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Question Number: 32579

Law 12 - Fouls and Misconduct 7/8/2018

RE: Amateur Adult

Iordan of Adelaide, South Australia Australia asks...

Dear Asktheref,

I refereed a game on the weekend and an incident came up which I'm not sure I dealt with 100% correctly.

In second half stoppage time the game was 2-2. The away team had two goals disallowed for offside earlier in the half. They both looked close from my angle and the club linesman flagged so I went with linesman decision much to the ire of the away supporters and players.

The home team had a long ball forward which a defender cleared out for a throw in but his momentum caused him to collide with his teammates on the bench and fall over. The home team took the throw quickly with a spare ball and went on to attack. The players and supports were upset that I allowed the quick throw but I'm pretty sure there's nothing in the rules about waiting for the player to come back on.

As the winger from the home side took the ball forward he was met by another defender between the corner flag and the 18 yard box with his back towards goal guarding the ball with the momentum of the attack halted. At this point another away player who was only a couple of meters away from me yelled out 'you're a f**ing d**khead referee'. That player was maybe 30 yards from goal. I blew the whistle and cautioned the player for dissent. I then restarted play with an indirect free-kick from where the ball was when I blew the whistle as I judged that to be a more advantageous position than where the offense took place. The away team pleaded with me to restart with a drop ball or a free kick from where the player who was cautioned was but I stood firm with my decision. The home team crossed the ball and scored with a near post header which was ultimately the winner.

I went back to the laws of the game later that night to check if I had made the right decision and couldn't find anything about what to do in the case of dissent away from the ball. Did I do the right thing in restarting play with an indirect free-kick in the more advanced position?

Did I make any other mistakes in the lead up? Should I have waited for the defender who fell over outside the pitch to come back on? Would it have been better if I had played on and cautioned the dissenting player at the next stoppage?

Kind Regards,

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Iordon
Thanks for the question

Offside can be tough decisions particularly when there are club assistants rather than neutral ARs. Unless it was blatantly obviously that the CAR was incorrect in the call then the referee has to take the flag. There would be as much angst if the offside flag was ignored and the goal awarded.
Now on the free kick the restart had to be taken from where the offence took place which was the location of the disgraceful language tirade. Law 13 tells us that ** All free kicks are taken from the place where the offence occurred** with 4 exceptions, none of which apply in this case. The restart could not be in the more advanced position of the location of the ball. So you were incorrect in your decision. The only possibility was to play advantage if the ball position and continuing was more advantageous which appears not to be the case from your description.
The second misjudgement you made in my opinion was that you should have sent off the foul mouthed player for offensive, insulting and abusive language. What was said by the player was not dissent yet clearly meriting a red card for objectionable language. I know it can be difficult in a match situation with only minutes left particularly after disallowing two goals and allowing the game to restart quickly yet a player cannot use that type of language and get away with a caution.
In many ways the away team was lucky that the player got to stay on the field of play and *justice* was metted out albeit through the wrong location of the restart. When the team started suggesting a dropped ball they knew little about the LotG plus the location of the ball restart is not unusual in that there is one provision in the Laws for that in Law 13.

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Answer provided by Referee Jason Wright

Hi Iordan,

Sounds like a tough match! Offside is difficult when you don't have neutral AR's - I don't think you can really justify overruling a CAR unless you're absolutely certain, so you've done the right thing there. With CAR's I do change my positioning a bit compared to NAR's to try to monitor offside a little more - especially at critical moments like a ceremonial free kick (I'll probably stand in line with the 2nd last defender rather than adopt the conventional front-on view. Poorer position to view some things, but a better position for the most likely offence - offside).

As for the defender running into his own bench - you're completely right on that one. No reason to stop play just because a player is momentarily caught up off the field. The complaint here is simply that the other team benefitted from something so they're hoping you can put a stop to it! And given it's not a common scenario, of course the players won't know what's 'right' here.

As Ref McHugh said, the free kick should have been from the location of the offence. The law reference you're looking for is the last Indirect Free Kick offence in Law 12:

commits any other offence, not previously mentioned in Law 12, for which
play is stopped to caution or send off a player.

That's the part that applies here.

I also concur with Ref McHugh - the player has made a deliberate, loud, and personal comment towards yourself - I think he's crossed the line into OFFINABUS here, and I know it can be hard to take harsh action given that team already feels hard done by, but taking action that's too soft can also be harmful - and it doesn't hold players accountable for their actions.

Personally I think the fact that it was said as a clearly considered action (rather than as an immediate outburst) makes the comment even worse - he's clearly said it for the purpose of offending you.

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Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

HI Jordan,
I personally find club officials to be a hindrance than an asset in competitive matches. In a recreational fun match no issues but I prefer going as a single official .

It is your decision to go with their flag based on your belief they are aware of the current LOTG . You can always overrule but it is a slap in the face to ask them for help then ignore their input constantly. In the pre game I usually just ask for an assist if I miss the ball going COMPLETELY out of play and to please forgive my positioning decisions on on offside If I fail to heed their flags.

You use the term SPARE ball? Did you have a bunch of them with ball boys surrounding the pitch to toss the balls back? Or was this a one off situation? It is important to have standards, a free ball at an single moment is not fair!
Was the player injured in the fall running into a bench? How close was this technical area? But yes you are correct a player who goes off the FOP through naturel momentum is simply expected to return.

So this quick restart creates a bad taste in the supporters mouth, given the circumstances it could foster some dissent.

What is always difficult is when a player gets mad, a team angry, a coach furious, a screaming crowd delirious with rage the tensions rise and suddenly the mad player rises up into prevailing atmosphere spouting abuse NOT dissent!

The fact you accepted the comment as dissent is troubling albeit understandable if it was the first grumbling you might have heard? Yet no referee likes sending off players ,if anything we learned at the WC is they HATE doing that to the point of ridiculousness at times. lol So do not worry you choose not to! Just be aware of the difference of ABUSIVE for OFFINABUS red card send off play a man short & Dissent yellow card caution is in the premeditation of a calculated attack rather than an involuntary reaction to adversity in a momentary fit of irritation.

Still now you need to examine the match and realize you made some decisions that are incorrect , the greatest of these was the restart location is NOT where the ball was but where the dissenting player was. Advantage could have been in allowing the continuing of the attack while waiting to show a card. Once you stopped play to SHOW the card the restart is cast in stone! There is NO drop ball possible here . The law reference you're looking for is the last Indirect Free Kick offence in Law 12: commits any other offence, not previously mentioned in Law 12, for which play is stopped to caution or send off a player.

Do not beat yourself up learn for next time and think a bit on how dissent is a groundswell of events more than a single one!


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Answer provided by Referee Peter Grove

Hi Iordan,
As my colleagues have pointed out, the correct location for the restart after stopping play for a dissent offence, is (as with the vast majority of offences) where the offence took place. However I also agree with them that this was not simply a case of dissent but rather of offensive, insulting or abusive language that was worthy of a red card.

On the other incidents that you mention, I don't think you have to much to beat yourself up over. If you are in an area where CAR's are allowed to call offside (some areas restrict them to ball in and out of play) and you did not see any 'clear and obvious error' in their calls (to borrow a phrase from VAR) then your actions were perfectly acceptable. Similarly with the player who left the field and fell over - there's no overriding technical reason why you would have to make the opponents delay the restart until the player returned.

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