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Question Number: 25216

Law 5 - The Referee 7/15/2011

RE: Contribulatley Adult

Gareth Hughes of Manchester, Stockport England asks...

Whilst Refereeing in a very close game (3-2) something odd happened and although i'm right in law, i don't think other refs have got this wrong as i had a barrage of complaints as it happened last week and was a diferent outcome.

Any way Blue forward A (1 goal down) were on the attack and was tripped inside the penalty area. The ball however rolls to forward B, i then play advantage as the player is 4 yards out with only goal keeper to beat. The forward B then shoots and hits the post and the ball goes beyond the goal line. I give a goal kick as it states in LOTG. Then caution defender for initial trip.

Anyway the attacking team states 'you play advantage from a penalty kick', which was apprantly stated last week by their previous ref, which i honestly believe.

I've looked in our magic book and there is nothing to state that this is the case, but i now am doubting myself. Where is it in our book.

I can see only on page 66 'the referee should consider the following circumstances in deciding whether to play advantage

(iii) the chances of an immediate promising attack'


Answer provided by Referee Jason Wright

There's no law regarding playing advantage in the penalty area. However, considering what a great opportunity at goal a penalty kick is, a referee should only apply advantage in the penalty area if the attacking team still has an obvious goalscoring opportunity.

Of course, we also need to consider whether the player with the obvious goalscoring opportunity is still disadvantaged by a foul (say, the ball he receives is coming at an angle making it difficult to control). It's a balancing act.

It sounds like you made the right decision. Most people don't realise that the capacity to take back advantage to the foul isn't there to protect players from their own mistakes - how many times have you heard players say 'there's no advantage there ref!' when the player, with all the time in the world, puts through a pass that goes straight out?

Sounds to me like you've made the right decision - including cautioning the defender. Well done.

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Answer provided by Referee Gary Voshol

If B had an opportunity at least as good as a penalty kick, then you were correct to apply advantage and allow play to continue. The fact that B was not able to capitalize on this potential is not the fault of the original foul, nor of the referee to decide advantage. Sounds like he just plain missed - which is a possibility with a penalty kick as well.

Of course the attacking team will want you to go back and call the PK - they want that extra chance. Consider the converse - if B had scored, would they want you to nullify it and call the PK? Certainly not. They can't pick and choose the situations in which advantage didn't accrue based on the outcome of the play.

In the US we are advised by USSF to not signal advantage in the penalty area, but rather to wait and see what develops for a second or two. If B was not able to get a shot in that time, we would go back to the foul and the PK. Since B did get a shot off but not one that scored, B did take advantage of the potential given to him; it just didn't work out the way he would have liked.

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Answer provided by Referee Nathan Lacy

Just another item to consider when judging advantage in the PA is the skill level(s) of the players. Highly skilled - more likely the advantage will have a positive result and applying advantage would be the correct decision. Less skilled - less likely the advantage will be materialized and the PK is actually the 'better option' for the team. Food for thought. All the best,

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Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Gareth
If you were to ask Referee Terje Hauge who refereed the Arsenal V Barcelona CL final game in 2006 about playing advantage he would give you good advice. He admitted that he should have waited before blowing the whistle for a foul by Jans Lehmann which he was dismissed for. Barca would have scored if he allowed play to continue for 1/2 secs. That is the flip side of this argument.
Advantage is applied when the decision is made, not when the advantage signal is given. The signal itself may often be delayed for 2-3 seconds while the referee evaluates the advantage situation to determine if it will continue. Where it does not continue, the Laws of the Game provide for the referee to stop play for the original foul.
Timing is critical in this and the certainty/manner of the foul helps as well. I have been in these situation where I have blown for the penalty to see the ball run nicely for a forward to score. I then have to come back for the penalty. I have had the reverse of this where I intended to award a penalty and a goal was scored to shouts of "Great advantage Ref". Also the type of foul can have a bearing. When it is a stonewaller there will be little complaint about the immediate award of a penalty or where the foul is aggressive advantage should not be played.
If the ball was played to Blue B who has a clear advantage and advantage is signalled by the referee then when he does not take it by hitting the post I'm afraid that advantage has been realised. It does not have to be a goal for advantage to be realised yet timing is critical.
If on the other hand the referee delays the call slightly to see what happen then the play can come back and the foul can be awarded. Now there is an argument that it is not a good idea to play advantage inside the penalty area. However the ref that allows play to go on and a goal is scored will be praised for his decision. Cue the reverse of that when it is not scored.

No two situations are the same so last weeks ref had entirely different circumstances. Last weeks referee's choice of words was unhelpful if he did in fact use them. He should have said "It is a foul and a penalty". He is not playing advantage but penalising the infringement.

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Answer provided by Referee Keith Contarino

A player with a shot on goal from 4 yards has a bigger advantage than from 12. In the US we simply wait 2-3 seconds to see what happens and don't give the advantage signal inside the PA

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