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Question Number: 28697

League Specific 9/1/2014

RE: Competitive Under 12

Don Treply of Stone Park, IL United States asks...

At a tournament we came across two situations:
1. Games are two 25-minute halves. The first half goes 30 minutes, and in the last couple of minutes a goal is scored. The second half goes 25 minutes. After the game the ref admits error--that is, the ref does not explain that the extra minutes were added time for injury and so on.

2) In a penalty shootout to decide a championship a kick is handled by the keeper but the linesman rules that a goal is scored. The center ref calls the linesman over and after a conferral overrules.

Were these situations properly handled?

Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

Hi Don,
While the laws state two equal halves, many casual tournaments are often sketchy on the absolutes of laws given there is no recourse to replay. So the referee decisions tend to stand most of the time as a matter of convenience. The more professional or sanctioned tournaments that can be replayed or decisions altered if incorrectly applied have procedural issues, time lines/deadlines to make known your grievances and protests usually cost money!

Shortened time frames applied to match duration are a fact of many tournaments, for various reasons. Usually the competition has rules posted if time is allowed to be added or if they are using a clock or subject to referee whim.. If a referee is permitted to add time lost for injury and does so, it is not an error, it is permitted in law. That said, usually such things are broadcast to the teams a the end of regulation so they are aware extra time is in effect as a courtesy and to quell unrest.

A referee is not mandated to explain his actions during a match. It is always conceivable a referee maybe required to defend his decisions to a review board but during the match there is a reason why things tend to follow the lead of ITOOTR. A match is not a debate. It is regrettable that a referee could make an error. However a referee with integrity sees what he sees, even if we see it different. We agree to disagree and move forward within the learning curve that we all experience as our knowledge increases.

No linesman can award a goal, generally a linesman sole job as a non neutral official is to assist with ball in or out of play. An AR (assistant referee )has considerable more input but again has zero powers to award a goal.

The referee is the sole authority to decide if a goal is legally scored by having crossed the goal line under the crossbar and between the goal posts with no infractions committed by the team scoring! The referee can accept information from his AR and follow it or choose to discount it, if he believes otherwise. A referee cannot arbitrarily award a goal or take away a goal on whim, it must be based on the opinion it was legally scored or it was not legally scored As a fact of play such information can not be disputed only if the referee erred in the application of law could his opinion be overturned.

You ask were these situations handled properly?? I have no idea of the circumstances, situation, credibility or anything concrete to base a decision to critique a colleague I do not know, never seen, or have any idea of why he made he decisions he did!
I can sense you feel vaguely dissatisfied but nothing you related stands out as horrific in nature to me. It appears that better communication could be a key to understanding but that is true in all life lessons

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Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Don
As I say play to the end of the half and the game signalled by the referees whistle. Sometimes referees make a timing error. As he cannot take time away that is already played then he just reports the facts to the competition organisers. Most if not all organisers would ignore this as there is no remedy.
Thankfully the referee here did not compound the error by reducing time in the 2nd half. He was honest in stating that he made a timing error. The team also had the 2nd half to win the game.
On the 2nd one it seems unusual that the referee would overrule his assistant who is placed on the line to decide hairline goals. However each situation will present differently. I am unsure of the circumstances here as to what signal an AR made. Did he signal encroachment when there was no need to? Sometimes the CR is better placed on a smothered ball to the goalkeepers right to determine the position of the ball. I also believe that there are no refs that are going to overrule on a hairline goal without good cause. To do so would be unethical and a referee in a three person crew is not going to incur the dis-satisfaction of an AR in such a situation and possible investigation by the competition organisers. The conversation between the CR and AR is a matter of fact. That conversation can be recounted afterwards.

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Answer provided by Referee Dennis Wickham

The referee appears to have erred in playing a 30 minute first half when it should have been 25 minutes. But, that does not automatically invalidate the match. The referee should include the circumstances in the match report, and the league decides what, if anything, should be done. (My experience is that most youth leagues will not order the match replayed since both teams had an equal opportunity to score in the extra minutes.)

There is no approved signal for the assistant referee to indicate that a goal has been scored during kicks from the penalty mark so it is sometime difficult to understand what happened during the private consultation and what was decided. But, under the laws of the game, any indication from the assistant referee is always a 'recommendation' to the referee, and the referee is ultimately the last word in every decision.

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Answer provided by Referee Gene Nagy


First one:
I understand a referee in a U12 tourney accidentally went five minutes over in the first half and played the second half at regulation 25 minutes. Later hesaid he erred but does not explain why.
Interestingly, your question is did he handle 'it' properly? I suppose 'it' is how he handled the admitted error.
Short answer is yes. He seemed to have made a timing error but did not explain at the time what it was. Actually I have done this more than once. He made a mistake, admitted it and (hopefully) he will explain to the RIGHT AUTHORITY. That's proper.

Second one:
The job of the assistant referee, whose assignment is to stand on the goal line during KRTPM (shootout) is specific. He is asked to signal if the goalie came off his line before the ball moved. He does not award or take away goals. Not his job. He simply advises the referee. You said he ruled a goal was scored. Not possible. Only a referee can do that.
I think the ref did the right thing in that he listened to what his assistant said and then made a decision.
If anything that was not proper it was the assistant's insistence that a goal has been scored.

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