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Question Number: 12542

Law 12 - Fouls and Misconduct 4/11/2006

RE: competitive Under 19

jim cella of geneva, il usa asks...

Physical Contact fouls. How do refs draw The fine line to prevent injury. I constantly see refs wait until an injury occurs before they call any type of foul much less card. This leads to more control problems than any other behavior on the field and in the stands. How are refs instructed to handled the injurious behavior? Rarely do I see anything more than gripes on missed non physical fouls. The excuse is just "letting them play" but it escalates on the field and in the stands. When the kids play themselves they often do a better job of controlling dangerous play. When a ref is present they depend on him to set the bar. What is best for all?

Answer provided by Referee Chuck Fleischer

Agreed. How about instruct referees to "Let them play, fairly"? That's what I do; to the screams of coaches and parents who would rather see their little Johnnie beat the crap out of somebody. Of course when little Johnnie gets bumped they scream for a card.

It takes experience and training for referees to learn and for the most part this training is absent these days. Referees learn by using the path of least resistance, no screaming is that path. It's sad but that's the way I think things are going. Others do too...

Google "For the Integrity of Soccer art and science of refereeing"


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Answer provided by Referee Debbie Hoelscher

Foul recognition and subsequently "man management" i.e. what to do with what you just saw, are the two most difficult things to actually teach. These are learned techniques that really are based on "trial by fire" education. The more experienced referee has a kind of gutt instict and you just kind of can feel where the tension is in the game and where you want to keep it. The best advice I every heard was from one of our local (now retired)FIFA Referees, Ricardo Valenzuela, who advised the following: keep it simple and call the firsts. What he meant by that was simply, when you see the chip at the ankle, call it the first time it happens. It's much less likely it will happen again. When I am doing a boys/mens match, I am blowing my whistle much more often in the first 10 -15 minutes of the match, and then maybe the first 5-10 in the second half, to set and keep the tone set. Women's matches are different. (not less difficult, just different) It takes about 20 minutes for a women's match to become more physical. Theses games usually don't start off the same as a men's match. The exception to this is the highest levels of play in the U.S. (NCAA Div 1 , WUSA/W-League/WPSL).

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