Soccer Referee Resources
Ask a Question
Recent Questions

RSS FEED Subscribe Now!

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
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
Panel Login

Question Number: 21024

Other 3/23/2009

RE: Rec Under 11

K Butler of Chicago, IL USA asks...

This question is a follow up to question 21007

Regardng the statement that 'persistent infringement' only applies to violations of Rule 12, why is that the case? I understand my copy of Rule 12 to say that cautionable offenses include 'persistent infringement of Laws of the Game.' If a player is constantly off-side and the game is constantly being stopped for that offense, wouldn't a caution be appropriate?

Answer provided by Referee Michelle Maloney

Please don't go there! Giving a caution for too many offside offenses will make you the laughing stock of refereedom, and will subject the game to being protested and upheld for misapplication of the LOTG!

There are lots of things about the Laws of the Game that are not written, and that we have to understand are the result of long standing tradition and usage. An example is a player who is sent off can't be replaced. You will find that nowhere in the Laws, but it is as much a part of the game as not using one's hands to play (excepting keepers).

Read other questions answered by Referee Michelle Maloney

View Referee Michelle Maloney profile

Answer provided by Referee Chuck Fleischer

Because you list USA as where you referee I assume you are USSF registered. If that's the case you must conduct yourself in accordance with Advice to Referees on the Laws of the Game:

Persistent infringement occurs when a player repeatedly commits fouls or certain other infringements. It is not necessary for the multiple fouls to be of the same type or all to be direct free kick fouls, but infringements must be among those covered in Law 12 or involve repeated violations of Law 14. In most cases, the referee should warn the player that the pattern has been observed and, upon a subsequent violation, must then issue the caution. If the pattern is quickly and blatantly established, then the warning should be omitted and the referee should take immediate action. In determining whether there is persistent infringement, all fouls are considered, including those to which advantage has been applied.

The referee must also recognize when a single opponent has become the target of fouls by multiple players. As above, upon recognizing the pattern, the referee should clearly indicate that the pattern has been observed and that further fouls against this opponent must cease. If another player commits a foul against the targeted opponent, that player must be cautioned but, in this case, the misconduct should be reported as unsporting behavior, as must any subsequent caution of any further foul against that same targeted opponent. Eventually, the team will get the message.

You will note violations of Law 11 are specifically absent from this paragraph. Law 11 is punished by awarding an indirect free kick to the defence. The referee must remember a player constantly offside is not necessarily committing an offside offence each time he is in an offside position, again when an offside offence is committed is explained in the Laws of the Game, pg 24 and further explained in Interpretation of the Laws of the Game and Guidelines for Referees pg 100:

In the context of Law 11 ? Offside, the following definitions apply:

'nearer to his opponents' goal line' means that any part of a player's head, body or feet is nearer to his opponents' goal line than both the ball and the second last opponent. The arms are not included in this definition

'interfering with play' means playing or touching the ball passed or touched by a team-mate 'interfering with an opponent' means preventing an opponent from playing or being able to play the ball by clearly obstructing the opponent's line of vision or movements or making a gesture or movement which, in the opinion of the referee, deceives or distracts an opponent

'gaining an advantage by being in that position' means playing a ball that rebounds to him off a goalpost or the crossbar having been in an offside position or playing a ball that rebounds to him off an opponent having been in an offside position.

If you referee only under NFHS High School Rules you would be well served to follow the recommendations listed above.


Read other questions answered by Referee Chuck Fleischer

View Referee Chuck Fleischer profile

Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

It is NOT an offence to be in an offside position!
If there IS an offside offence the other team recieves ball possession! Explain how is that a cautionable offence giving the othe team the ball?

Read other questions answered by Referee Richard Dawson

View Referee Richard Dawson profile

Answer provided by Referee Keith Contarino

I neglected to add Law 14 in my original answer. Sorry. But there is absolutely no reason to caution someone for being frequently offside even if it were allowed as the other team has been given the ball.

Read other questions answered by Referee Keith Contarino

View Referee Keith Contarino profile

Ask a Follow Up Question to Q# 21024
Read other Q & A regarding Other

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.