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Question Number: 32712

Law 5 - The Referee 9/16/2018

RE: Rec Adult

Phil Prata of Burlington, Ontario Canada asks...

This question is a follow up to question 32710

Thank you all for quick and comprehensive responses.

The actual calls made were: GOAL. The ref explained that an offside offence had been committed but as the offending player then stopped, the goalkeeper was free to play on (the ref said he was not required to indicate either with his hands or verbally that play was to continue). Once the goalkeeper touched the ball the play reset and the striker was free to score. The ref was questioned on his calling out 'OK thanks' as the defenders assumed it was in response to their offside appeal but he said it was an acknowledgment to his AR. It was different to the youtube video of Spurs v. United as the goalkeeper did not pick up the ball and the time between the offense and the goal was much shorter. It was suggested to the ref that no advantage had occurred but he said that was irrelevant as the goalkeeper could have picked up the ball or passed it to a teammate. It was also suggested that communicating loudly to the AR was confusing but the ref said it was correct.

The second call was: HANDBALL. The ref explained that he had played on for the first foul, which he agreed had been committed, and as it was unnecessary for the player to handle the ball and it stopped play he blew for this offense. Again the ref was asked about advantage and he again said it was irrelevant as the player could have continued.

In both cases the ref made it clear that we should play to the whistle and although players were upset they accepted that view. The ref was thanked at the end and no hard feelings.

However, it is useful to view these incidents from a ref's point of view, hence my questions.

As a player I have always thought that the law requires 'benefit' from an advantage play and that if within a few seconds of the original offence there is no possibility of a benefit the original offence should be called. I understand that after a few seconds the need for a benefit reduces to zero - the exact timing depending upon the circumstances.

Can refs choose to play on because an advantage was possible even if within a few seconds a clear disadvantage happened? Is it also considered correct practice for refs to make loud verbal calls to the AR(s)?

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Phil
On the first one it now reads that there was in fact no actual offside but instead a player in an offside position with a flag raised and that the play by the goalkeeper was a reset of offside positions. If there was offside and he was allowing play to continue the referee was required to shout * ADVANTAGE* to make it clear that he was allowing play to continue and for him also to wave down the offside flag. If there was no offside he should have waved the flag down and communicated to the AR that there was offside.
Now on waved down flags there can be confusion among players who believe that the flag is the decision.
That is not the case.
Have a look at this video
The AR flags for offside yet the referee sees that the ball was played by a Green player to Blue so it could not be offside. Some Greens stopped based on the flag yet we always play to the whistle.
On the second one I have rarely seen a player after a foul on a clear advantage stop to pick the ball up. It reads to me that there was no clear advantage and that the referee decided that advantage had been realised.
I think both are poor communication mechanics. I can see the first one happening on a raised flag yet I think the second one is more likely not be an advantage situation.

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Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

Hi Phil,
I am a bit concerned about the explanation.

I have two thoughts.

1st There was no actual offside committed, the referee realized there WAS an offside POSITIONED player who was NOT involved in actual play, the keeper had unimpeded access to the ball . The UNFORTUATE word exchange CONFUSED the keeper who because the AR had raised the flag felt the CR was NOT disputing it, thus unintentionally released the ball NOT knowing it was still in play.


2nd there was an offside infraction, the referee realized there WAS an offside positioned opponent & (in his opinion) that opponent WAS involved, however since the keeper appeared to have NO problem accessing the ball CHOOSE to apply a silent advantage and let play proceed. This BOTHERS me because IF this WAS true the CR COULD have signalled this was so by applying the advantage signal in which case RECOGNIZES PUBLICALLY there was an infringement and given the advantage was lost immediately COULD have still awarded the INDFK put given the confusion.

Similar to the fouled player handling the ball scenario we reverse it, the keeper UNAWARE advantage WAS being applied, incorrectly let the ball go rather than hang onto it thinking an INDFK was coming. In other wards was thinking a free kick for the foul

I can understand the play to the whistle as a get out of trouble free but not 100% sold on the mechanics here! I believe a tainted goal resulted

Much the same again on the 2nd portion of handles the ball deliberately after being fouled.

I dislike the mechanics!

It is TRUE that a referee CAN choose to see an advantage realized and call the handling as a DFK, BUT and this is CRUCIAL much like passing the ball towards an offside team mate right after a foul THERE IS NO ADVANTAGE call it back! Yes the argument can be made he lost the advantage but GIVEN the concept of AWARDING the advantage was to NOT allow the 1st foul to affect play, by giving the DFK handling foul you have in effect done just that.

That harsh crappy slide kick push or trip is tossed aside as so much garbage because the FOULED player WANTED to take HIS DESERVED free kick???
Lets remember WHY we award advantage so that initial foul has no bearing on the run of play.

As I stated in my earlier answer it is best not to say anything if you are simply ALLOWING play to continue even if waving down (what you know to be in your opinion) an incorrect AR flag. That said I have communicate to my ARs MANY things via loud verbal outcry's . Usually to assist my memory or help prevent confusion.

When a foul occurs and I apply advantage and if a card is required I yell. Advantage ' 15 blue in the book we will talk later) as I apply the advantage signal, My ARs record that so at the next stoppage I will not forget who I need to get back too. When I yell 'PLAY on!' I am satisfied that advantage WAS realized we will not be going back to the foul. I try to pick the times to say thank you or great job!' at the end of play but a 'My decision or No whistle or Nothing there play! 'to remind all to not over think the situation

BUT and again this is HUGELY important the ADVANTAGE concept is not permitting that first foul to AFFECT the ongoing play adversely. A player picking themselves up grabbing the ball livid from getting bowled over you are not only NOT awarding him the free kick but punishing his emotional response while the team that DID that 1st foul has successfully stopped the attack. Think on this when did a player on a clear breakaway into goal stop to pick the ball up and want to take a free kick?

BUT I am lead to believe your ref is stating there WAS an offside infraction but still choose to NOT stop play & wave off the correctly raised flag BECAUSE he was PLAYING advantage since the keeper had gained easy access? Here there is NOTHING preventing the CR from saying & signalling advantage. It clarifies flag was right, but keeper you got ball in hand, lets just keep on going!


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Answer provided by Referee Peter Grove

Hi Phil,
Whatever else we might say, I would agree with my colleagues that the referee in this game has used poor mechanics in trying to communicate his decisions. If the referee admits that there actually was an offside offence, the only way he is allowed to not penalise that offence is if he is applying the advantage clause. In a case such as this, where the referee is playing an advantage that is somewhat unusual (it's rare to play advantage in a team's defensive third) then I think it is incumbent on the referee to make it clear that this is what is happening, both verbally and by using a clear arm signal. For me, just calling out, ''OK, thanks,'' is not enough.

Also, when playing advantage, the law says that the referee:

''allows play to continue when an offence occurs and the non-offending team will benefit from the advantage and penalises the offence if the anticipated advantage does not ensue at that time or within a few seconds''

So as part of applying the advantage, if the benefit is not realised within a few seconds, the referee is supposed to go back and penalise the original offence.

Once again, based on your descriptions, it appears that no actual advantage has ensued within the few seconds mentioned in the law, so the referee would have been perfectly entitled to penalise the offences under discussion.

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