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Question Number: 32114

Other 12/18/2017

RE: Other Adult

Aaron of Houston, TX USA asks...

Out of personal preference and your vast experience as soccer referees, what rules in the Laws of the Game (not HS/college) would you like to be added/changed/removed?

Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

Hi Aaron,
Merry Christmas to you and family
The LOTG develop over the years based on the needs of the game and the demands of those playing as well as watching. When they instituted the offside concept to prevent standing around in front of the opposition keeper, (I would say no call on offside unless the actual physical touch of the ball occurs (interferes with play) or an actual obstruction challenge affects an opponent's ability to participate as in getting to or play the ball (interferes with an opponent). Or when they eradicated the tedious session of back passing to the keeper when he COULD use his hands the idea was always to make the game more credible and interesting and tactically evolving. The evolution of free kicks now being attributed to events OUTSIDE the FOP and to non players is one based of the FAIRNESS of righting the UNFAIR intervention more than an adherence to historical protocols.

I approve of the sin bin concept where a player receiving a caution is given a 10 minute time out particularly at the youth levels. Then up the count to three cautions before the red card UNLESS two are reckless, before ejection as the first two cautions force a twenty minute shortage? I always thought a red card for excessive goal celebration or delaying a restart or some irritation of dissent as a 2nd caution was too impacting on the match. It is WHY referees are reluctant because they do not want to be responsible for sending off players for mandatory but trivial infractions.

I am also in favour if a cautionable tackle INJURES a player requiring treatment rather than forcing them to play short the culprit responsible is also removed until the return of the injured party or a temporary sub is allowed to replace the injured party

I think the drop ball for injury restarts could be awarded to occur to the team with CLEAR possession either in the PA or center circle uncontested .

If a PK is awarded and made there is no red card for DOGSOH only the caution. I am already on record as stating INDFK for deliberate handling offences unless blatant Saurez style denials of goal.

No more retries of throw ins either its good to go or the other team takes over!


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Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Aaron
If I could change the Laws I would introduce the following
1. Law 11 is the most asked question on the site and also the single biggest impediment to attacking soccer. There are now too many goals chalked off / attacking play stopped for technical offside. My amendment to Law 11 is that offside should only apply as the defending team is outbound with the ball cleared. Once the defending team offside line starts to retreat backwards towards it own goal offside should not apply.
the whole principle behind offside was to prevent 'sneaking' / 'mooching' which was attackers not retreating back with its team yet staying inside the penalty area away from play and their team . A player who passes a ball two yards to a player slightly behind the offside line is IMO not 'off his side' yet very much part of his teams play. That was never the intention of the Law which now has media drawing imaginary lines showing a players leg in an offside position.!!
2. Second one is the concept of *Use it or lose it*. If a team is tardy with a restart rather than using a caution to sanction the player the ball is turned over. Case in point is a throw in. If a player just delays putting the ball in or going to get the ball then the ball is turned over to the opponents. I guarantee there would be less time taken on restarts
3. I would introduce a different timing method for Pro games which would be a count down game clock that stops at the request of the referee. Rugby uses it and there is rarely any debate about timing. Also play can only be finished with the ball out of play.
4. I would allow treatment of player on the field of play in areas that have no effect on play. At the moment there is too much laying down injured so that the game can be stopped and a substitution is readied. I would also only not allow immediate substitutions but only after 5 minutes has elapsed after the substitution request or immediately after a caution / sending off. Bringing a sub on in added time is a cynical use of the process to run the clock down and take momentum out of the game.
5. I would bring back the old obstruction Law as an IDFK. I see too much of players running into opponents who do very little other than stand there. It is impeding with contact which was at a time an IDFK not the DFK it is now.
6. I would have two handball offences. One is a DFK / Penalty kick for deliberate handling and an IDFK for a technical handball. The difference is where the player manipulates the ball using the hand DFK and the other is where the ball hits the players arm IDFK.

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Answer provided by Referee Peter Grove

Hi Aaron,
There are a couple of changes I would make - one is to reverse the recent change in the position of the free kick for offside offences. I think that making it the position where the player becomes involved in active play was an unnecessary change. Offside for me, is an offence primarily to do with a payer gaining an unfair advantage while attacking the opponent's goal and to have a situation where a free kick for offside can be taken at a position way back inside the player's own half - even on their own goal line theoretically, does not seem to reflect the overall 'spirit' of the offside law.

The IFAB have said that they made this change for consistency with other offences but I don't think this argument holds up. Offside is not like other offences. No other offence involves a player being involved in two separate elements of play at two different locations on the field and at two different times. So as far as I am concerned, since offside is not like other offences, I don't see that it needs to be consistent with them. I am reminded of a quotation by Ralph Waldo Emerson, ''A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds,'' because for me, this is a foolish consistency and serves no useful purpose.

Another thing I would like to change is the law on shielding the ball which allows for the practice know as 'shepherding the ball out of play.' This strikes me as an overly negative tactic and one that we should be trying to discourage. Sometimes a defender will track the ball for ten or fifteen yards, making absolutely no attempt to play it while at the same time, moving side to side to block the opponent who is trying to reach the ball to continue attacking play. I think this is stretching the idea of legitimate shielding of the ball to its absolute limits, if not beyond them and should not be allowed.

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