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Question Number: 29041

Law 12 - Fouls and Misconduct 12/8/2014

RE: Intermediate Under 13

Phil of Tarzana, CA United States asks...

This question is a follow up to question 29036

I have a follow-up question on something Ref McHugh said. Suppose A1 (attacker) is 5 yards from the center of the goal with only the GK near. GK comes out & trips A1, but the ball goes to A2, say 10 yards away. You play advantage & A2 misses the shot. Does this mean that GK cannot be dismissed for DOGSO? Or what if A2 slips immediately & advantage doesn't materialize. Can you then go back & dismiss for DOGSO (as well as awarding a penalty kick)? From what Ref McHugh said, I'm inferring that you can't use DOGSO in the 2nd example because you decided that the goal scoring opportunity wasn't denied.

Thanks in advance,

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Phil
This is very much in the opinion of the referee. Where advantage has been played and fully realised then the referee does not go back to the original foul. If the game is not stopped for the foul then there cannot be a DOGSO.
The advice is to be wary of playing advantage inside the penalty area. The better option is to delay the whistle somewhat with a wait and see and then go back if it does not develop.
I recall a situation a few season ago where two attacking players were through on goal. The goalkeeper tripped the A1 attacker just as he was going past him on the edge of the 18 and the ball went to A2. It was certainly a foul and Im unsure if the ball was meant for A2 by A1 but it could have been. I played advantage and anyway A2 moved the ball on towards goal, shot with his left foot at an open goal and it went wide of the post. Interestingly no one looked for the penalty kick and A2 held his head after such a poor mistake. I restarted with a goal kick.
I have also awarded penalty kicks in situations were there was questionable advantage. Had, in the example cited, the ball went so far wide that the angle was very difficult then there was an unlikely advantage and the best decision is the penalty kick.
I also recall awarding a penalty kick early for deliberate handling and a DOGSO H to then see an attacker come quickly on to the ball from behind me to find the goal with his shot. I had no option but to go with the penalty and the sending off. And guess what? The PK was missed.
So my advice is to be cautious with advantage in goal scoring opportunities. By all means allow the opportunity for the goal to be scored yet be mindful that the better advantage may be the penalty kick or that the advantage may not be there in the 1st place or by a short delay the best decision for the game can be arrived at.

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Answer provided by Referee Gene Nagy


So you are saying that an attacker is in the goal area, no defenders around except for the goalie and the attacker is TRIPPED by the goalie but the referee plays advantage. Since he was 5 yards from goal and the ball traveled 10 yards, the ball had to have traveled AWAY from the goal. (IF it traveled towards the goal, it would have had to go in...)
Well, it is clearly a mistake to play advantage in this situation. There is no advantage! However, let's assume this very bad mistake was indeed made and the referee has an 'established' advantage play giving the A2 a chance to score a goal. Well, the referee has dug his own grave and there is no way he can revisit the DOGSO that clearly happened but his choice was advantage.
This is how advantage works in real life: The ref sees a foul but waits to see what develops and I mean at the very most 3 seconds. Let's say the attackers retain possession and can continue a meaningful attack, all within a very short time. The ref verbally says: 'Play on!' and with both hands indicates it. Remember, at this point the attackers have retained possession (did not slip etc.) and are indeed attacking. This is what I call an established advantage and what happens from that point on is the next phase of play and the foul itself is not penalized.
In this instance, by establishing an advantage play, the foul then is forgotten and play continues.
What the referee can do is to deal with misconduct in the next stoppage of play. But what he cannot do is revisit DOGSO. One of the criteria of DOGSO is that the attacker was fouled 'punishable by a free kick or a penalty kick'. The advantage given by the ref basically said I will NOT punish this foul by a PK so DOGSO is off the table; the ref took away the punishable part.
The only place advantage should be given is in the middle third of the field. It is extremely rare that if an attacker is fouled anywhere near the penalty area that there would an advantage to play on, let alone in the goal area itself.

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Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

HI Phil,
inside the penalty area I prefer the term 'Eat the whistle to await an outcome' rather than use' advantage' as in merely letting the attack continue.
When we delay a whistle to await an outcome, it could allow for those watching and screaming for the obvious foul as if you are blind for not blowing immediately, erroneously concluding that you are reacting to the screaming rather than the foul itself! It is always difficult to teach a neutral referee to stay calm and wait for the dust to settle on transgressions that generate so much emotional energy by those invested in a result. A referee is ONLY interested in arriving at a FAIR decision

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

The referee may play advantage whenever an infringement or offence occurs.
The referee should consider the following circumstances in deciding whether to apply the advantage or stop play:
• the severity of the offence: if the infringement warrants an expulsion, the referee must stop play and send off the player unless there is a subsequent opportunity to score a goal
• the position where the offence was committed: the closer to the opponent’s goal, the more effective it can be
• the chances of an immediate, promising attack
• the atmosphere of the match

The decision to penalise the original offence must be taken within a few seconds.

If the offence warrants a caution, it must be issued at the next stoppage. However, unless there is a clear advantage, it is recommended that the referee stops play and cautions the player immediately. If the caution is NOT issued at the next stoppage, it cannot be shown later.

Law 5 permits the use of advantage on ANY infraction or infringement during active play. The LOTG indicate if the advantage is realized, we are not permitted to bring the ball back for the free kick but can caution or send off at the next stoppage for the misconduct. The LOTG allow the referee to go back to the point of the foul for the restart and caution or send off for an advantage that does not materialize! If you think on it advantage is not just a single construct, it is an awareness. When you consider, doubtful, trifling, wait and see , these are all FORMS of advantage. What is not said in the LOTG is ITOOTR advantage must be defined by the outcome as fairer than if it was not used at all. The referee has the authority to allow or stop play based on the need to do if those who transgress do not interfere with play. If you signal and yell it out then you have proclaimed to all those playing what has transpired was insufficient for you to stop play at this time because in YOUR OPINION the chance to continue the attack, the opportunity to score is BETTER than if you stopped play. EVEN if it is not!

These two separate DOGSO red card send off offenses CAN NOT always be held to the same standard of advantage as is the difference between possible and certainty:
any FOUL where a player has yet to shoot
• denying an obvious goalscoring opportunity to an opponent moving towards the player’s goal by an offence punishable by a free kick or a penalty kick
a Deliberate Handling where the ball is actually denied entry into goal
• denying the opposing team a goal or an obvious goalscoring opportunity by deliberately handling the ball (this does not apply to a goalkeeper within his own penalty area)
A player is sent off, however, if he prevents a goal or an obvious goalscoring opportunity by deliberately handling the ball. This punishment arises not from the act of the player deliberately handling the ball but from the unacceptable and unfair intervention that prevented a goal being scored.

Every situation where an opponent cheats to deny a goal or an opportunity for a goal or just to stop an attack has individual components attached that a wise referee will reflect upon before arriving at a final decision. As I have previously stated, a delayed whistle has more to do with waiting for a favourable outcome than a true blue advantage with arm signal and yelling out play on! The reasoning is it allows a referee 'TIME' and 'OPTIONS 'to consider elements of fair play in a less defined manner where he can in fact expand his opinion on a fact of play! Actions that are contrary to the FIFA's fair play code which states: 'Winning is without value if victory has been achieved unfairly or dishonestly.

Take a 2010 WC example and we will spin it into your situation

Uruguayan striker Luis Suarez deliberate handling against Ghana.
Suarez was given a straight red card for saving a goal bound-header on the goal line.
Ghana missed the resulting penalty and Uruguay went through to the semi-final after winning a shoot-out.

Now imagine that ball, AFTER the Deliberate Handling by Saurez, which CLEARLY denied a goal, not just the opportunity but a CERTAINTY!
Now imagine if the referee was to scream out and clearly signal ADVANTAGE! PLAY ON! Because all who just witnessed the blatant cheating are somewhat stunned and the ball is rolling over to lie at the feet of an onside wide open Ghanaian striker who has a slam dunk wide open sitter but being over anxious he struck the woodwork and the ball came back into play? There are those who will steadfastly maintain the referee, because he unwisely applied advantage, has no recourse but to let play continue. I like to call those people, wrong!

If we examine the credibility of the event the initial DH by Suarez DENIED the goal, not the opportunity, but the ACTUAL GOAL, so my ADVANTAGE criteria just escalated from opportunity to certainty. In my opinion, unless the striker deposits the ball into the goal I will not recognize the advantage as realized. To do so means (I could not send Suarez off, at best I could only caution which means that Ghana would not get to play the remainder of the match with an extra player and would not get the PK that only MIGHT restore the goal that was clearly taken away!!

The fact is our whistle delay is the EVALUATION period by which the referee ENSURES any reasonable or possible opportunity to address injustice has in fact been met. We do what the LOTG requires because not only do we know it is our only option often because it is in fact the fairest option. In our make-believe scenario we are 100% certain that first attempt WOULD have scored if not for the deliberate handling intervention, a CLEAR denial and a PK and the player is sent off thus the opposition has a man advantage. NOW that is advantageous!

ALWAYS, well always, is kind of like never in some regard, we should not limit possible options in unusual circumstances. Look carefully at the subtle difference behind the denial of an attacking option, the denial of an opportunity to score or an actual denial of a goal. Advantageous expectations are very different on all three! The percentile 100% of chance devalues as distance and angles increase, related pressure by oncoming defenders, state of mind, balance, ball running away, on the wrong foot all change the obvious opportunity into only a chance at a goal, a very different option then a guarantee to be sure, but send offs and pks and free kicks are advantageousness to the team receiving the benefit and of course a resulting goal by far the best. Be sure you know what you are taking away as much as you think you are giving!


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Answer provided by Referee Dennis Wickham

Advantage for a foul inside the penalty area that would result in a penalty kick is treated differently than elsewhere on the field.

The referee should not make any signal, but should watch and see. The objective of the advantage is 'not to protect possession and the ability to maintain an advantageous attack, but instead to protect the possibility of scoring a goal.' (USSF Advice To Referees 5.6). If the goal is not scored, the original foul is called and a penalty kick awarded. (And, in your example, the player would be sent off.)

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