Soccer Referee Resources
Ask a Question
Recent Questions

RSS FEED Subscribe Now!

Q&A Quick Search
The Field of Play
The Ball
The Players
The Players Equipment
The Referee
The Other Match Officials
The Duration of the Match
The Start and Restart of Play
The Ball In and Out of Play
Fouls and Misconduct
Free Kicks
Penalty kick
Throw In
Goal Kick
Corner Kick

Common Sense
Kicks - Penalty Mark
The Technical Area
The Fourth Official
Attitude and Control
League Specific
High School

Common Acronyms
Meet The Ref
Contact AskTheRef
Help Wanted
About AskTheRef
Panel Login

Question Number: 30567

Law 12 - Fouls and Misconduct 7/4/2016

RE: Rec Adult

Conrad of Melbourne, Victoria Australia asks...

Hi guys, love the website, extraordinarily helpful in understanding the laws. I had an interesting question arising from a recent game. Two ladies' teams, last ten minutes. I am suddenly alerted to an off ball incident by the shouts of two opposing players, who are standing face to face screaming angrily at each other. Blowing my whistle I run up and tell them both to cool down and let it go. It has been a generally good tempered game and I hope a warning will be enough. Both players turn away and it seems to have subsided. Then one of the two turns back and starts screaming again. I caution her for Dissent and restart with an IFK.

At the end of the game, a very experienced referee, waiting to officiate on the following game, remarked that an IFK was a wrong restart as I had stopped the game by whistling, and should have restarted with whatever Direct Free Kick I meant to give before the Dissent. I realised only then that I had made an error... of course he was totally correct that I could not change the restart. The problem was, I had not seen the original clash, the original shouting match was 50-50 and with club ARs could not consult about what might have occurred previously.

This seems to indicate that I needed to restart with a Dropped Ball. This would have been a difficult decision to sell. My referee friend felt I needed to choose which way to give a DFK and go with that. But since I saw nothing prior to the Dissent to split the two ladies, that feels rather dishonest. Or finally, since I had no idea of what I would do as I approached them, and was whistling to prevent an escalation, could I stick with IFK?

I realise this is minor, and hardly game changing, but I would appreciate your thoughts.

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Conrad
Thankks for the question.
Both of you were incorrect. The experienced referee no doubt was of the opinion that a decision should be made on one side and that is the reason to restart with a DFK. However as you were being preventative of it escalating in what you did I suspect he may have waited a second or so until he saw a foul to stop the game for and that is then the restart.
I assume that you stopped play for the incident which did not have a specific offence other than shouting and squaring up and no other reason. So if you stopped play for that without a specific incident to do so other than the shouting then the only restart is a dropped ball from where the ball was when play was stopped. Both player were equally involved in that shouting and squaring up. If there was no caution what would have happened? Or for that matter both were cautioned. Certainly no free kick which then leaves a dropped ball.
Now the caution that was given happened after play was stopped so that was misconduct and that caution would not have been the reason play was stopped so there was no restart connected with that.
As regards selling the restart the way that should be done would be to drop the ball where play was stopped and distance that restart from the location of the altercation. That will look like you are going back to where play was after dealing with an incident.
BTW the caution should have been for unsporting behaviour not dissent

Read other questions answered by Referee Joe McHugh

View Referee Joe McHugh profile

Answer provided by Referee Jason Wright

Hi Conrad,
Glad you're enjoying the site!
If you're stopping play for an off the ball incident and not an offence, the correct restart is a drop ball.
To clarify, if you turned and saw one pushing the other, that's a DFK. Screaming at each other's face, not specifically breaking any laws falls into the 'not an offence category'.
If you stopped play because you decided to caution one, then that falls under the stopping play for any other reason to issue a caution or send off a player. In that case, it's a restart to the opposing team from where the offence occurred.

If there's a simultaneous offence of equal severity - ie you're cautioning both players for the same thing - then again, the restart is a drop ball from where the ball was.

In your scenario, you stopped play, not to issue a caution, but to prevent from escalating. Thus, the restart is a drop ball. The fact that you then decided to issue a caution doesn't change that.

Your concern was about selling the restart - if you didn't have the caution, who were you going to give he free kick to?

I believe that referees often cause problems for themselves by making the wrong decision thinking it's easier to sell. Just make the right decision and deal with the consequences. Otherwise, how do you sell a free kick when both players were doing the same thing? That's unfair to one team.

If asked, both players were doing the same thing when you stopped play. That's the reasoning. Players will accept it or they won't. No different to if you award a free kick - hard to sell to one team, so players will accept it or they won't. At least if you're strong on making the right decision you know that you haven't contributed to problems through making the incorrect decision.

Read other questions answered by Referee Jason Wright

View Referee Jason Wright profile

Ask a Follow Up Question to Q# 30567
Read other Q & A regarding Law 12 - Fouls and Misconduct

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

See Question: 30569

Soccer Referee Extras

Did you Ask the Ref? Find your answer here.

Enter Question Number

If you received a response regarding a submitted question enter your question number above to find the answer

Offside Question?

Offside Explained by Chuck Fleischer & Richard Dawson, Former & Current Editor of AskTheRef

This web site and the answers to these questions are not sanctioned by or affiliated with any governing body of soccer. The opinions expressed on this site should not be considered official interpretations of the Laws of the Game and are merely opinions of AskTheRef and our panel members. If you need an official ruling you should contact your state or local representative through your club or league. On AskTheRef your questions are answered by a panel of licensed referees. See Meet The Ref for details about our panel members.