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Question Number: 32026

League Specific 11/15/2017

RE: Intermediate Under 14

Phil of Tarzana, CA United States asks...

This question is a follow up to question 32020

Although the referee can't order a team to comply, a ref can suggest an outcome as fair play, especially with younger players. You can usually find a player who agrees to comply (i.e. not contest the ball) & notify the other team. If someone violates it, it becomes an IFK.

At younger ages, I would 'forget' to issue a caution, however.

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Phil
There are many things that can be done at Underage as it should not be ultra competitive and it is a learning experience. At Underage the challenge is rarely with managing the players yet with the coaches and parents.

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Answer provided by Referee Peter Grove

Hi Phil,
I believe in showing a fair amount of flexibility in dealing with youth games, especially in the areas where referee judgement is a significant factor - such as taking the players' experience and skill level into account when deciding whether a challenge is careless etc.

I also agree with using the game as a learning experience for younger players. I am not so keen on doing something which could be viewed as contrary to the Laws, such as awarding an indirect free kick for unsporting behaviour (which is the only reason I can see for giving one here) without issuing a caution.

One alternative that I have seen suggested if you really want to stop play, is that a referee could opine that the ball was actually not dropped at exactly the correct location and have it retaken. Although that involves a quite large 'legal fiction' it could be argued that it would still come under the category of a referee's judgement call. This is not something that I particularly care for as a solution but I think it's preferable to something that could be seen as technically incorrect.

For me though, the best way to proceed, if trying to teach the principle of a 'fair play restart' to such young players is that if having suggested a fair way to proceed, the players do not, or are not able to carry it out correctly, is just to let play continue. You have made an effort to 'educate' the players but it hasn't worked and for me, it is not worth going any further with it, especially for something that is not required by the Laws of the Game and some might say is even against the instruction that referees should not decide the outcome of a dropped ball. I don't personally have a problem with a referee making a suggestion but if the players (at whatever age) do not go along, I can't really see a firm basis in Law for further intervention - other than seeing it as unsporting behaviour requiring a caution (and I would agree with the idea that this would be very harsh for an inexperienced youth player).

In younger age games that are often not ultra-competitive it is unlikely to make a big difference to the game anyway. If of course, a player were to break the law by 'scoring' from a dropped ball without another player touching it, the goal would not be allowed.

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