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Question Number: 33341

Other 5/13/2019

RE: Rec, select and competitive High School

Mary Ramirez-de-Arellano of DAMASCUS, MD United States asks...

According to players and some coworkers I have trouble with foul recognition. Sometimes I catch the second foul, not the first one. Or I 'misinterpret' an event. I want to improve my confidence as a referee.

I have never played soccer myself. I wonder if this is a liability. I watched my childrens' games for 20 years and love the game. I am 66, older that is, and I refuse to let that stop me. I am in excellent physical condition and I want to continue refereeing. I believe it is a service to the community and I really enjoy it, except when I think I have just missed a foul! Can you help me out? You have helped me a lot in the past. Thanks.

Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

HI Mary, welcome back
there is (in my opinion) a certain benefit from playing that assists us in our refereeing so why not do both? As a healthy active woman even if your skills are not great you would find playing the game from a player perspective does in fact help you referee.

Generally challenges involve more than a 50 /50 as one or the other is usually in a BETTER position to win the ball, keep possession & or shield it. The player trying to dispossess the other is MORE likely to foul by some form of illegal contact like a trip push, kick, pull. That said the player with the ball will not take kindly to being pressured so they can snap an elbow back or swing a wide arm slap across the face to ward off the defender. That is why playing the game is so beneficial because you get to experience these feelings where as a referee you need to recognize it in players tolerance and attitudes.

To gain input from the players & coaches one could ask them for input but you need to remember coaches, players & parents are biased through no fault of their own given their perspective has more to do with guessing & feelings and a desire to win as opposed to learn & be fair.

Do you attend seminars and training sessions where they discus videos and the application of the LOTG? Do you simulate game conditions at a practice and have feedback as to where you should be & why on the pitch at any given moment?

Do you have active colleagues, mentors or assessors within your community program willing to assist you?

To accurately judge a foul you need to be in a position to SEE it first and also recognize the careless reckless or excessive nature of the misconduct itself a requiring intervention via a stoppage or accepted as fair or even a doubtful or trifling with merely a word to watch themselves.

Accept the matches where you feel confident you can stay with play. Think a bit about if you are refereeing as a single official or as a team of 3 or 2. High school has different rules than FIFA, be sure you KNOW them, the procedures they want followed and be sure you understand the kids are in an outdoor class just as much as a game! Ask yourself what LOTG do you feel you have a good understanding of and what are you weak at? Is it the foul that troubles you or knowing when a card is needed for the misconduct? ? The LOTG have changed a great deal in recent years are you up on all the changes and restart? DO you take recertification tests ?

No referee is perfect but the good ones give a solid effort to do a good job. If these co workers or players say you are catching retaliation not the first foul or misinterpret an event. Give us an example? What exactly are you misinterpreting? Is there VIDEO? Hire a video logger to record your match. Ask for SPECIFIC feedback from these help sources ? Are you too far away, too close? At bad angles? Are you playing too much advantage without signaling? Your tolerance levels for doubtful or trifling infractions are they too high? Do you understand that shoulder to shoulder you can not use the arms to push . Is there a source of video examples and written material you can draw upon locally? Can you get miked up with head and ear phones with quality mentors to o a match or too as you talk your way through the match as they watch or assist as ARS ?

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Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Mary
Good to hear from you and thank you for your question.
Foul recognition is a challenge for many referees. I watched a referee at the weekend miss in a half 2/3 fouls. Not huge issues for the game yet none the less missed.
Now the key here is to understanding what is a foul. Not every foul needs to be called in fact some are trifling / doubtful with NO impact on the game.
For instance a player can stretch out an arm, make contact with an opponent which could look like a push yet it has no effect on the opponent. Some will see that as a foul and perhaps it is yet it does not always get or need to be called.
Looking at games refereed by experienced referees is a good way to develop. What calls is the referee making. Did you agree with the calls. Very soon you start agreeing with the calls.
Another way is to look at it through cause and effect. What is the outcome of something happening such as why did the player fall which is the effect. There is always a cause and it is then a matter of looking for the cause which can be that the player slipped or that the player was tripped, pushed whatever.
Most fouls at Underage happen at the ball so referees should focus on the ball carrier. What are the opponents doing to stop the player with the ball. What is the opponent doing in the challenge for the ball.
You know all the fouls listed in Law 12 so it is a matter of focussing on the challenge area.
For example in my game at the weekend on a challenge a player put her foot close to the ball and it was kicked by an opponent. Cue noise, player lifts her foot hurt. I blow for a foul and the opponent denies she kicked her! If I am honest I did not see the foot on foot yet all the conditions of a foul existed and I had absolutely no doubt it was a foul. The player had to go off injured
I had another one and a player was about to have a shot and her opponent from behind made an attempt to play the ball but failed which caused the kicker to mis-kick and fall to the ground. No hesitation in a penalty kick award as all the conditions of a foul were present. Yes sometimes player will simulate a foul and that is where experience is very helpful including understanding unnatural movements.
As to missing a foul that is no big deal. At the highest levels referees miss calls or get calls wrong. It is why the game has now brought in VAR to assist in those calls. By its nature refereeing is subject to the natural vagaries of error. Some will be errors while others will be matters of opinion. Some will say soft foul, others no fouls while others will agree to a certain foul.
I firmly believe that once the referee is consistent and delivers the same decisions for both teams that is what is important. A call has to be made and once done in good faith, impartially then that is all that is required. In a game there will be probably 80% of the calls that everyone agrees with and then 20% that half will agree with and the other half will disagree with. Even if the referee is correct on the bulk of the 20% it will not change the opinion of those that disagree with it.
So keep up the good work, you are doing a great service for the game and long may it continue

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