The Language of the Laws

Referee & Madlung

Referee & Madlung (Photo credit: Kate_Lokteva)

Over the first few weeks of the season I have had the opportunity to observe or work with several dozen referees. Each had strengths as well as areas for additional development, as we all do. One of the more common areas for improvement is verbal communications. This is also one of the easiest areas to improve – but it takes a little effort!

As referees, we can be our own worst enemies by the words we choose to communicate. For example, after a coach complains that his player was pushed, having been illegally charged from behind, we should not say “It wasn’t a foul because the player did not use her hands.” If you did not see the charge to the back, simply say that, but advise the coach you will watch for it (and watch for it!).

Above is an obvious example of digging yourself a hole. There are other situations, however, that can best be avoided by using the “Language of the Laws”. Examples:

Read the rest of this entry


IFAB Decision on Head Scarves

From US Soccer:


The International Football Association Board (IFAB) has completed its evaluation of how to implement its decision to allow headscarves to be worn under certain conditions.

As this is a temporary measure and subject to change based on reported experiences, it is not at this time being made part of the Laws of the Game, but FIFA has issued a directive with the following guidelines which are in effect immediately.

Law 4 – The Players’ Equipment

The headscarf must

  • be of the same color as the jersey
  • be in keeping with the professional appearance of the player’s equipment
  • not be attached to the jersey
  • not pose any danger to the player wearing it or any other player (e.g., opening/closing mechanism around neck)
  • only be worn by female players

U.S. Soccer’s Advice to Referees

  • The phrase “same color as the jersey” can be expanded to mean the same main color as the jersey
  • The inspection for safety of any headscarf should be focused on the objective of allowing the scarf to be worn unless it is clearly unsafe and cannot be made safe
  • This language confirms that male players cannot wear headscarves under any circumstances

Welcome to the SJ Soccer Leagues North Area Assignor Site

A web site to share information of interest with referees in my referee pool. Unless specifically quoted from authoritative sources, information represents the opinion of the author. For authoritative answers to questions, please visit the “Ask a Question” feature on – the official site of the New Jersey State Referee Committee.