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Referee Crew Teamwork

El Hadji Diouf ..complains to the Assistant Re...

El Hadji Diouf complains to the Assistant Referee! (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

At the November meeting of the SRANJ, State Referee Emeritus Barry Towbin provided a presentation on referee crew teamwork. He led a discussion of the referees in the room around several topics critical to successful referee teamwork. Barry challenged referees in the room with questions and used their answers as well as their comments and questions to augment his presentation.

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The Foul of Handling

(Photo credit: Newscom via everyjoe.com)

At the October meeting of the SRANJ, Alan Brown, NJ State Director of Assessment, provided a clinic on handling, or “hand balls”. He described the wording in Law 12 and then the guidance for how referees should apply it. He stated that referees must first determine whether handling has occurred, then, if it did, where it occurred (for the restart) and whether misconduct was involved. He used video clips to make the following points: Read the rest of this entry

SIAPOA: USSF Guidelines on Serious Foul Play

Red Card!

Red Card! (Photo credit: Stéfan)

With the Nani send-off in the Man U-Real Madrid UEFA Champions League match on March 5, it may be a good time to review the criteria for judging Serious Foul Play. The following was originally published by US Soccer in its “Week in Review” series on May 6, 2010.


Red Card Challenges: Endangering the Safety of the Opponent and Excessive Force

Match officials must be constantly diligent in their effort to ensure player safety and deal with incidents of 100 percent misconduct. For example, referees must be able to successfully identify those situations that clearly meet all criteria for endangering the safety of the opponent and the use of excessive force (both components of red card challenges). To assist officials with deciphering red card tackles, U.S. Soccer has established the SIAPOA criteria:

  • Speed of play and the tackle
    The faster the tackler is moving, the greater the force and likelihood of endangering the safety of the opponent. Additionally, speed also equates to less control of the challenge and the less likely the attacker can cleanly win the ball.
  • Intent
    The intent of the tackler. Was the tackle intended to send a message or to cleanly win the ball?
  • Aggressive nature
    Did the tackler lunge for the ball with one or both feet? Consideration should be given to the distance between the attacker and the tackler at the time the tackler leaves his feet. The further the distance, the less control the tackler has of his actions and the less likely the tackler is to play the ball. Are cleats up and exposed to the opponent?
  • Position of the tackler
    In particular, his legs (height of the tackler’s leading leg and the follow-up action by the tackler’s trailing leg).
  • Opportunity to play the ball
    Was the ball within playing distance? Or, was the ball already past the tackler at the time the tackler’s feet came in contact with the opponent. Tackles from behind and from the side (outside of the peripheral vision of the attacker with the ball) increase the likelihood contact will need to be made with the attacker prior to playing the ball.
  • Atmosphere of the game
    Referees must consider the overall temperature of the match and the player in question. Has an aggressive attitude been displayed to that point? Is frustration amongst or between the players evident?

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The Virtues of the Slow Whistle

English: Marouane Fellaini for Everton

English: Marouane Fellaini for Everton (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The February 2 match with Aston Villa at Everton was exciting, with Everton erasing a two-goal deficit. Fellaini’s goal in added time that leveled the match was an example of the virtues of a slow whistle, especially in the Penalty Area.

In the 90th+3 minute, Everton was awarded a corner kick. Referee Michael Jones had previously dealt with several Everton/Aston Villa dust-ups on set pieces. He was monitoring activity just inside the PA. Everton was using a basketball-style screen to free up attackers rotating to goal. After the first Everton player rotated in, Jones was focused on some minor shoving in the area of the screen. Everton #7 (Jelavic) then rotated through the same screen towards the far post, marked by Aston Villa #6 (Clark). When Jelavic cut towards the near post, Clark, having lost a defensible position, shoved him with two arms from behind, knocking him to the ground.

From the camera angles, it appeared to be a clear foul, and within the view of Jones. Clark demonstrated the classic hands in the air of the offender. Jelavic did not show any obvious signs of a dive, and quickly tried to get to his feet as the ball approached, as the push occurred with the ball in the air. Some referees would have awarded a penalty kick at that moment. Jones did not.

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