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Question Number: 31831

Law 12 - Fouls and Misconduct 9/27/2017

RE: Developmental Under 10

Andrew of Columbus, OH USA asks...

At a recent game, I awarded an indirect free kick after a goalkeeper handled the ball after it was kicked to her by a teammate. The goalkeeper's coach objected, saying that 'nobody calls that at this level.'

I understand the need to adapt to the needs of the game (age of players, ability, etc.). However, to me, it looked like the defender clearly kicked the ball deliberately into the penalty area, and it was not a deflection, so it was a clear offense. Also, I don't think it's in the best interest of the players not to learn the laws of the game properly.

In your opinion, what is a good rule of thumb for calling (or ignoring) certain technical offenses like this in young age groups?

Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

HI Andrew
the coach was not being a total git even if NOBODY is obviously not right, he is partially correct in the development stages of the game before 11 aside everything applies, they, by they I mean the local associations do alter or bend the LOTG to suit the age groups cognitive abilities . Given this is but a step up from bumble bee soccer I might suggest research local bylaws, talk to the coaches teams before hand about your desire to teach the LOTG and in cases like you just presented perhaps if time allows and the coaches are agreeable you could warn the keeper of the consequences.

Often in the starting stages of youth matches we do a lot of subbing out to explain certain key things then send them right back in. when into the 11 aside stage . If you try to supply useful information to kids in a youth game short sweet to the point and at a proper time otherwise in one ear out the other or a Blank What look and a loss of motor function as they try to decipher and implement what was said often losing the ball or their original train of thought!

FOR what it is worth at the elite levels I still watch in amazement as the referees & players STILL do not grasp an INDFK within ten yards of goal or within the goal area how to set up or what to do.


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Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Andrew
Many under 10 games are played under modified competition rules. For instance the Games that I am involved with have small sided goals, no offside, no *passback* rule, rolling subs, sin bin etc to mention a few. In the US I am aware of the Build Out Line rule where players must retreat beyond a line to allow defenders to play the ball out after the goalkeeper gains possession of the ball
I am unsure if this game was played under modified rules or not and that really is the key. The organisers want the games to be officiated in a certain way and that is what referees should ensure happens. If the there is no back pass rule then it so be it.
So the advice is to ask for a copy of the modified competition rules and enforce those as written down. In the absence of such written rules I would ask other referees as to what is the norm for such games.
If there is a doubt I see no difficulty in engaging the other coach to get his understanding of a rule. In this case if the opposing coach was to confirm that the misnomers back pass rule is not enforced then restart with the ball back with the goalkeeper.

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Answer provided by Referee Gary Voshol

'Well coach, at least one person does.' (Be careful with that, sometimes humor gets you into trouble instead of diffusing things.)

And yes, as my colleagues remarked, some small-sided u-little rules have the 'no passback' rule. Our local select league implemented one. And were so helpful to include, 'And they may do this as many times as desired.' Really, encouraging unfairness? Ugg.

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