What's The Correct AYSO Answer?
The following is a recently received question:
March 6, 2014
I was told that it was wrong for a player to move the ball after it had been placed on the ground for the taking of a goal kick as it is a delaying tactic and should not be allowed. What’s your thought regarding this?
Once the ball has been placed on the ground for a goal kick, it is expected that the kick will be taken. Younger, inexperienced players are learning about the game and they may move the ball, sometimes multiple times, without meaning to delay the game. The referee can help speed up the restart by getting close to the player and providing instructions in a friendly manner. The referee could say, “Leave the ball where it is and kick it as hard as you can.” Or, if the player has picked up the ball, say, “Put the ball down and kick it as hard as you can so we won’t waste time.” After the player kicks the ball, the referee can say, “Thank you,” to acknowledge the player’s cooperation.
As the players get older, they do learn to use this tactic to delay the game, especially when they are winning. If the player moves the ball quickly to kick the ball towards the side with less defenders, then the referee may allow it if it is done within a couple of seconds and done only once. If the player keeps using this tactic to delay the game, then the referee can say something to stop the behavior.
If the player picks up the ball and slowly moves towards the opposite side of the goal area, the referee can quickly get close and encourage a faster restart by talking to the player. The objective is to encourage the players to restart play within a reasonable time and not use delaying tactics.
February 27, 2014
Red #10 and blue #3 are challenging for the ball and their momentum carries them off the field of play, just outside the penalty area. With the ball still in play inside the blue team’s penalty area, red #10 decides to go for the ball. Blue #3 holds him outside the field of play so he cannot get to the ball. How should I sanction this incident and what is the restart?
No foul has occurred since the holding offense happened outside the field of play. Given this scenario, the referee has two options to consider.
Option 1: Stop play, and if the players are U-12 or older, caution blue #3 for unsporting behavior - preventing an opponent from getting to the ball. In a U-10 or younger level game, it is recommended that the referee not use cards and instead manage such situations by verbally admonishing the player and working with the coach to teach them about appropriate behavior. Since the incident happened outside the field of play, the restart would be a dropped ball where the ball was when play was stopped.
Option 2: The referee may decide to wait and see what happens. If red #10 breaks free and gets to the ball, the referee may apply advantage and allow play to continue since red #10 would be inside the opponent’s penalty area with a good chance for a shot on goal. In this option, the referee may chose to verbally admonish blue #3 at the next opportunity. The referee may also decide to caution blue #3, if he is a U-12 or older player, at the next stoppage of play.
Ignoring the holding offense by blue #3 is not a good option as it would generate frustration and possible retaliation.
(See pages 38 and 123 in the 2013/14 AYSO FIFA Laws of the Game.)
February 20, 2014
A player told me that she needed to wear a sweatband on her head because she sweats a lot and the sweat irritates her eyes so much that she cannot see or play well. Should I allow the use of sweatbands?
While sweatbands are not part of the basic player equipment, they are accepted as supplementary player equipment as long as the referee decides they are safe. The referee should check and decide if the sweatband is safe to the player wearing it or other players by making sure it is elastic, flexible and soft.
Supplemental items, such as colorful feathers, worn only for adornment are not permitted. But items which the referee believes are not dangerous to the player or to other players and serve the purpose of hair control, perspiration absorption, or conformance to religious requirements, are permitted.
The referee should check the players’ equipment as early as possible before the game starts. This approach will provide the referee with enough time to explain to the coaches and parents why an item is not approved to be used and give them a chance to manage possible frustration that comes with players spending time, and often money, to get these non-approved items.
(See pages 21 and 69 in the 2013/14 AYSO FIFA Laws of the Game and page 45 in the 2014 AYSO Guidance for Referees, Coaches, Other Volunteers and Parents.)
February 13, 2014
Should a referee wear his referee shirt when he is coaching?
It is strongly recommended that referees should not wear their referee uniform or any other clothes that may identify them as referees when they are coaching or watching a game. Wearing referee equipment can potentially invite negative comments and/or challenging questions related to the referee team who is refereeing the game. To avoid this challenge, referees should carry non-referee clothes with them that can be used if they are coaching or watching a game before or after they officiate a game.
February 6, 2014
In a U-14 girl’s game, I blew the whistle to indicate an indirect free kick (impeding) offense by blue #4 against red #10. As I pointed the direction of the restart, red #10 deliberately pushed blue #4 to the ground. The pushing seemed more serious to me than the foul committed by blue #4. Therefore, I awarded a direct free kick in favor of the blue team. Was I right?
The ball was out of play when you decided that blue #4 committed the impeding offense. You confirmed your decision and made the players aware of it by blowing the whistle. Since you stopped the game for the impeding offense committed by blue #4, the restart should have been an indirect free kick for the red team.
Red #10 committed the pushing offense when the ball was out of play. Therefore, red #10’s offense cannot be a foul. Because she deliberately pushed an opponent while the ball was out of play, red #10’s offense is misconduct. The restart, an indirect free kick for the red team, should have remained the same. In this scenario, the referee should show the yellow card to red #10 and caution her for unsporting behavior. Then, the referee should restart play with the indirect free kick for the red team.
To manage the situation, the referee may explain the reason for the restart - why the pushing offense does not change the restart, but it is punished with a caution - and ask red #10 to let the referee manage the game and not commit offenses. Similar scenarios generate frustration and possible retaliation so the referee has to quickly manage incidents and provide quick and brief explanations as needed.
(See pages 33, 36-37, and 117 in the 2013/14 AYSO FIFA Laws of the Game.)
January 30, 2014
Next week, I’ll referee my second game and so far the referees have talked to me about my responsibilities during the pregame. Do assistant referees need another talk at halftime or just in the pregame discussion?
First, thank you for volunteering to referee as we're happy to welcome everyone who wants to join the AYSO referee team. We're glad that your peers are sharing information with you during the pregame discussion. This helps the referee team develop and share a plan to officiate the game, which can be reviewed and modified during the halftime discussion.
The halftime period should be used by the referee team to prepare physically and mentally to referee the second half, which always offers more challenges as players are more tired and frustration is more likely to show up. This can be done by taking care of basic physical needs and evaluating and planning what the referees need to do in the second half.
Referees should consider the following actions for the halftime period:
Leave the field walking together to project teamwork.
- Drink water to rehydrate and maintain good health.
- If really hungry, take a small portion of food, preferably fruit.
- If needed, use the bathroom.
- Do stretching exercises to relax the muscles.
Share information useful for evaluating and planning while you are stretching, drinking water, etc.
- Verify the game score and update the game record as needed.
- Check cautions and/or send-offs.
- Identify players with potential frustration.
o Keep a close watch on them.
- Have there been a lot of fouls?
o Identify who has committed most of them.
o Get ready to manage possible frustration.
- Do you have players with multiple fouls, persistent infringement?
o Consider talking to them before starting the second half.
o Consider talking to their coach so they can mentor them.
- Is play getting careless, reckless, or starting to use excessive force?
o Consider tightening the game with a few more foul calls.
o Consider doing more talking to players in the second half.
- Are you calling too many trifling fouls and frustrating players?
o Consider loosening up your foul recognition.
o Consider asking the coaches about your foul recognition.
- Is one team getting significantly more tired or dominating the game more?
o Watch out for increasing, careless or reckless contact.
o Manage potential frustration and refocus the players by talking to them.
The referee team will benefit from reviewing their plan at halftime!
January 23, 2014I started refereeing U-12 games and now pushing fouls are not as obvious as they used to be in the U-8 and U-10 games. What is a pushing foul in games with older kids?
Pushing fouls can potentially become more frequent and are more challenging to identify as the players get older because they do the pushing in different ways.
The criteria for a foul remains the same regardless of the age level. An offense becomes a foul when it is committed by a player on the field of play, while the ball is in play, against an opponent, and in a manner considered by the referee to be careless, reckless or using excessive force.
The attached video clip provides an example of a pushing foul that can be challenging to identify. Blue player #14 is chasing the ball towards the touchline with white player #23 chasing him. Just as blue #14 reaches the ball, white #23 makes contact with the blue player's back and pushes him. The referee should be in a position where he can see both players. That is, the referee should be at an angle to the play so that one player does not block his view of the other player. This will help the referee have a better view of the action and pick up the signs that will help him or her make the correct evaluation.
The signs that will help a referee make a correct decision include:
Blue #14 gets into a better position to get control of the ball and slows down before making contact with #23. Therefore, it takes less contact to stop his progress and/or make him lose ball possession.
- White #23 realizes that blue #14 beat him to the best position with a possibility of controlling the ball and decides to extend his arm at the last second, making contact with (pushing) blue #14's back.
- The challenge is occurring near the touchline, where the player with the ball, or with the best chance of controlling the ball, has less room to maneuver and thus will be somewhat trapped. Play along the touchline, or goal line, often becomes scrappy due to this reduced area.
The contact is to the back from behind, pushing blue #14 into the ground which is very dangerous. It is important for the referee team to identify this type of foul and manage it in order to prevent injuries, player frustration and possible retaliation. In order to minimize or eliminate this type of foul, when play nears the boundary lines the referee and/or assistant referee need to be close by to ensure that players feel their presence with their voice and/or a stronger whistle. With this type of foul the referee should at least have a quiet word with the guilty player.
(See pages 36 and 117 in the 2009/2010 AYSO FIFA Laws of the Game).
January 16, 2014"In a U-8 game, I accidentally blew the whistle and everyone stopped. I was not sure how to restart the game so I gave the losing team a free kick. Was I correct?"
The correct restart for this stoppage of play is a dropped ball. Law 8 specifies that a dropped ball is to be used to restart the game when the referee stops play for any reason not listed elsewhere in the Laws. In scenarios where you are not sure of the restart and you have assistant referees, ask them as they may know the answer.
(See pages 31 in the 2013-14 AYSO FIFA Laws of the Game).
January 9, 2014"In a U-8 game our defender made a throw in towards our keeper. The keeper never touched the ball which went into our goal. What's the restart?"
A goal cannot be scored directly from a throw in. If the ball enters the thrower's own goal directly from a throw in, the referee must award a corner kick to the opposing team. Therefore, in this scenario since your team took the throw in, the referee should restart the game with a corner kick for the other team.
(See pages 48 and 134 in the 2013-14 AYSO FIFA Laws of the Game).