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Keith Hackett has been back to answer some more of your suggestions and questions for You Are The Ref scenarios.

Keep the submissions coming. Some of them could be used by Paul Trevillion and Keith for one of the remaining You Are The Ref scenarios.

Question from Redbourner
Side A are a goal down as the match comes to an end; the ball is heading out of play over their line, and their keeper waves at one of their substitutes - warming up by the touchline - to run onto the pitch and kick it back to him so he can take the goal kick swiftly and get the ball down the far end. The opposition's players are all in their half, sitting on their lead. What action do you take against a substitute who runs on to the pitch simply to pass the ball to the keeper? Is this even an infringement at all?

Keith Hackett's answer
The substitute player has no right to enter the field of play and therefore he would be cautioned. Interestingly in the European Championships ball boys are strategically placed around the perimeter of the field to ensure that the ball is returned quickly. I know that you think that I am been rather harsh with this decision but remember the ball could be at the feet of an opponent attempting to delay the re-start and if the substitute ran on it could be a recipe for disaster

Question from secondwoodside
Please can you tell me what the difference in obstruction is; only players seem to be able to obstruct players getting the ball when it's going out for a goal-kick but if you did the same thing in the middle of the pitch an indirect free-kick would be awarded?

Keith Hackett's answer
Well, the law changed on obstruction some years ago and now we talk about Impeding. Impeding the progress of an opponent means moving into the path of the opponent to obstruct, block, slow down or force a change of direction by an opponent when the ball is not within playing distance of either player. All players have a right to be on the field of play, being in the way of an opponent is not the same as moving into the way of an opponent. Shielding the ball is permitted. A player who places himself between an opponent and the ball for tactical reasons has not committed an offence as long as the ball is in playing distance and the player does not hold off the opponent with his arms or body. If the ball is within playing distance, the player may be fairly charged by an opponent. An indirect free-kick is awarded if the player impedes the progress of an opponent.

Another excellent question which I hope explains why in some situations a free-kick is not awarded

Question from lewishphp
A player falls theatrically to the floor after no apparant contact, clutching his face. The referee shows a yellow card for diving but when the player moves his hands the ref can now see blood pouring down his face. The player clearly wasn't diving but the ref has already shown a yellow card, what does he do? Can a ref take away a given yellow card? if not, does this mean the unfair yellow card must stand?

Keith Hackett's answer
The referee has made a judgment on what he has seen and issued a yellow card. He does have the ability to withdraw it providing play has not restarted, no doubt apologising to the player concerned and he would have to also clearly communicate this to the captains of both teams. He would also inform his colleagues through the excellent communication system that is in use, advising them and instructing the fourth official to inform both managers and the media.

However this is very poor officiating and one would not expect it to happen at the top level. The game would then be restarted with a drop ball.

Question from Hoopy_Jack
Just like the Switzerland vs. Turkey game, a game between two teams experiences heavy rainfall and the pitch has become very slippery. An overhit pass from team A's midfielder enters the penalty area along the ground and team B's goalkeeper slides along the ground so as to get the ball in his hands before any opposing strikers can get near him. However, the pitch is so wet his momentum carries him out of the penalty box, the ball still in his hands.

Do you send him off? Is it a free-kick to the opposition?

Keith Hackett's answer
Well the first question that a referee is always asking himself when the state of the pitch deteriorates is: is it safe and is the game a farce? In this situation I would award a direct free-kick to the attacking team and I would take into account the poor conditions and take no further action against the goalkeeper.

Question from Mabz_111
What would happen if 6 players were to make a circle formation around the ball and run with the ball into the opposing team's goal? Would the goal stand?

Keith Hackett's answer
NO. Wow, I think some thought has gone into that and I am not dismissing it out of hand. I would not allow this and, like Alan Sugar, I would shout "You're Cautioned", selecting at least one player and if the captain's involved he would receive it.

Question from therealluisgarcia
A defender on the line saves a header by catching the ball above his head. Before the ref can blow his whistle the defender realises his team will probably win anyway, and doesn't want to miss the next game, so he throws the ball into the net. Does he avoid a red card? Does the goal stand?

Keith Hackett's answer
Well, the defender is going to miss his next game because he has handled the ball denying an obvious goalscoring opportunity. He would be shown the red card and dismissed. My view is that I would not allow the goal and restart the game with a penalty kick.

Question from therealluisgarcia
It's muddy and the ball isn't bouncing. A defender handballs, not deliberately, and the ref blows for a free-kick. The instant the ball hits the mud it sticks, and an attacker boots it forward, straight into the net.

The defenders claim the ref needs to give a signal for the kick to be taken and so the goal should not stand. Are they right?

Keith Hackett's answer
Well the first mistake is the referee awarding a free-kick because your question states that it is not deliberate. It has to be for a free-kick or penalty kick to be awarded. The referee might also have delayed his signal for up to three seconds to determine if an advantage accrues. One of the interesting scenarios on free-kicks is that the referee has to signal the start but not necessarily by use of the whistle.

Question from jerkstore
This example really happened in a game my brother and I played in many years ago. My brother was being persistently fouled by a member of the opposition and retaliated by punching the player in the face. He was immediately red carded and left the field of play. at the end of the match my brother, clearly still annoyed with the opposition player, punched him again as the players left the field. The referee produced his red card again to our amusement, we explained that he couldn't send a player off twice but he argued otherwise. Who was right? (Incidentally, when my brother's fine arrived from the FA shortly afterwards he was only fined for one red card, presumably the referee only reported the first incident.)

Keith Hackett's answer
The danger with this scenario is that your brother was lucky not to be facing a criminal charge for assault in a court of law. That is where it is more likely to end up. He is also lucky to have the opportunity of playing again for there is a strong risk in the modern game that he would receive a sine die (total life ban) punishment.

Question from rughfire
I've got a question: A player on the defending team is in possesion of the ball at the edge of his own penalty area. He is being charged down by three players from the attacking team. Suddenly the defending player flicks the ball up in the air and heads it back to his goalkeeper who catches the ball in his arms. Is this legal within the laws of the game and how would a referee deal with this?

Keith Hackett's answer
This is legal within the laws of the game .The defender can chest it back or even use his knee. It is a deliberate pass back with the boot that is penalised.

Question from samanatta
I do not understand Keith Hackett's reply to BluestarIT about the direct free-kick being kicked into the player's own goal. Why is a goal not awarded? Please explain.

Keith Hackett's answer
The laws of the game cover this specific point with the law makers not wanting to penalise the team that has been offended against. It is a good pub quiz question.

Question from Count_G
Just something I hope people on here can clear up for me. After Poland's goal against Austria, the Beeb pundits said it should have been ruled out for offside. However, I can think of a number of situations where an attacker is standing in an offside position when the ball is played to him, but is adjudged ONSIDE if the ball deflected off a defender en-route.

In this case, the ball touched TWO Austrian players before it reached the Polish striker, my understanding therefore is that it doesn't matter that he was standing offside. Have the pundits messed up again or am I going mad?!

Keith Hackett's answer
Well I did not see the incident but the offside law was changed and a player can no longer be played on in an offside position when the ball touches a defender. For example a player who is clearly standing in an offside position in an active position will be deemed to have gained an advantage if the shot from an attacker rebounds off the goalkeeper to the forward.

Question from lawros_kit_bag
Imagine the scene: A Turkish player, in frustration, kicks the ball at, for example, Rivaldo's knees. Rivaldo then falls to the floor, clutching his face - obviously feigning an injury. Of course, you book the Turkish player, for unsporting behaviour, but can/should you also book Rivaldo for "simulation"?

Keith Hackett's answer
Yes there is no room in this game for acts of simulation and a yellow card should be issued.

Question from klose_but_no_cygan
The game is nearing its end when a player suffers from cramp and goes down near their own goal with their legs on the field and their torso off it. Suddenly, an opposition forward breaks clean through before the referee notices the injured player and the goalkeeper comes out to close him down, fouling the striker in the process. Is the goalie sent off for being the last man even though an injured player is behind him?

Keith Hackett's answer
I often hear the comment that he is the last man so he has to go! Well the denial of a goalscoring opportunity has specific criteria and you will see how that statement is incorrect. So the referee, before issuing a red card, must ask himself the following questions in a matter of seconds.

• The distance between the offence and the goal
• The likelihood of keeping or gaining control of the ball
• The direction of the play should be towards the goal
• The location and number of defenders
• The offence which denies an opponent an obvious goalscoring opportunity may be an offence that incurs a direct free-kick or an indirect free-kick.

So in your scenario it is evident that the defender behind the goalkeeper is not going to be in a position to defend so the goalkeeper is red carded and sent off.


Question from MartijnInDevon
England face Germany in the final of Euro 2008 (it's all fictional, you know). Steve McClaren has already substituted John Terry, but seeing as it is 1-1 after 118 minutes, he reckons he might need Terry for the penalty shoot-outs. McClaren has only substituted twice so far. Is he allowed to bring Terry back into the game?

Keith Hackett's answer
The law does not permit this.

Question from jonny
Why is it not obstruction to "play" the ball out for a goal kick as a defender? They're making no attempt to play the ball, so why is this not a yellow card and free-kick?

Keith Hackett's answer
The defender is allowed to shield the ball providing it remains in playing distance. This sometimes becomes very difficult towards the end of the game when a player of the team winning takes the ball into the corner area of the field. Frustration can quickly ignite into conflict. That is why the referee moves in quickly and looks to pebnalise.

Question from nnnnnnngarrrrry
One for KH (supposing he can get to it before good old lawro): please explain 'interfering with play' re: offside, and how someone off the field of play on the floor can possibly be interfering with play. Many thanks.

Keith Hackett's answer
Well I guess the first thing is to let you have a read of the Law on offside:

LAW 11 OFFSIDE

Offside Position
It is not an offence in itself to be in an offside position.

A player is in an offside position if:
• he is nearer to his opponents' goal line than both the ball and the second last opponent

A player is not in an offside position if:
• he is in his own half of the fi eld of play or
• he is level with the second last opponent or
• he is level with the last two opponents

Offence
A player in an offside position is only penalised if, at the moment the ball touches or is played by one of his team, he is, in the opinion of the referee, involved in active play by:
• interfering with play or
• interfering with an opponent or
• gaining an advantage by being in that position

No Offence
There is no offside offence if a player receives the ball directly from:
• a goal kick or
• a throw-in or
• a corner kick

Infringements/Sanctions
For any offside offence, the referee awards an indirect free kick to the opposing team to be taken from the place where the infringement occurred.

Decisions of the International F.A. Board
Decision 1
In the definition of offside position, "nearer to his opponents' goal line" means that any part of his head, body or feet is nearer to his opponents' goal line than both the ball and the second last opponent. The arms are not included in this definition.

Decision 2
The definitions of elements of involvement in active play are as follows:
• Interfering with play means playing or touching the ball passed or touched by a team-mate.
• Interfering with an opponent means preventing an opponent from playing or being able to play the ball by clearly obstructing the opponent's line of vision or movements or making a gesture or movement which, in the opinion of the referee, deceives or distracts
an opponent.
• Gaining an advantage by being in that position means playing a ball that rebounds to him off a post or the crossbar having been in an offside position or playing a ball that rebounds to him off an opponent having been in an offside position.

OFFSIDE LAW: Advice to Assistant Referees
The International FA Board (IFAB), the body who formulate the Laws, re-wrote the Offside Law and included advice which was operated for the first time in season 2005/06, its aim was to lead to fewer varying interpretations amongst officials: the Referees and Assistant Referees (Rs / ARs).

Football is all about goals being scored, with the skill of one team defeating its opponents. The attacking team must use its skill to attack, and the defending team must use its skill to defend. If the attacking team has beaten the defence, the officials should not help the defence to defend by disallowing a goal for offside, where that player who was in an offside position had nothing to do with the actual skill that beat the defence. So the term 'active' was introduced. Being in an offside position is not an offence: active or passive has to be judged.

Another consideration is the number of stoppages in the game caused by a player declared offside. How can these stoppages be minimised? The 'offside player' (OSP) has to be ignored in certain instances. Furthermore, the emphasis has to be on attacking play. Officials should favour the attacking team rather than the defence, as it has been in the past.

So the game needs fewer stoppages: fewer 'flags' for the OSP, with the AR delaying flagging, and with the emphasis on the skill of the attacking team beating the defence a prime consideration. The Laws and the IFAB's advice have to be written so that the interpretations of the officials become narrower, namely, the OSP can only be penalised if he satisfies certain conditions. In the past, the wording of the Law led to a wide and varying interpretation of what was meant by 'active'.

Law 11, International Board Decision 2, defined active play. Briefly, it requires officials to penalise the offside player if he: (1) plays or touches the ball; (2) interferes with an opponent; (3) gains an advantage. So a player who does not Play, Interfere or Gain (PIG) should not be declared offside.

In August 2005, 'playing or touching the ball' had to be clarified. There were occasions in the 2005 FIFA Confederations Cup (15th-29th June), when an Assistant Referee (AR) would wait for the OSP to play the ball. A player would chase the ball 30 yds before playing it, the AR would then flag, and the ball was then returned 30 yds for the free kick. The clarification said that the player "may be penalised before playing or touching the ball if, in the opinion of the referee, no other team-mate in an onside position has the opportunity to play the ball." So if a team-mate in an onside position ran through to beat the defence, he can play the ball before the OSP, with the OSP not penalised because of his position. The OSP is not considered active: he did not play the ball. Of course, the defenders will put their arms up in the air and appeal for offside. They have been beaten by the run of the onside player. Their appeals have to be ignored. The R/AR must not help them defend.

Also, the IFAB clarified a case for interfering with an opponent by saying that the offside attacker would be penalised "if, in the opinion of the referee, there is potential for physical contact." Obviously, if a defender is challenged by the offside attacker, and there is physical contact, then the attacker is penalised. But what does "potential for physical contact" mean? This would be when there is no actual physical contact but the defender was impaired in his playing / clearing the ball. There is no stipulation on how far away would "potential" be a consideration. However, officials should not be too negative in their interpretation. Be positive.

Another aspect of interfering relates to "clearly obstructing the opponent's line of vision" which has prevented a goalkeeper, in particular, from being able to play the ball. The R/AR are often not in a position to judge "clearly obstructing". They would have to be in line with the ball, its flight, and the goalkeeper to give an accurate decision. The AR is, more often than not, at 90 degrees to the flight, and the referee is rarely behind the ball to judge. The AR would not be wrong in flagging to indicate a player in an offside position. If an OSP is close to and in front of the goalkeeper, then the referee might consider the interference. 'Close to' is a major consideration in his judgement: the further away the OSP is, the wider becomes the angle for the goalkeeper to see the ball. A referee who penalises the OSP in this instance will be thanked by the goalkeeper. The referee is only being honest and feels that the player has distracted (i.e. interfered with) the goalkeeper.

Then there's gaining. This is clear cut. An OSP can only be penalised for gaining an advantage if he plays or touches the ball that has rebounded to him from a goal post, a crossbar, or an opponent (often the goalkeeper). So this means, an OSP can only be penalised for 'gaining' if he plays the ball from a rebound. Nothing else can be categorised as 'gaining'.

The IFAB have now made it easier for the officials to operate and interpret offside. The AR will always be looking to see if there is a player in an offside position. If yes, then he will first of all 'Wait And See' if the player has played or touched the ball. If he has not, then consider: has the player interfered? Has the defender been put off by his attempt to play the ball by "potential for physical contact"? If a defender has played the ball without any 'near contact' from an OSP that might have put him off a clearance, then don't flag. Interfering with line of vision is a minor consideration. It is very difficult to ask the officials to judge "clearly obstructing". Then finally, did he gain an advantage from a rebound? If the three answers to PIG are all 'no', then don't flag. If the answer to one of the three is 'yes', then flag. If the AR does flag, then the referee will decide whether to blow or not. He should read the game. He should not totally rely on his AR and immediately blow his whistle. Sometimes an AR will have inadvertently flagged and if the referee can keep the game flowing, then 'play on'.

With 'gaining', the AR should take a 'freeze frame' in his mind when there is, for example, a long shot for goal, so that when an attacker plays the ball from a rebound, the AR can refer to the 'freeze frame' and decide whether to flag or not.

Offside has always been in the Laws. It was intended to cut out the goal-hangers. It was called 'sneaking'. An attacker is not sneaking when the defence moves out, maybe rapidly, to catch him in an offside position. The defence is hoping the AR will defend for them and flag. But being in an offside position is not an offence, and the elements of PIG now favour the attacking team. The 'advancing defence' is a dangerous tactic to use. The AR will no longer defend for the defence.

Thanks to Mal Davies, a colleague in the Midlands who helped to put this together

Question from Mike Martin
Mr Hackett, sir,

1. In the Croatia v Turkey match, Slaven Bilic complains to you that he suspects Turkey's goalkeeper, Rustu, is actually the suspended Volkan in disguise, wearing Rustu's trademark black paint under the eyes. Not knowing either Turkish goalkeeper by sight, what action do you take?

2. Russia are awarded an indirect free-kick after Andreas Isaksson handles a back-pass from Olof Mellberg. Andrei Arshavin takes it but shoots direct for goal. On its way in, it takes a clear but slight deflection off Petter Hansson. Do you award the goal and, if so, must it be credited as an own goal?

Kindest regards.

Keith Hackett's answer
1. Well you would request to see the goalkeepers passport and some proof of identity. Reporting the matter to the authorities
2. Well you would allow the goal, the subject of who has scored the goal is for others to decide.

From lawros_kit_bag - in answer to some suggestions
- The "last man" rule is a fallacy. The rule actually says it's a red card for "denying a clear goalscoring opportunity", which, I imagine the keeper would be doing if the defender is visibly unable to move.

- Phrases like "interfering with play" and "active" can only apply to strikers in the offside rule. Therefore, unless the referee has signalled for a defending player to go off and recieve treatment, the player has to be considered to be in play, and affecting offsides.

- Basically, you cannot be penalised for "obstruction" if you are deemed to be in control of the ball- which a defender is when he sheperds the ball out.

Keith Hackett's answer
Do you want a job? You are correct with your answers.

Question from GraymeadYNWA
Can an official be sent off be sent off for violent conduct if he hits a player?

Keith Hackett's answer
Well, I do not know if this has ever happened but if it does I suggest that the game would be abandoned. The clubs no doubt will report the referee to the authorities. I guess his refereeing career is over.

Question from BognorRock
There's something I've never understood about penalties in a shoot-out. At what point exactly does the ball become dead? If, for example, a player takes his penalty, it hits the post, comes out and hits the keepers back and goes in, does it count? For a normal penalty this would obvoiusly count as a goal but surely in a shoot-out the ball is dead as soon as it hits the post?

Keith Hackett's answer
In this situation it would be a goal even though it hit the crossbar and then hit the back of the goalkeeper. Look at the law on procedures to determine the winner of a match and you will see what it states.

Unless otherwise stated, the relevant laws of the game and International FA Board decisions apply. So go back to Law 14.


Follow-up question from BlueStarIT
With regard to this scenario from royston_X: A goalkeeper holding the ball hears a whistle from the crowd replicating the final whistle. In celebration (or fury), assuming the game is over, he turns and blasts the ball into his own net. Does it stand?

I think it would depend on whether the referee also heard the whistle but the additional instructions certainly support a no-goal and a dropped ball.

Keith Hackett's answer
Bluestar - if the referee considers the whistle to be an outside interference and he had heard it then the referee would stop the match, disallow the goal and restart with a dropped ball.

Question from rocknotthe
A player taking a throw in runs up to the line and does a forward flip, landing on both feet behind the line and throws the ball a long distance from behind the head and releases it correctly. The defenders stop and complain to the ref and attacking team score. What action does the ref take?

Keith Hackett's answer
This is not in the spirit of the game and I would treat this as unsporting behaviour and caution the player.

Question from BluestarMagic
Also found this addition in the laws so the flip throw would have to be that, a flip, and not a handstand type flip throw that Steve Watson used to do for Villa and Newcastle:
"If the ball touches the ground before entering the field of play, the throw-in shall be retaken by the same team from the same position provided that it was taken in line with the correct procedure. If the throw-in is not taken in line with the correct procedure, it shall be retaken by the opposing team."

Keith Hackett's answer
The law states that he cannot kneel down or even sit down to take a throw in. I would therefore NOT ALLOW the thrower who does a handstand-type flip throw. This for me is a trick to gain an unfair advantage.

Follow-up question from benwlister
This sort of 'flip' throw happens quite regularly in high-school soccer in the USA, very effectively in some cases, and is perfectly legal.

Keith Hackett's answer
Well, I will make contact with someone I know in America and come back to you.


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