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Question Number: 29676

Law 18 - Common Sense 9/8/2015

RE: Amateur Adult

George of Parangarecutirimicuaro, CA Sacratomato asks...

Over the weekend I witnessed a play that made me happy I was not refereeing at the time. I would like to hear from the panel just in case I ever see it again.

In a championship game, Team A scores to tie the game. The majority of the players rushed to celebrate with the scorer. The celebration lasted a little too long when compared to the average celebration IMO. Team B calmly lines up for the kickoff. As players from Team A started working their way back, once 'the seventh player' crossed over the midway line but before the entire team had crossed the line, Team B kicked off immediately. On the second touch, Team B shot and scored a goal while the Goalie for Team A was making his way back to his goal (he had been celebrating too) and was unaware the shot was coming. The goal was allowed and pandemonium ensued. The referee's explanation was that Team A should not have wasted too much time celebrating and that once a team has 7 players, that the kicking team did not have to wait for the entire team to work their way back to their side of the field. Your thoughts?

Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

Hi George,
Simply wrong, a VERY, VERY, poor choice by the referee! One that I feel CERTAIN you would not make! Note even the LOTG state
"Referees are expected to act in a preventative manner and to exercise common sense in dealing with the celebration of a goal!:
The referee has exceeded his authority and has not understood his role as a neutral observer to restart with out the players returning and being within their own half.

Time can be added, with warnings to resume play or face repercussions. There is certainly justification to awarding a caution and showing a yellow card to those that celebrate excessively if they refuse to heed a referee who is seeking to restart ! However, the LOTG provide, that time can be added, with warnings to resume play or face repercussions. Yet after an exciting well deserved goal at this stage such things are better handled by a referee with a decent understanding of situational awareness.

To change the dynamics of an entire match on trying to prove a point that hurry up or else I will punish you by allowing an incorrect restart, creating a despicable goal, then placing the blame on the celebrators, is the mark of a referee who fails to grasp his duty to the game and to the players. After a goal is scored, the resulting kick off should be a whistled restart once the players from both teams are properly aligned and are in a position to resume normal play.

Whether or not the match could be successfully protested will rest on the ROC or league /association the teams are affiliated with. Needless controversy and a supply of referee toothpaste out of the bottle that simply is messy and cannot be undone! I agree with my colleagues the video shown after the keeper scored on the PK the restart showed the referee had a dismal understanding of fair play, no matter the LOTG were not infringed, the spirit was butchered.

In the match you witnessed if as a referee you feel they were being tardy or not heeding your commands to, "Lets get it moving boys!" Then a simple, "Who wants one of these? and hold a yellow card in the palm of an exposed hand for delaying the restart or excessive celebrations? Now lets move it! Chances are you can interrupt their fog of giddiness long enough to reel them in back to their pitch. I would rather you caution a player and force them to listen then to restart in such a terrible manner! But in my 40 plus years I have never had to resort to a team celebrating to the point where by a simple please or request or forceful command they are back in place where they belong to restart as per the LOTG.

I will say I have warned a coach in contempt for failing to heed my request to restart the 2nd half after the full break time plus was exceeded when they held the restart and informed I would caution the captain, he was playing striker, for not taking the FOP to restart. This was a tournament and time and field allocations were under intense pressure to get the matches done and over with so adding time was not as easy as it should have been.

You should not punish a team for an irritating coach or a individual player who gets your goat. You simply respond with the LOTG and the disciplinary options available. It is the reason why, when following proper substitution policies, we wait till they are in a position of relevance before we whistle play in. Fair is fair, again if those players wish to engage in unfair practises, then punish them for it, not the match itself!

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Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi George
The seventh player ruling is not part of the Laws in respect of restarts. It only applies as to whether a game can continue or not. So the referee got it incorrect here Im afraid
In this instance the referee should have waited until the 11th player crossed back into his own half and then play could have been restarted correctly as per Law 8 which requires all players to be their respective halves.
I suspect the referee was miffed at the excessive celebrations which included the goalkeeper probably running 80+ yards to get involved. The correct way would have been to add on the appropriate lost time and if a player was guilty of excessive celebrations then he could be cautioned.
Have a look at this video
The goalkeeper scores and then with all Red players back in their own half the referee signals for play to restart which results in a goal direct from the kick off. It could not have happened had even one player remained in the opponents half. Indeed some teams deliberately delay the restart by one to two players being tardy on the return for this very reason.

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Answer provided by Referee Jason Wright

Oh dear!!

LOTG require ALL players to be in their own half of the field at the kickoff. It's black and white. The referee has made a major error in law that has decided the match. Not a good situation. The time wasting should have been dealt with other ways - whistle use to get the players moving, booking the main player involved with the delay as a last resort.

As my colleagues have stated, it is possible, under the Laws, to allow the kickoff the moment all players are in their own half. Personally, I think this is really bad practice. Just because the referee can do it, doesn't mean he should, and while it may be within the laws of the game I believe it firmly goes against the spirit of the game. Wait until the players are more or less in position - if they're taking a while or it's the dying seconds you can get it going a bit quicker, but as an assessor I would take a dim view of a referee who has restarted play the moment the players are in their own half.

A few cases similer to the one Ref McHugh have posted have made the rounds online lately (such as one where a youth team is celebratin in their own half). The referee should make all efforts to resume play in the conventional fashion (ie, players prepared for the kickoff). This avoids controversy and avoids accusations of the referee unduly influencing the match result through a 'gotcha' call. However, once the referee has made such efforts he may have no choice but to restart the match even if they're not 'ready' (as they're not actually delaying it under the laws).

This is very, very different to a free kick where referees shouldn't wait for the defending team to get 'ready', because the free kick is about the attacking team and the initial possession / opportunity, not about equalising the opportunity between the 2 teams. Case in point, I personally think that the goal in Ref McHugh's clip, while legal, was extremely unfair and quite poor practice from the referee.

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Answer provided by Referee Gary Voshol

As my colleagues point out, all players must be in their respective halves for a kickoff.

In addition, it appears from your description that Team B restarted without waiting for a whistle from the referee. A kickoff is one of the starts that requires a whistle - for all kickoffs, not just those at the beginning of the halves.

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