Ask a Soccer Referee

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  • 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 […]
  • GOALKEEPER POSITION ON PENALTY KICKS
    Question: Law- 14 penalty kicks. The Defending Goalkeeper As stated by the rules of Fifa The defending goalkeeper: • must remain on his goal line, facing the kicker, between the goalposts until the ball has been kicked. My question is does the keeper have to keep a part of their body on the line until […]
  • FOOT POSITIONING FOR THROW-INS
    Question: I am confused about the rules of your feet for throw-ins. Do you have to have 2 in completely or what? Thank you! Answer (October 14, 2014): Here are some illustrations of foot positioning that is allowed or not allowed. The shaded areas indicate where the thrower’s foot touches the ground.
  • KICKING THE GOALKEEPER
    Question: Hello, I am a U10 coach in CA. And recently had a game where our goalie was kicked four seperate times while picking up the ball,twice in the hand, leg and chest. I got a little verble by saying how many time are they going to kick our goalie before the Ref does something. […]
  • ESTABLISHING AUTHORITY
    NOTE: I do not remember where I got this item — and for that I apologize to the source — but it seems worth publishing again to remind referees that they need to ensure that everyone on the field knows who is in charge of the game. ESTABLISHING AUTHORITY Recently I lined an U15B game […]
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