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Question Number: 28983

Law 18 - Common Sense 11/17/2014

RE: rec Under 11

pete of floral park, ny usa asks...

Hi Guys,
In a game I was watching prior to my sons game, an attacker from white team shot on goal from just inside red teams penalty area the shot hit her team mate flush in the face she dropped to the ground at the same time the assistant ref put his flag up to alert the centre ref which i dont think was necessary because the ref was only 15 yards away and saw her go down after the ball hit her face it fell to the feet of her team mate the ref pointed his arms out and said ( play play ) and 2 passes later the white team scored a goal which ultimately won them the game, now at the time the assistant ref put his flag up the red team seemed to stop playing,the ref did talk to the ar after the goal to make sure the flag was for the injured player, so do you think the ref did the right thing or should he have stopped the game when the ar put his flag up, there were no complaints from the red team or their coaches, thanks.

Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

Hmm whether it was wise, the referee gauged the incident as a non serious injury, the referee calling out (play, play) which indicates he is not stopping play thus red players better keep defending.

It is hard to fault those who consider the safety of a player. Looks like the AR was more concerned than the CR? I have seen opposing players, stop playing and take a knee ahead of ANY signal by the referee to force him to stop play! A dangerous precedent given if the referee lets play continue and a goal is scored while your team is literally down on its knees Still!
As you noted the referee saw the same thing. The AR flag was not required, there needed to be a eye contact moment, then a Thumbs up, touch on the face saw it, got it moment! It is true some players do stop playing when they see an AR flag. They should NOT do so, but many do! Sigh!

The referee should have waved the AR off immediately. The referee should be leery of showing an advantage signal as it indicates a foul not a non injury stoppage but learning proper mechanics at the recreational level is difficult to correct or set high standards without mentorship and training. A simple, she's ok keep playing, would be better. Mind you was she ok??

MY colleagues Ref Wickham and Ref Sowa makes an important point, head injuries are almost an immediate stop play situation ! Now a ball glancing off the side of face or head can be less intrusive then a Liverpool kiss but full face, neck and head snap, busted nose, glasses etc.. all could occur with a ball to the face. It would not be at all unwise to have stopped play immediately!

I hold the opinion to ask the player, Are you ok? Can you continue? to gauge their cognitive status is also a decent approach. Chances are the parent of the kid hit in the face wants to skin the referee alive while the team she plays for quite happy he waited a few seconds given the result.> Cheers

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Answer provided by Referee Dennis Wickham

IMO, the referee used extremely poor judgment. In a kids game, the safety of the players is far more important than whether a goal scoring opportunity exists.

But, when any player -at any level - sustains a head injury, the referee should immediately stop play. there is no such thing as a minor head injury. They should stop it in an MLS match; they should stop it in a U19 competitive match; and they should stop it in a u11 recreational match.

Players have two legs and two arms, but only one brain. We need to protect it.

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Answer provided by Referee James Sowa


This is always a tough question and to some extent depends on the level of play. If the referee believes a player has suffered a head injury, then the game should be stopped immediately. In this case, the referee judged (right or wrong) that this was not a reason to stop the game. If I were the referee in a U11 game, I probably would have stopped it immediately.

As to the AR, this is one of the first things kids are told. Play to the whistle! The white team kept playing and was rewarded with a goal. Hopefully the poor girl who was hit in the face was alright.

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