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Question Number: 24235

Law 5 - The Referee 10/26/2010

RE: Pro Adult

Kash of BLY, LANC UK asks...

This question is a follow up to question 24209

Can you please clarify the advantage rule please?

Everywhere I read it says.. if advantage does not accure 'immediately' then the original freekick or penalty is given. Which is exactly what you have said in your answer.

A specific example:
In a 5-a-side game a player from team A goes into his own area, which would normally result in a penalty to team B. However, the ball finds its way to a player from team B - he misses it and play fizzles out to nothing.

Surely team B has been given the chance to play for advantage and wasted it?

Answer provided by Referee Gary Voshol

Jim Allen recently answered a question about advantage on his USSF website that you may like to read. I like his word 'squandered'.

You are correct, if the referee applies the advantage clause and then team B fails to avail itself of the advantage, through no fault of team A, you don't go back to the original offense.

I am not familiar with the 5-a-side local rules, so I don't know if you are using the word penalty generically or if the result of entering the area is a penalty kick. Whenever an infraction would result in a PK, then any advantage the referee sees has to be at least as good a PK. Most times we allow advantage when the team retains possession of the ball in relatively good field position. If the offense would have resulted in a PK, the player with the ball would have to have an immediate opportunity to shoot on goal with little or no defense present, or it isn't really an advantage.

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Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Kash
The Laws allow for play to continue when the team against which an offence has been committed will benefit from such an advantage. The Law also allows that if that the anticipated advantage does not ensue usually within 3 to 4 seconds then the referee can penalize the original offence.
In 5 a side soccer there are lots of local rules and changes to the Laws of the Game to take account of the nature of the game. It is difficult with the tight space and speed of the game to truly play advantage unless it is an instant goal scoring opportunity. Even then it happens so quickly that perhaps it is not a true advantage in that the changed sitaution, due to the foul, may be prejudicial to the team against which the offence was committed. The question I would pose to teams is whether it would be better to simply award the penalty for the offence rather than taking the risk of allowing play to continue with an unsure advantage?
I would say that if a team has committed a penalty foul then the penalty would be a better 'advantage'. Neither team can have any gripe then.

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Answer provided by Referee Debbie Hoelscher

The most direct explanation I have ever heard was from Bob Evans and again echoed by my dear friend, Chuck Fleischer. Advantage is giving the offended every opportunity to do their worst against the team that offended them. In some cases, the best opportunity for the offended team to do their worst against the opponent is in the form of a free kick, with a set play. In some cases, the opportunity is better presented in the form of a lucky roll to the foot of a teammate who can then have the OPPORTUNITY at a shot on goal. The referee must decide what the advantage was: the opportunity? or the shot itself? These are two separate and distinct decisions. And ONLY the referee knows for which action they made their decision for advantage.

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