The Head Referee is asked a lot of questions about the application of the Laws of the Game. Often, the questions repeat. Some of our better answers are listed here in the hopes that they may educate readers about some fine points of the Laws.
Law 3 -- The Players
AM I ALLOWED TO QUESTION THE REF ABOUT A CALL AND ASK HIM TO WATCH FOR AGGRESSIVE PLAYING?
By Law, coaches are permitted to be at the match to provide tactical coaching ("Emily and Suzi -- switch positions" not "Shoot now, pass, pass, shoot") and positive encouragement to the players. Some referees, while normally very nice people--just like most coaches--tend to get a little edgy when questioned about calls by someone not a referee or an assessor. Surely coaches would not appreciate it if the referee were to come up after the game and ask why the coach had instructed the players to do something that allowed the opponents to score the winning goal. (USSF May 8, 2005)
Generally, if you’re nice and not threatening, referees will listen to coaches. What is difficult for you is that probably more than half your refs are youth. This is necessary not because we don’t have enough adults for your games, we generally do, but we must grow new referees for the game. An adult approaching a youth can be very intimidating and with limited people skills they may instantly feel threatened and response negatively.
I DON’T HAVE TO GIVE THE REF A COPY OF MY SFL ROSTER, DO I?
SFL Rules: II.C.8.a. The referee may also request a copy of each team’s approved roster. If either team does not have a roster available when requested by the referee, then the referee may declare a forfeit with the team not having a roster being assessed the forfeit. (partial...)
IN MY U08 MATCH THE OTHER TEAM WAS USING A GOALKEEPER AND THE REF DID NOT STOP IT
For U08s, they are NOT permitted to have a GK. That means no player can have a jersey different from the rest and they are not permitted to handle the ball in their own penalty area. Where they stand is up to them, not the referee. If a coach wants to put a player in front of a goal, he can. Other than enforcing the required distance and positions on kicks (both players in their own half for a kickoff) referees cannot tell players where they must stand.
Law 4 -- Players’ Equipment
can u tape an earing up durning a soccer match if the person can not take it out or will you tell them to take it out or not play?
USSF answer (April 2, 2003):
Law 4 - The Players’ Equipment states very firmly in its very first paragraph: "A player must not use equipment or wear anything which is dangerous to himself or another player (including any kind of jewelry)." This means that all items of jewelry are normally considered dangerous. There are only two permissible exceptions to the ban on jewelry: medicalert jewelry that can guide emergency medical personnel in treating injured players and certain religious items that are not dangerous and not likely to provide the player with an unfair advantage.
Taping earrings should not be permitted by any referee, as there is still the danger of injury to the player. Taping does not negate "must not . . . wear. . . any kind of jewelry."
* * * * *
One player on each team was asked to put their shinguards inside of their socks. A parent demanded to know where it said his daughter had to wear her shinguards inside her socks. He said that she had been wearing them that way for three years and that the shinguards bothered her legs. "
4.1 WEARING UNIFORMS
It is implicit in the Law that each side wear a distinctively colored jersey, that shorts and socks be uniform for each team, and that the uniforms be distinguishable from the uniforms worn by the other team. Players’ jerseys must remain tucked inside their shorts, socks must remain pulled up, and each player must wear shinguards under the socks.
This has also been posed in the USSF Ask a Referee website:
SOCKS AND SHINGUARDS
In regard to shinguards, if the players socks are long enough to pull up, put shinguard on, and completely cover with remaining socks legal, or should the shinguards touch the skin under socks?
USSF answer (April 16, 2001):
Law 4’s requirement for "a reasonable degree of protection" must be coupled with the Law’s stress on safety: "A player must not use equipment or wear anything which is dangerous to himself or a! nother p layer." If, in the opinion of the referee, the shinguards do not afford the requisite protection or they could be considered dangerous to the player who wears them, the referee’s action is clear: that player may not be permitted to play until the illegal equipment has been corrected.
The concept of safety suggests that the greatest portion possible of the player’s shin is covered by the shinguard. In fact the shinguard is intended to be worn under the sock and that there are various reasons for this -- it ensures that the shinguard stays covered, cushions and contact between the leg and other players (where the hard material in the shinguard could scrape or abrade), and helps in keeping the shinguard on the leg.
* * *
FOOTBALL/BASEBALL CLEATS IN SOCCER
I clearly remember in the this years re-cert class that baseball cleats are legal in USSF if they are safe; unsafe in my opinion would be metal or if the front stud sticks out farther then the others. I did not want to disagree with the ref and tell him I was a ref and he was wrong as it was his game but I would like to have a better understanding for future to tell this parent if they need to get new cleats and I can address it with the club and the assigner.
USSF Answer (March 26, 2008):
It is illegal to play soccer in football or baseball cleats of the traditional sort with toe cleats, even if the toe cleats are cut off. There is no documentation on this, other than the requirement that players' equipment must be safe for them and all participants. Traditional football and baseball cleats are unsafe and not permitted in soccer games. In any event, the final decision rests on the opinion of the referee.
Law 9 -- Ball in and out of Play
ALSO THE REF WOULD CALL THE BALL OUT OF BOUNDS AFTER THE PLAYER WHO HAD CLEARLY GONE OUT OF BOUNDS WITH THE BALL WAS ALREADY @20 YARDS FROM WHERE THE BALL WENT OUT. THIS HAPPENED SEVERAL TIMES WITH BOTH TEAMS. NOW UNLESS THE WHITLE BLOWS I HAVE TOLD MY GIRLS TO PLAY UNTIL YOU HEAR A WHISTLE..IS THIS CORRECT???
From the USSF Ask a Referee site (June 7, 1999) -- By the time they are 10 or 11 years old, players should know that the game continues until the referee stops it or the ball passes outside the boundaries of the field. Coaches are constantly screaming, "Play the whistle!"
When a ball is clearly out a whistle should not be necessary for this age group. But if it is doubtful that it is or was out, the ref will need to use a signal, usually a whistle.
Law 14 -- Penalty Kick
ALSO THE REF INFORMED MY GOALIE THAT SHE HAD TO STAY ON THE WHITE LINE DURING THE PENALTY KICK. IS THIS PROPER?? I KNOW THAT IF SHE HAS THE BALL IN HER POSSESION AND WAS TO TAKE ONE STEP BACK OFF THE WHITE LINE THEN YES IT WOULD COUNT AS A GOAL. SO I TELL MY GOALIE TO STAY 2 STEPS UP FROM THE WHITE.....BUT THE REF TOLD HER TO STAND STILL ON THE LINE.
At the taking of a PK the GK must be on the goal line and cannot move forward until the ball has been kicked. They can, however, move laterally. Once the ball has been kicked they can move forward.
Law 15 -- The Throw-In
IS A ONE-ARM THROW LEGAL?
My son is 10 and he plays on a select U11 team and has been playing soccer for 5 years. At age three he lost his left arm below the elbow, and has always thrown the ball in with his one hand. We have taught him to throw the ball over his head and keep his elbow in front of him (not off to the side like a goalie throw). Last weekend we played in a tournament and made it to the championship game. We played the home team so it was a very exciting game, at halftime we were up 2-1, the other coach came over to the referee and our coach and said if my son continued to throw in the ball they would protest.....is this legal, can they protest because my son has only one hand to throw in the ball.
USSF answer (August 29, 2003): A player who lacks the normal use of one or both hands may nevertheless perform a legal throw-in provided the ball is delivered over the head and provided all other requirements of Law 15 are observed. The concept is that the thrower makes a best effort to conform to meet the requirements of the Law. With one single caveat, any intelligent referee will allow people without the full use of both arms to take a throw-in without punishing them for not using both hands. The caveat: the referee must ensure that the one-handed throw is balanced and does not result in too much one-handed giving an unfair advantage to the thrower’s team.