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Question Number: 32800

Mechanics 10/15/2018

RE: Youth to adult, comp and rec.

Barry Stewart of Chilliwack, BC Canada asks...

This question is a follow up to question 32796

Panelist Jason Wright says, 'Generally speaking, I'm with you. I think this is bordering on 'tactical advice', like telling a PIOP not to play the ball.'

I think we can learn from the way other sports are officiated: ice hockey, for example. Years ago, if you were in an offside position when the puck crossed the blue line, play was blown down immediately for a face-off.

Now, the linesman yells clearly 'NO!' and waves the arms if there's no offside, the way baseball umps signal 'safe.'

If the puck has slipped through and the PIOP has not touched it, the linesman raises an arm to signal an impending offside call. Attacking players are told 'OFFSIDE! Clear the zone!'

In the meantime, the defence can gather the puck and start a play out of the zone, while all of the attackers get out before coming back in.

If everything is reset properly, or the defence gets the puck out, the linesman's hand is lowered and play continues. As a result, the game flows much better, with fewer stoppages. Hand passes and high stick puck-touches are dealt with in a similar way.

(Getting long here - but there's more!)

I believe there is room in soccer for refs to be proactive with their voices. For example, if I'm a single ref and there's a pass that is looking debateable for offside, I yell 'GOOD!' or stay silent, waiting to see if the PIOP gets involved. The 'Good!' signal lets the defenders know there's no value in waving their arms - and the offence knows they can keep going. It's clear to both sides.

If there's time, I also like to let keepers know 'Hands are good' on the grey-zone 'pass-backs'. I don't see it as coaching (though top teams rarely need the advice) - but more to keep the game flowing. The keeper and other players are likely wondering what I'm thinking, so why should I keep it a secret?

'Same with time remaining. It's information that should be shared, not kept squirrelled away. If a player asks, I loudly tell the whole field the time. If I'm adding stoppage time, I loudly tell the whole field how much time.

As much as I'd love to see offsides gone or greatly altered in soccer - I'd at least like to see the communications upped, so a ref or AR could proactively advise '18: you're offside' when 18 is considering chasing down an offside pass (not before the pass is made, mind you.) It would make the game even more beautiful.

What say you?

Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

HI Barry,
Communication is generally a good thing but tactically affecting how a player chooses to do something where if they are incorrect is advantageous to the opposing team is not being neutral. There is a reason we say, PLAY to the whistle, because THAT is the crux of what soccer is! Do not forget that defenders tactically step up to put attackers offside, if they are successful THEY win the ball back, if they are not then an unmarked player might later bite them. Also there is even a escape clause that when ONLY 1 PIOP is in pursuit of a ball we CAN in fact stop play without waiting till he gets there to touch it.
The LOTG like to use clarifying words like CLEARLY affecting play not hazy innuendos. As we have all pointed out there are certain conditions where a wee bit of advice or information is indeed good to help them play THEIR game . But I stress this, the opposition must not be disadvantaged by your actions in live play. If there is a deliberate pass to the keeper off the foot of the teammate and that ball is actively being pursed by an opponent I do not tell the keeper anything. To do so is blatantly unfair in it releases the pressure of not having to quickly kick it away versus not knowing I can just take my time and the opponent can do nothing once I grab it. If a weird rebound or deflection off the teammate's foot that is coming the keepers way and it is simply a matter of how to allow play to continue then perhaps a thumbs up to the keeper with your good to go!

WE apply the LOTG , we do not reward mistakes, the loss of possession is in of itself the lesson.

You need to think on offside, if the AR raises the flag to indicate offside the CR can STILL overrule him to NOT stop play though several player my see the flag & cease their efforts, which is actually wrong. Yet if you are a single official then NO whistle means KEEP playing that is your communication. >With regards to (Asking time), I can agree to a point but how much longer ref, can be a distraction. I use phases like -'We are winding down, a few minutes. At about the 5 minute mark left in regulation., 'If' I am adding extra time I will inform coaches a MINIMUIM of time because ONCE you give a time and go past it we get apoplectic coaches & players who are pointing at watches claiming you said this or you said that? Plus if the questions start at 20 or so minutes chances are you get, 'How much now? at the next stoppage?

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Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Barry
Always remember whose game it is.
It is the players game, they know the Laws or should do and all the referee can do is enforce those Laws from what he sees.
I am in favour of communication yet I respond to shouts for fouls, offside with either a shout Nothing there or ignoring it with playing on. On offside appeals I rarely respond during play and I might say that Number 4 played him on, I did not see offside.
As to time remaining it can be helpful yet it never always works out that way. A referee can say we are in the last minute / 3 minutes to go and for a reason such as an injury play gets extended well beyond the time. Never sits well.
Case in Point Spain V England. 4th Official shows 7 minutes on the board and Spain scores just at the end of the 7th minute. Referee blows up without the kick off which he was entitled to do and he is surrounded by Spanish players!

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