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Question Number: 26680

Law 12 - Fouls and Misconduct 8/25/2012

RE: High School Adult

Barrie Monks of la crosse, Wisconsin USA asks...

An attacker runs clear through on goal and is brought down in the penalty area by the goalkeeper. The ball breaks to a trailing attacker so the ref delays the whistle. The second attacker, realizing that if he takes the advantage the goalkeeper will only get a yellow card, but if he does not then the keeper will be sent off and his team gets a penalty so he does not play the ball. What do you do?

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Barrie
I don't like these hypothetical questions as in real life I think a player will take the advantage opportunity and try to score.
Now for me the hypothetical answer is that if the player has a clear cut advantage then the referee would be entitled to signal advantage and try to 'encourage' play to continue. If the advantage is doubtful and the player does not avail of the chance or advantage is not realised then the only decision is a penalty kick and a dismissal.
Interestingly in a La Liga game at the weekend I saw a referee signal advantage at the half way line for a team that was leading near the end of the game. The player did not seem keen on the advantage and gestured by not playing the ball that he would prefer the foul which would probably use some time in the process. The referee continued with the advantage signal almost insisting that play continue which it did. The referee then seemed to remonstrate with the player insisting that as there existed an advantage then he was not stopping play for the foul. That is the way it looked to me. Not sure that would happen though on a penalty kick.

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Answer provided by Referee Keith Contarino

What attacking player with an open goal, inside the opposing penalty area, and the ball at his feet is not going to continue on towards the goal or shoot immediately?

But, that's not what you asked. If the player with the ball does nothing, the advantage will not arise and the foul will have to be called and the keeper likely sent off for DOGSO.

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Answer provided by Referee Nathan Lacy

With the application of advantage the question becomes was the advantage materialized or not. WHAT the player chooses to do with that advantage is up to them. Accordingly, I would beg to differ from my esteemed colleague above. IF the ball, as you state, 'breaks to the trailing attacker' then the advantage HAS been realized. PERIOD. What he CHOOSES to do with that advantage is now up to him. If he chooses to waste it, then so be it. Opportunity lost. It is not our job as referees to 'fix' their bad decisions. To carry this a step further, however, applying advantage in the PA is an extremely gutsy move and if you're going to take that risk then the outcomes can be very extreme - either extremely good or extremely bad. Personally, I would opt for the sure thing - award the PK and the send off for DOGSO. Keep it simple and straightforward. The only thing that might keep me from calling it in that manner is if the original sequence/scenario that you gave happened so quickly that the ball would virtually be in the back of the net by the time the whistle got to my mouth. All the best,

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