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Question Number: 24680

The Technical Area 3/11/2011

RE: rec, HS, travel teams Adult

alex of crownsville, md usa asks...

The Blue team is taking a corner kick. Player A is lining up to take the kick when their coach yells out 'Sally (player B), you take the kick'. Player B jogs from in front of the goal down the goalline and Player A kicks the ball to her. Player A & B pass each other, player A continues down the goal line towards the center, but as soon as player B passes player A, she turns around and stealthily dribbles behind player A, towards the goal. The opposing team has been deceived by the coach's instruction and the body language of players A&B and were unprepared.

I blew the whistle, based on deliberate verbal deceiption but decided before signally that it would be better to call offsides on Player A who had part of her body in the offside position and gained an advantage (hidding player B and the ball).

The coach did not like this and later got a red card for other types of dissent and coming on the field.

Some other ref's suggested, I should try hard to make sure that the blue team absolutely followed free kick procedures (hand ball if they readjusted the ball), but I disagree about bending the rules to punish them taking advantage of the spirt of the game in being a bit casual about taking free kicks.

What do you think the right call was?

If the deceptive verbal stuff ('you take it') was done by the players, would the ruling be different?

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Alex
Unfortunately this ruse is still around and continues to cause problems for referees.
First off referees should not allow any verbal distraction by a coach who is trying to deceive the opposing team in some manner by what he is saying. This is however always a matter of opinion for the referee. If it happens then the referee should stop play, speak to the coach, warn him about his conduct and restart play with the original restart. If it happens in open play then the restart is a dropped ball from where play was stopped.
As regards the verbal deception by players in these ruses referees have differing views on this. In principle short corners happen all the time and players must be aware of this. Technically the test is whether the call/shout is to distract an opponent during play or at a restart which is unsporting behaviour and therefore cautionable. The referee also has to decide if the call/shout was made before the ball was put into play or afterwards. I have seen this twice at professional level recently and in both cases the referees asked for the CK to be taken again. I believe each referee has to use his judgement on these and to manage them as best he/she can given the match circumstances.
So the options open to the referee are
1. If the referee has not seen the original kick that put the ball into play properly then he is entitled to ask for the kick again with a polite "I'm sorry I was not ready". "I did not see the kick"
2. Decide if there is any verbal distraction and when did it happen which will have an effect on the restart. If there is verbal distraction during play there must be a caution
3. If the ball is not put into play properly and a player then kicks the ball twice on the restart it is an IDFK for a double touch.
4. If there is verbal deception by the coach then the referee must deal with that according to the Laws.
In this case I believe the coach's behaviour was part of the ruse, in which case play should be stopped, the coach spoken to and the restart is the corner kick as the behaviour happened before the ball was in put into play.
Assuming there was no offence by the ruse whether offside was an appropriate call can only be judged based on the circumstances. Being obscured behind a player is not an offside offence. Offside is based on the player's position based on the position of the ball and the 2nd last opponent. If the defence has players on the goal line then offside cannot be called.
Finally readjusting the ball with the hand at a free kick/restart is not deliberate handling. The ball is not in play and readjusting the ball is allowed. The player however can be cautioned for delaying the restart but it does not change the restart.

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Answer provided by Referee Dennis Wickham

The coach has no right to engage in verbal trickery on a corner kick. You were right to put a stop to it. The 'I'm just talking to my players' is untrue - - everyone on the team knows the coach is talking TO the opponents in the hopes of misleading them. How to deal with a coach depends on the circumstances. A quiet word (only the players can do this, coach must not participate), a caution (high school) or warning or dismissing the coach (LOTG) are all within the referee's power.

Since the misconduct (high school) or irresponsible behavior (TLOG) occurred before the offside infringement, it was appropriate to stop play and deal with the coach's conduct.

The players, however, are entitled to engage in this form of ruse. If the coach does not participate, let the players try the trick. It only works once per match.

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Answer provided by Referee Keith Contarino

While you were right to put a halt to this, your method is not well founded in Law. Player A may be in offside position but she has not interfered with play nor gained an advantage as both of these require she touch the ball. From your description, I don't see how she interfered with an opponent so offside is an incorrect call. But why bother with calling offside anyway? the coach has flagrantly acted in an irresponsible manner. By calling offside, you let the coach off the hook. Blow your whistle; stop play; warn the coach and make them retake the corner kick only this time properly.

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