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Question Number: 22499

Law 13 - Free Kicks 11/11/2009

RE: Adult

Mike of NorCal, CA USA asks...

If during play something happens worthy of a yellow (or a red card) that stops play with a whistle but you, as ref, see an advantage has developed (such as a quick restart by the team that was fouled with Keeper away from goal) so you decide to continue with play (the quick restart) due to advantage. Can you come back at the next stoppage and then card the player? That would be in actuality, the second stoppage after the foul? Or should you stop play completely, regardless of the advantageous opportunity and card the player right away?

Answer provided by Referee Nathan Lacy

Given the scenario you provide you either stop play and card them or allow the quick restart and don't card. Once play has been restarted you cannot then come back and book a person for something that occurred before the ball had been put back into play. However, if you don't deal with the red card event but rather let the restart occur and do not then send the player off then you, as the referee, are asking for a crud-load of trouble. Also, an assessor would probably fail you right then and there for not handling a game critical event and/or dealing with 100% misconduct. As a rule of thumb I would suggest that if you stop play and wish to book somebody do it right then and there - any advantage notwithstanding - becauase failure to do so will probably bite you in the butt later. Said another way and as I usually give in my pregame instructions - if we have a cautionable offense during dynamic play wait for the next dead ball and we'll deal with it (i.e. book them). However, if we have a red card event let's get him/her off the field NOW - get my attention any way you can and let's get them off. I don't want a player who is to be sent off staying on the field and getting a free shot at somebody. All the best,

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Answer provided by Referee Keith Contarino

By blowing the whistle, you have acknowledged the foul and called it. That's not advantage. The fouled team is entitled to a quick restart but you have to do what's best for the game. if the card you are talking about is red, you best stop the restart and deal with the violence. If you allow play to restart, you can't show the card. The exception to this is if another member of the refereeing crew has seen violent conduct and you did not notice the AR or Fourth Official until after play has restarted. In that case you may punish the player with a send off. In general, if there's a clear huge advantage and you are considering a caution, allow play to continue, signal advantage and you can still caution the player and you can also bring the ball back to the spot of the infraction if the advantage does materialize in 2-3 seconds. If the misconduct is serious foul play or violent conduct I would suggest you stop play immediately and deal with it

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Answer provided by Referee Dennis Wickham

When the referee is aware of the facts when play has been stopped (as here for a foul and misconduct), the referee must balance the attacking team's desire for a quick free kick and the need for the card. If the referee chooses to allow the kick, she cannot go back later and punish the misconduct. But, it is the referee who must choose (not the attacking team) based on the circumstances.

For all red cards and most yellow cards (for reckless/dangerous contact), the referee should not let play restart. For others - dissent, delaying the restart of play, persistent infringement, the referee may weigh the balance in favor of letting play restart and give a stern warning at the next restart.

In an MLS match a few years ago, the referee stopped play for a foul and took out the yellow card. He decided to allow the quick restart, and kept running down the field holding the yellow card. The USSF week in review advised that having taken out the card (possibly misleading the defense into thinking that the kick would be wait for the mandatory whistle restart after a card is shown), the referee should not have permitted the quick kick. The cost to game management was too high.

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Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Referee Mike
This does happen and the only way to caution is not to allow the quick free kick to be taken. Once the restart happens the referee cannot go back to the original caution. He can go back if he has allowed an advantage as he has not stopped play but that is not what has happened here.
Personally if a team gets the ball down, takes the QFK and there is a good advantage I simply allow them to get on with it. If I pull it back it might be seen as a double whammy that is being fouled and then not allowed to use a promising situation. This happened in a game end of last season and a player, to prevent a very promising attack, pulled back a player. Just as I was getting there, with caution in mind for this tactical foul, the forward took the QFK and the attacking circumstances had not changed much so I allowed the kick to be taken. I made a mental note of the player and at the next stoppage I spoke to the player and warned him about his conduct but I could not caution him.
If I needed to caution I would have to have to have stopped the QFK being taken, cautioned him and restarted on the whistle.

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Answer provided by Referee Michelle Maloney

As my colleagues have all noted, if you blew the whistle, you can't apply advantage any more. If you don't blow the whistle and do apply advantage you can come back and give the card at the next stoppage in play.

Under no circumstances should you allow advantage or a quick kick if there is a sending off to be given. I'm sure the other team would rather their opponents play a man down than take a quick kick, and even if they don't, who's in control here? The certainty of game management issues and the risk to players if someone is not sent off who needs sending off is too high. Suck it up and send them off.

If you did whistle and chose not to give a caution and allowed the quick kick, be SURE to catch the miscreant quickly and let him/her know in no uncertain terms that said player is on very thin ice. Due to the needs of the fouled team he walked, but it won't happen again, and my eyes will be carefully monitoring his every move. And back it up. He should see you looking at him every chance provided. This is good for you, good for the opposing team since they've seen you deal with him, and actually good for him, since he's on notice, as is his team.

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