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Question Number: 25056

Law 5 - The Referee 6/3/2011

RE: Select Under 15

Joe of Louisville, KY US asks...

Two questions:

During state tournament, a foul occurs right outside of 18 but Center signals advantage, attacker dribbles a few feet into penalty area and then takes a shot, missing wide. Center whistles and gives the attackers direct kick at the point of original foul. This occurred twice in the same match under similar circumstances with attackers scoring on both free kicks. I know the rules talk about waiting a few seconds before penalizing for the original foul but both shots occurred after the attacker tried weaving through at least two defenders and the shots were clean, just missed. Can you define how long a 'few' seconds are and provide a bit more clarity on what to look for when deciding advantage?

Our team's free kick, we place ball down and right before kicking, AR runs on field to make defenders move back to proper distance. I know the AR can do this but if distance is not asked for, why bother?

Answer provided by Referee Gary Voshol

1. If the referee felt that the shot was off-target because of the foul, the advantage has not materialized and it is appropriate to go back to the site of the foul for a free kick. If as you state it, the attacking player would have had to weave through a herd of defenders, perhaps there wasn't much of an advantage there to begin with and the ref should have simply whistled the foul in the first place.

2. Why bother indeed? (Unless you were taking your merry old time getting the ball into play, and it really wasn't a quick kick situation.) Sometimes it is impossible to fathom what a referee is thinking. We generally call those 'stupid ref tricks' or 'brain spasms'.

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Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Joe
The referee allows play to continue when the team against which an offence has been committed will benefit from such an advantage and penalises the original offence if the anticipated advantage does not ensue at that time. That's what the Law says
So if a player is fouled and the referee plays advantage then if the subsequent play has not been effected by the foul then the player has to accept the outcome of subsequent play and advantage has been realised.
The time period is estimated to be 2/3 seconds which is significant in active play.
So let's say that a player is fouled, gets past the defender and is fully balanced with no significant loss of position, control of the ball and then moves with the ball a few yards before taking a shot on goal then advantage has been realised and it should not be brought back.
As regards the AR intervening on distance at a free kick that is very rare and it is unhelpful to the game when it is not sought nor required.

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Answer provided by Referee Dennis Wickham

1. Advantage realized. The referee must judge if the advantage was realized within the three seconds - or not. For most fouls outside the penalty area, a shot or pass will be enough to judge 'realized.' The key factor for the referee is whether there was any lingering effect of the original foul on the errant shot/pass. One reason defenders foul players is to delay things just enough so that a teammate has time to cover. Thus, the foul might have cost the attacker that vital one or two step for an open shot on goal (though for a fan, it can look like a good play by the defender who was not involved in the original foul.) Recognizing the lingering effect of a foul is a high art for the referee.

2. Poor AR mechanics. The AR should do not do this unless: (a) the team asks for help setting the distance; and/or (b) it was discussed in the pregame with the referee. (If the referee asked the AR to proactively intervene during the pregame, it was IMO a foolish request.) The attacking team has a right to take a quick free kick which ordinarily should not be denied by the assistant referee. (Note: the referee always has the power to hold up a quick restart, when necessary for the match.)

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Answer provided by Referee Nathan Lacy

In my opinion, if the player has maintained their footing sufficiently to get a shot off on goal then the advantage HAS materialized and there is no way in the world that I'm going to give him/her a 'second bite of the apple' to score. PERIOD. Execute this scenario at the pro level and you'll be surprised at how fast they will hand you your backside. All the best,

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