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Question Number: 31503

Law 5 - The Referee 5/1/2017

RE: Competitive Adult

Chuck of Phoenix, Az Usa asks...

Strange decision by the ref in my adult game today. With my team ahead 3-2 in the closing minutes of the game, a shot was taken by the opposing team. Not a particularly well taken shot. It was off target and rolling slowly. Our goal keeper came off his line to get it, but decided to see it out over the goal line. He could have scooped it up quite easily, but opted instead to let it go out. As soon as it crossed the goal line our keeper picked it up walked to the 6 yard line and set it for a goal kick. The ref then showed him a yellow for delaying the game. Dombfounded, our keeper argued that he did not delay retrieving the ball or setting it for the goal kick. The referee agreed. His justification for the card was that the keeper could have picked up the ball before it went out and thereby delaying the game. His comment was that he was the ref and he could do what he wants. I have never seen or heard of such a thing. Your thoughts?

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Chuck
Thanks for the question.
As described there was no obvious delaying the restart of play and the goalkeeper was perfectly entitled to allow the ball go out of play. Over the years I have seen plenty of goalkeepers try to keep the ball in play and mess up resulting in a corner.
Another example of this is kicking the ball out of play. I have seen many occasions of players putting the ball in the next county or Row Z for an opponents throw in. Using the same logic that player should be a caution for DTROP??
So as described it is a harsh decision. If the referee felt that there was genuine tardiness on behalf of a player the referee should warn the player to hurry up first. Further tardiness / delay would be followed up with a card. The referee also has the power to add on for time lost.
As regards the referee doing what he wants that is a disappointing comment. The referee is there to enforce the laws not act in a manner that is bellicose. I suppose if he was really contrarian he could have issued a second caution for dissent and sent the goalkeeper off!!
As my good friend and colleague Referee Dawson says, his game, his decision, his reputation.

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Answer provided by Referee Gary Voshol

As long as the ball is in play, there is no delay. The ref should re-read the Laws. The caution is for delaying the restart of play. If the ball is still in play, there is no restart that could be delayed.

If the other team didn't like what your keeper was doing, they are free to rush in and pressure him to play the ball faster.

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Answer provided by Referee Jason Wright

Hi Chuck,
Certainly a strange decision - and a rather concerning one!!
If the ball is in play, players are most certainly not obligated to take a certain action such as taking possession of the ball. In fact, had the ball stopped right at the line the keeper could have stood there twiddling his thumbs until an opponent challenged (and you often see keepers doing just this!).

There's just no possible scope for a card here at all. If it's as you described then it's completely wrong - whether the keeper COULD have picked up the ball is completely irrelevant. He's entitled to not do so.

Delaying the restart of play can only occur when the ball is out of play. While the ball is in play, players are entitled to slow play down to let the clock run, as this keeper did.

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Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

HI Chuck,
my thoughts mirror your own!
That referee is apparently dancing to different drummer!! Sigh
A referee is a NEUTRAL official he can not alter the LOTG to suit his version of fairplay There is ZERO credibility to justify a delaying the match to issue a caution for simply shepparding the ball out. That is simply effective use of time management, it is NOT wasting time. Players can USE up time on the FOP as they wish if the opposition fails to challenge, or forces their hand. You are NOT delaying the match while it is ON GOING! The referee might want him to hurry the kick up but as he said nothing and the fact he could add time the caution was just silly! I can only hope you do not get to witness it again and that some information trickle down the ranks to find the match official to correct the aberrant behaviour! lol
His match His decision but His reputation took a hit here unfortunately. Try to ensure the correct information is unshed along the pipelines to those in charge so knowledge is shared.

I recall as an AR a long ball into the opposition half a PIOP followed but saw the keeper was in easy reach so stopped and backed off waiting for the punt out. The keeper his team ahead by a goal aware that time was nearing completion and fully aware the opponent was a PIOP simply left the ball on the ground well inside his PA about 14 yards to the left of goal where it rolled to a stop in a pit of a puddle . The keeper simply stood there beside the ball and waited. This went on for several seconds with some complaining about getting on with it. Finally the PIOP who had retreated decides to challenge and runs forward being watched by the keeper ball just as I had raised my flag as the offside restriction was still in place I was worried about the collision on the slippery rain drenched field. The PIOP complained about the offside call claiming he could not be offside. All the while a constant stream of complaining from the team about delay of game and there could not be an offside as the keeper had the ball under control, unaware that UNTIL the keeper actually touched the ball their PIOP was still restricted. So the keeper had effectively used up time by simply being aware of the LOTG. The opposition because they were not aware and then complained to the point where my CR cautioned for dissent used up twice again as much time .

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