Ask a Soccer Referee

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  • CONTINUING FOULS AND MORE
    Question: I was curious about the free kick foul in last night’s USA-GER game in which the referee awarded the U.S. a penalty kick. Is there an interpretation of the German defender’s foul as “continuing” as Alex Morgan entered the penalty area? The defender certainly initiated contact outside the area and kept Alex Morgan from […]
  • “COWBOY” REFEREES STRIKE AGAIN
    Question: During a game, can goalie speak to someone beside the goal during game? Referee issued yellow for not paying attention to game? Answer (June 30, 2015): There were two people of diminished mental competence involved here: the goalkeeper and the referee. There is no such rule in the Laws of the Game, and referees […]
  • CHARGING PROPERLY
    Question: Two players are going for the ball, and, within playing distance of the ball, one lowers shoulder and drives into other player. This is indeed a foul, but can you point to text in Fifa’s LOTG that would clarify this? It is a charge, of course, so is the only ground on which to […]
  • IT’S THE PLAYERS’ GAME, REFEREES, NOT YOURS
    Question: My team had a pK shoot out last weekend. The referee placed the ball on the mark. We kicked first and my player moved the ball because it was in a hole but left it on the mark. The referee walked back to the ball picked it up and appeared to push it even […]
  • NO QUESTIONS, PLEASE, THROUGH 9 FEBRUARY 2015
    PLEASE SEND NO QUESTIONS 1 FEB THROUGH AT LEAST 9 FEB I am having a routine surgery, but will not be able to sit at the computer until probably 10 February. If you send them, they will not be answered until at least that date. Thank you. Jim Allen
  • PLAYERS WEARING PROSTHETIC DEVICES—WHAT’S THE RULE?
    NOTE: This Q&A was published back in 2002 with the full approval of the U. S. Soccer Federation. I cannot claim that it still has approval, but it is a good path to explore when prosthetic devices are necessary for a player. I sent it out last week in response to a similar question from […]
  • DEALING WITH ILLEGAL ENTRY OF A SUBSTITUTE AND ENSUING EVIL
    INCIDENT ANALYSIS An interesting question came up the other day about a recent game in Asia and what the referee should do when a substitute, warming up behind his team’s goal, sees that his goalkeeper is down and there are no defenders nearby to stop the ball, which is rolling quickly toward the goal. The […]
  • SUBSTITUTIONS WHEN, AND HOW MANY?
    Question: If a player from Team A is injured and is being substituted, can Team B also substitute at that time? If so,is there a limited number of players that can be substituted? Answer (November 18, 2014): Q. 1: Yes. Q. 2: See below. Under the Laws of the Game, the following procedures apply: Substitution […]
  • Sample Pregame Instructions (Update)
    Here is an update to Gil Weber’s sample set of pregame instructions. Gil Weber’s Pregame Instructions Copyright© 1999, 2002, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2011 January 2013 These pregame instructions were originally written in 1999, and then were updated in 2002, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, and 2011 after International Football Association Board decisions and advisories from […]
  • LIES, DAMNED LIES, AND STATISTICS
    Question: Question about awarding an “assist” on a goal. If player A (from midfield, let’s say) makes a nice but short through-pass that sends Player B (a striker, let’s say) on a breakaway, and Player B has to take several touches to dribble close to the goal, and perhaps even has to evade a defender […]
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