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Question Number: 32289

Law 12 - Fouls and Misconduct 3/8/2018

RE: High School High School

nick rupp of greenville, nc usa asks...

Team A fouls a player from Team B and Team A's player proceeds to fall to the ground. Team B's player maintains possession of the ball at midfield and the referee with both hands points in the direction of the goal that Team B is attacking 'play the advantage'. The Team B player sends a long kick up the field in an attempt to find a teammate going to goal, and after one hop the goalie of Team A makes the save. Then the referee blows the whistle and signals a direct kick awarded to Team B from midfield. Is this the correct call?

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Nick
What you have described here is the use of advantage by a referee .
Advantage is a discretionary judgment which allows an official to permit play to continue rather than stopping play to administer the foul. This concept is based on the premise that the foul did not put the offended team at a disadvantage or the foul, if called, may take away a favorable opportunity for the offended team. The foul may be subsequently called if the advantage does not materialize.
So in your example the referee decided that the advantage did not materialize so he brought play back to the foul. Now generally there is a time limit on bringing play back of up to 4/5 seconds or that once advantage has been realised then play continues.
As described I would say that the referee was entitled to do what he did which was to bring play back to the foul. A referee is always unsure of what a player is going to do on an advantage call so many times when it has to be brought back there may not have been an advantage there in the first place. Having said it is difficult to stop play when something materializes which is a possible advantage. Had a forward got on the long pass the attacking team would have been upset had advantage not been tried.

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Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

HI Nick,
the referee has the discretion to use the concept of advantage when a foul occurs, to wait and see if the team attacking can be better served by allowing play to continue then stopping play to award the free kick.. If there was additional misconduct as in a card was to be shown it can be delayed until the next stoppage!

In the 5 seconds of evaluation the referee will adjudge whether or not the advantage was achieved. Given the ball possession was lost and the opposition regained control the referee decided that advantage was NOT achieved. As the referee has the authority to make such decision the DFK back at the location of the foul is still plausible.

You ask was it the correct call?

If that was the CR decision then for that match it was correct!

Advantage is not a guarantee of a score or even a shot at goal but it usually has scoring or attacking benefits that out weigh a free kick.

If the referee has chosen to apply advantage and ball possession is kept and the attack continues but the attacker makes a poor decision or loses control through their own actions , the referee COULD decide the advantage was achieved but the attacker gave it away voluntarily by making a poor decision.

If the attacker was stumbling for control or was being pressured by a nearby opponent and lost possession through a poor pass then likely there WAS no advantage met thus bring it back to the DFK spot of the foul.

However if AFTER the foul , the attacker was on a long run, in complete control of the ball, unhindered by an opponent but chose a poor option the referee could simply allow play to continue thinking the advantage was there but squandered by the attackers' through their own misguided efforts.

I personally like to use the advantage arm sweep signal be it one arm or two and yell 'ADVANTAGE' wait a few seconds to see what develops and if I am satisfied advantage was realized I add 'PLAY ON!' and drop my arm signal. It means we will not be going back to the foul location. If there was cardable conduct I reserve it for the next stoppage and generally those responsible will be aware it is coming .

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Answer provided by Referee Peter Grove

Hi Nick,
This sounds like a valid use of the advantage rule to me.

The NFHS rule book says that, ''If the referee applies the advantage, which was anticipated but does not develop at that time, the referee shall penalize the original offense''

Here there was a potential advantage, however it did not develop as anticipated so the referee is entitled to call play back and award the foul.

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