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Question Number: 31184

Law 5 - The Referee 1/16/2017

RE: Competitive Under 19

Dave Bermingham of Herndon, Virginia USA asks...

This question is a follow up to question 31178

After reading revised wording in Law 5, I found the following question on my recertification exam: (T/F) The referee can show the red card or yellow card only after the match has begun. Knowing the Law says the referee 'has the power to show yellow or red cards from entering the field of play at the start of the match until after the match has ended, including during the half-time interval, extra time and kicks from the penalty mark', I marked this as False. I was surprised to find the 'correct' answer was supposed to be true and the USSF Instructor was very clear on the point that USSF limited the showing of cards to after the match has started (kickoff). Is this an actual USSF technical interpretation, an example of new interpretations of the law taking a while to filter down through the State Directors of Instruction, or just an error in the test?

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Cards are used to communicate disciplinary decisions taken on the field of play. For that reason cards are not shown OFF the field of play.
The new wording clarifies that the referee may only use red and yellow cards from entering the field of play at the start of the match while from the inspection of the field of play onwards the referee has the authority to *send off* player/s. Non-sending-off offences will be reported so yellow cards cannot be issued prior to the match or carried into the match.

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Answer provided by Referee Peter Grove

Hi Dave,
I would say you are technically correct and the USSF instructor you spoke to is wrong. The law is exactly as you stated and it means that although we're only talking about a small time window (a couple of minutes at most) from the time the referee enters the field at the beginning of the game until the game actually kicks off, the referee does have the authority to issue cards during this period, which to be absolutely literal and technical, does come before the game kicks off.

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