the tiniest bit wet, even the outermost curve ,that ball is INSIDE the FOP those boundaries surround!

(a) Feet on the touchline that partially extend into the FOP are PERFECTLY ok.
(b)Ball from behind and over the head with both hands ! It does not have to be tossed 25 yards into the PA area. It can be allowed to fall at your feet just not spiked in a continued holding downward motion The ball can spin as much as it wants.
(c)Feet off the ground, this can occur as the ball is leaving the hands, it's a little kid problem but a rethrow helps the wee ones and some reminders for others.
Be aware of what is trifling and doubtful as to the necessity of the call.
(d)Having a throw in occur from where it left the FOP is usually of greater concern then some minor flaws in mechanics . Upon reentry once the ball comes into ANY contact with the outer edge of that touchline that ball was in play. Should it then bounce out or wind assisted, ignore the cries it was never in, it is a loss of possession at the point it completely exited the FOP after its brief marginal entry onto it.

Keeper handling restrictions have a couple of hard to identify quirks.

Number 1. The BALL location to the PA boundary lines determine if the ball can be handled not the placement of the hands inside or outside the PA . The ball is nearly a foot across and the marking lines are 5 inched wide . The keeper could actually be COMPLETELY outside in the field, out of his PA, yet still legally place their hand on the ball if it has the least little contact with the outer edge of the PA boundary line.

Number 2. The ball upon released after 6 seconds of possession can not be touched again with the hand! HOWEVER , if it is clear it was a real attempt to place the ball back into active play, that went wrong, you can allow a 2nd touch with the hands.

Number 3. The keeper often carries the ball right up to the PA line tossing it ahead and then kicking it outside the PA but his hands are NOT on the ball carrying it across the PA

The old, I got the ball first ref in unsafe tackles or challenges is always one where the eyes just roll just a it does when perfectly executed tackles somehow get called a foul? The myth has more to do with understanding a tackle performed where the player has the opponent fall on or over him but was not not tripped by him.

Offside interpretation is not so much myth as failing to grasp when the being on or off restriction status changes. While some myth is a definition confusion of interpretation as to meaning, misinterpretation occurs by not reading thoroughly and finding the exceptions.

We now pass the ball backwards at kick off and require free kicks where we can visibly determine if a ball is moved from here to there or not get involved in a coach /player trick play, like a, Hey you take it, followed by an undermined foot drag with a dribble away. These have more to do with proper foul recognition then myth building.
What other myths do you think are about?
A tit for tat even up clause?
Unless bloody no PA foul?
Cheers .

Read other questions answered by Referee Richard Dawson

View Referee Richard Dawson profile

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Greg
Your point is well made.
This has been acknowledged by IFAB who recently introduced an initiative to make the Laws more simpler for coaches and players

The following website has been developed to start that process

This is a reduced version of the official Laws of the Game. Whilst the Laws are mainly intended for referees, the Football Rules use simpler language and a different structure, to make the Laws easier to understand for everyone. .

The term “rules” and other terms used in this version (e.g. ‘pitch’ instead of ‘field of play’, penalty ‘spot’ instead of penalty ‘mark or ‘penalties’ instead of ‘kicks from the penalty mark’) were chosen to reflect widely used words and terms.

There is a simpler structure with a focus on ‘what should happen?’ and ‘what happens if...’ something happens which is not expected or allowed.

As to influencing those in the game it is nigh an impossible task with many not interested in learning or getting up to speed with law changes or dealing with myths. Indeed it never surprises me when even referees get it wrong and I have seen some strange decisions by referees who thought they were correct.

As to your examples I would not be tolerating anyone screaming at me and it is a caution all day long for dissent. In the violent conduct incident the player knows that VC will result in a red card so getting agitated for whatever reason is just plain stupid. That agitation gets triggered by all sorts not just referee decisions. Even in 100% correct decisions the same players will contest everything and get wound up over nothing.

So for what it is worth I think referees for the foreseeable future are going to have to accept that the referee is going to be the only source of information on the "rules" through playing decisions. When that authority is questioned in a hostile blatant manner then it is a card and if it persists remove the offender from the game.

Read other questions answered by Referee Joe McHugh

View Referee Joe McHugh profile

Ask a Follow Up Question to Q# 34983
Read other Q & A regarding

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! <>