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'The righ call' by Ref. Vangelis November 2005

November 9

Ref. Vangelis,

Two weeks ago you really made it clear to us the right interpretation of the handball rule. There is another side to that and this is when the ball hits an attacking player's hand (not deliberately) which allows the attacking player to score a goal. If the ball would not have hit the attacker's hand the goal would not have been scored. What would be the referee’s decision in this case? Coach Gianni


According to the statement in the parenthesis above “(not deliberately)” the player has done nothing wrong and the goal should be allowed.
Yes, a goal can be scored accidentally by an opponent's hand. The fact that the player may benefit from the ball contacting the hand does not change the otherwise accidental event into an infringement.

If the referee sees the incident as you have described it above, he should allow the goal. I am sure that everyone will agree that the “easier” way out of this situation is to call a hand-ball. More likely everyone will agree with the call but this would not be the right call as the incident is described above.

It does take courage to be a referee, don't you agree? Let me emphasize this fact! The referee is to penalize a contact of the ball with a player’s hand only if in his opinion the action is deliberate, nothing else matters.

Also please keep in mind that my comments always will reflect what FIFA and USSF directives indicate. In other words the interpretations of the law of the game will be those of FIFA and USSF to the best of my knowledge and not my own.

Ref. Vangelis

Novemder 16

Ref. Vangelis,

The 'advantage rule' always provokes controversial protests. Can you explain when the 'advantage' is given and when it's not? Coach Gianni


Law 5 states that the “referee allows play to continue when the team against which an offense has been committed will benefit from such an advantage and penalizes the original offense if the anticipated advantage does not ensue at that time”.

Referees have the power to apply (and signal) the advantage upon seeing a foul or misconduct committed if at the moment the terms of the advantage clause described in law 5 were met.

The referee may return to and penalize the original foul if the advantage situation does not develop as anticipated after a short period of time (2 – 3 seconds).

Referees should note that the “advantage” is not defined solely in terms of scoring a goal.
Also, a subsequent offense by a player of the offending team must not be ignored while the referee allows the anticipated development of the advantage. Such an offense may either be recognized by stopping play immediately or by applying the advantage clause again. In such a case and regardless of the outcome of the advantage call, the referee must deal appropriately with any misconduct at the next stoppage of the game and before allowing play to be restarted.

The referee may also apply advantage during situations that are solely misconduct, either caution or send-off offenses or to situations that involve both a foul and misconduct.
The advantage applies only to infringements of law 12, fouls and misconducts and not to infringements of other laws such as an offside situation when the defense gets position of the ball, or an illegal throw-in that goes to an opponent.

Finally the giving of the advantage is not required in all situations to which it might be applied. A referee may stop play despite an advantage if other factors such as game control, severity of foul or misconduct, possibility of player retaliation etc. outweigh the benefit of play continuing.

Ref. Vangelis

November 23

Ref. Vangelis,

I recently saw 2 players from the same team have a fight during the game. Aside from the bad feeling it gave me, a friend said that the right thing to do was to give both a red card. Another said a yellow card and still others said just to talk with them and ask the coach for a substitution, allowing them to calm down. What is the right thing to do?
Coach Gianni

There could be certain disagreements among teammates during a soccer match. It is true that any type of disagreement among players creates a bad feeling for everyone. And the bad feeling gets worse when a disagreement develops into a verbal argument and even worse when it escalates to the point of fighting.

Most simple disagreements are resolved in a nice manner by another teammate or the coach almost immediately and the referee does not have to get involved.
In cases where there is verbal argument between two teammates the referee could issue a caution (yellow card) to both players because in his opinion they are guilty of unsporting behavior.

I am assuming in this case the term "fighting" denotes some king of physical exchange, - not just a verbal exchange of words or a simple disagreement. So, fighting in this manner would be interpreted according to the law of the game as "violent conduct".
Violent conduct in soccer is defined when a player is guilty of aggression towards another person. In such a case the ball can be in or out of play and the aggression can occur on or off the field of play as we can see from the International Football Association Board decision 1 listed below.

Decision 1 of the IFAB states that "A player who commits a cautionable or sending-off offense, either on or off the field of play, whether directed towards an opponent, a teammate, the referee, an assistant referee or any other person, is disciplined according to the nature of the offense committed".

Law 12 states that "A player is sent off and shown the red card if he is guilty of violent conduct".
Therefore the correct decision in the scenario given above would be sending-off both players for violent conduct.

Ref. Vangelis

November 30

Dear Ref. Vangelis,

Last week I asked you what happens when 2 players from the same team have a fight during the game. Aside from the bad feeling it gave me, a friend said that the right thing to do was to give both a red card. Another said a yellow card and still others said just to talk with them and ask the coach for a substitution, allowing them to calm down. You already told us what the right thing to do is. How do you restart the game after such an incident? Coach Gianni

Answer: Law 12 states that "an indirect free kick is awarded to the opposing team if a player, (in the opinion of the referee) commits any other offense, not previously mentioned in Law 12, for which play is stopped to caution or dismiss a player".

All the offenses mentioned in law 12 are committed against an opponent and not against a teammate. Therefore, assuming that the referee stopped the game to administrate the dismissal of both players in the incident described in the question above, the proper restart would be an indirect free kick awarded to the opposing team at the spot where the offense occurred (except special circumstances mentioned in law 8 for the goal area).

Also, Law 5 states that the referee "is not obligated to take action immediately against players guilty of cautionable and sending-off offenses, but he must do so when the ball next goes out of play".

In such a case the referee allows play to continue until the ball is out of play for whatever reason. Then the referee addresses the incident and restarts the game accordingly with a direct free kick, indirect free kick, throw in, goal kick, corner kick or whatever the proper restart is for the reason the ball was out of play when play was stopped.

Also, please keep in mind that when it comes to violent conduct, the restart of a game can be very complicated because the law varies as far as to the location and the time of the incident as well as who are the people involved and whether the law mentions specific punishment or not for them.

Ref. Vangelis

Posted on 23 Nov 2005 by coachgianni
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