Soccer Referee Resources
Ask a Question
Recent Questions

RSS FEED Subscribe Now!

Q&A Quick Search
The Field of Play
The Ball
The Players
The Players Equipment
The Referee
The Other Match Officials
The Duration of the Match
The Start and Restart of Play
The Ball In and Out of Play
Fouls and Misconduct
Free Kicks
Penalty kick
Throw In
Goal Kick
Corner Kick

Common Sense
Kicks - Penalty Mark
The Technical Area
The Fourth Official
Attitude and Control
League Specific
High School

Common Acronyms
Meet The Ref
Contact AskTheRef
Help Wanted
About AskTheRef
Panel Login

Question Number: 33016

Other 1/26/2019

RE: Rec Under 10

Winston Mohammed of London, London UK asks...

This question is a follow up to question 33012

Thanks for your replies, they are helpful.

However, I just wanted to clarify one thing.

I suppose what Im asking is, is it possible for two referees to see the same incident, with exactly the same angles/views/timing and to come to different conclusion about whether it was a foul or not, yet neither are wrong?

Because ultimately its down to their opinion, so theres no technical right or wrong in some instances?



Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Winston
That is indeed correct.
An astute Referee understands that there will be many decision-making situations in a game that do not neatly fit the answers provided by Law. The ability to interpret the Law is therefore an important asset in the Referee's power. It is not only a deep understanding of the 17 Laws the Game that make a good Referee. It is the decision making ability to use the Laws as the main component, in conjunction with the further ingredients of common sense, self-assessment, and post match debate along with the 'Spirit of the Game'
Foul recognition is not uniform and referees can differ on decisions based on experience and ability. It exhibits itself in differing grades.
So while we all want games to be officiated by FIFA standard referees the reality is that just does not happen. So two referees could look at an incident and form a different opinion / decision.
Let me finish by making an observation which is demonstrated by all the best teams. There are many things in the game that teams cannot control that is the weather, the pitch, the crowd and importantly the referee. How many refereeing decision ever get changed yet how much effort is put into that by players instead of focussiing on what is important which is getting on with play, marking up, communicating with team mates. I refereed a team recently that I would say spent most of its time complaining, arguing, dissenting about decision instead of focussing on what was really important which was playing the game. Teams will win some calls and lose some calls. The better teams will overcome inconsistent or down right mistaken decisions and come out with the win. And if a team has to rely on officiating to win a game, it is not a good place to be. So as a team the focus should be entirely on those parts if the game that are under the teams control such as tactics, effort, defending, attacking etc.

Read other questions answered by Referee Joe McHugh

View Referee Joe McHugh profile

Answer provided by Referee Peter Grove

Hi Winston,
The IFAB's protocol for the Video Assistant Referee (VAR) system talks about ''factual decisions such as the position of an offence or player(s) (e.g. offside), point of contact on the body for handball or a foul, ball out of play, goal/no goal.'' The corollary to this is that pretty much all other decisions regarding incidents during ongoing play (and not, for instance technical offences such as improper equipment etc) are subjective decisions or in other words, are based on the judgement/opinion of the referee. And, as Alexander Pope said, ''Tis with our judgments as our watches, none go just alike, yet each believes his own.''

Given the truth of Pope's aphorism, it follows that two referees could indeed see the same incident and judge it differently.

Read other questions answered by Referee Peter Grove

View Referee Peter Grove profile

Ask a Follow Up Question to Q# 33016
Read other Q & A regarding Other

The following questions were asked as a follow up to the above question...

See Question: 33017

Soccer Referee Extras

Did you Ask the Ref? Find your answer here.

Enter Question Number

If you received a response regarding a submitted question enter your question number above to find the answer

Offside Question?

Offside Explained by Chuck Fleischer & Richard Dawson, Former & Current Editor of AskTheRef

This web site and the answers to these questions are not sanctioned by or affiliated with any governing body of soccer. The opinions expressed on this site should not be considered official interpretations of the Laws of the Game and are merely opinions of AskTheRef and our panel members. If you need an official ruling you should contact your state or local representative through your club or league. On AskTheRef your questions are answered by a panel of licensed referees. See Meet The Ref for details about our panel members.