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Question Number: 30159

Law 18 - Common Sense 3/1/2016

RE: Competitive Under 19

Scott Hutchinson of Ocala, Florida USA asks...

I was an AR2 on a game this past weekend U18 boys CDL game. In the 1st half I warned two players from the attacking team to stay on the field of play. They continually ran 5-8 yards off the field of play to avoid defenders. I mentioned to AR1 and center referee at half time with the numbers of the two offenders. Center referee kind of blew it off. In second half same offender did it again. This time even running behind AR1 down the touchline to avoid the defense. AR1 raised his flag indicating misconduct. Center referee blew his whistle but did not agree with AR. Coach for offending team went beserk and continued to berate AR1. Center referee restarted with a drop ball, no cautions, no verbal warnings to offending player. In my view of the laws of the game this should be considered misconduct, 'trickery' and the player(s) cautioned. Lastly the center referee did nothing about the coach that continued for at least 10 minutes to berate AR1 and act in an irresponsible manner. I would like input from others on how to handle in the future. It seems that this team was being coached to circumvent the laws of the game.

Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

Hi Scott,
No matter the reasoning, for a CR to stand idly by and allow an AR to be abused is utter nonsense and a decided lack of intestinal fortitude or guts as we like to call them. Failure to protect the ARs is a breech of the CR duties and responsibilities. When you assume CR duties you can implement your version of what is fair and appropriate for such actions

The CR is is large and in charge be he spot on or off. As AR you receive instructions from the CR. You certainly report things undisclosed then get clarity on said action. You had some advice you brought it to the CRs attention and he did what? No comment ? Tell you do not worry ? Center referee restarted with a drop ball, no cautions, no verbal warnings to offending player. seems like he made his feelings known whether or not you agreed.?

The LOTG do allow players through momentum to drift off the field of play to avoid a collision of take on a tackle near a boundary line. No biggie if they are just a wee bit outside the FOP but to disappear in behind the goal or technical area or to go so far as to pose a hazard to fans not really cricket as they say. If they are running outside 5 to 10 yds parallel from the touchline not cool versus 5 to 10 ALONG the touchline just outside no big deal.

Below are excerpts from the LOTG that paint a fairly clear picture but remember the practical application of the LOTG demand you not get wrapped up in looking for things to punish unless they really do have consequences to what is essentially fair. However, there is no excuse and it is always a disgrace when a CR allows an AR to be hung out to dry just to teach him who has the authority. It is not uncommon for CRs to think an AR takes too much responsibility as it is for ARs to think the CR is ignoring them!! Conflict resolution and working as a team takes more than showing up at a match. Time, dedication, practice, training and COMMUNICATION!

I find too many listen with the intent to answer, rather then listen to understand. Opinions are based on many things, not all all correct but all not totally incorrect. Coaches coach they try to play the game based on how the referee is a MATCH condition just like a hard or soft pitch or a sunny or rainy day ,you adapt. You would prove to be a different match condition should the coach find you as the CR.

If a player accidentally crosses one of the boundary lines of the field of play, he
is not deemed to have committed an infringement. Going off the field of play
'MAY'be considered to be part of a playing movement.

Any defending player leaving the field of play for any reason without the
referee's permission shall be considered to be on his own goal line or touch line
for the purposes of offside until the next stoppage in play. If the player leaves
the field of play deliberately, he must be cautioned when the ball is next out of

It is not an offence in itself for a player who is in an offside position to step
off the field of play to show the referee that he is not involved in active play.
However, if the referee considers that he has left the field of play for tactical
reasons and has gained an unfair advantage by re-entering the field of play, the
player must be cautioned for unsporting behaviour. The player needs to ask for
the referee's permission to re-enter the field of play.

A player is cautioned and shown the yellow card if he commits any of the
following offences:
unsporting behaviour
entering or re-entering the field of play without the referee's permission
deliberately leaving the field of play without the referee's permission

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Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Scott
I dont get this running off the field of play? There have been a number of questions recently about players running off the field of play. The question I ask is how this impacts on the game as the laws allow for players to leave the field of play as part of a playing movement. Why is it done and what benefit or impact it has on play? Say it was ignored would it disadvantage the opponents? My feeling is that it doesnt so why treat it as such. Look at it this way. The players that do this cannot play the ball and any astute defender just has to wait for the player to re-enter to mark them so what is the benefit?

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Read other Q & A regarding Law 18 - Common Sense

The following questions were asked as a follow up to the above question...

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