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S Smith

Wow! I watched that live and didn't notice that at all. When you point it out, it's obvious. Can you be more precise by what you mean by "deeper?"


I assume by "deeper position" you mean on or near the endline (different angle), rather than closer to the touchline (wider angle)?

Great blog, and always great advice. I appreciate it.

Dennis Wickham

Thank you for discussing this: another example how the more treacherous foul often occurs off the ball.

Given the positioning, perhaps the Fourth Official could have used his recently confirmed power to inform the referee about the bear hug.

Won Gee

Ed, I have two questions for you. What is your course of action if you, as the 4th official, observe the hold on the defender? If the Nigeria coach was complaining to you about the hold on his defender how would you respond?

Brian Smith-White

Two immediate questions. First, why doesn't USSF have some sort of instruction material with something similar to the instruction provided to the NASL officials? It doesn't have to be of the actual Tampa Bay Rowdies event - I am sure that any collection of current MLS/MNT players and at least one current coach could provide the demonstration. There probably could be one made every couple of years just so irrelevant things like hair style, uniform styles, ... don't interfere with the viewing. This DVD/tape would be part of every 8->7, 7->6, 6->5 upgrade clinic. Second, Wolfgang Stark followed the instructions on referee position outlined in the current LOTG - presumed to be the best of the best. If the fundamental flaw in those instructions has been known for so long, why are the flawed instructions promulgated from the very top?

Ed Bellion

4th official: Perhaps he could be involved under the new proposals, but because he is so far away, in this case, there is no credibility for him.
Stock answer to coach: referee is closer than both of us!

Positioning: They are just recommended positions. But referees act as though they are mandated. As I have written many times, their main concern is being too deep in case of a sudden breakaway. I rebut that idea with two points. 1. The breakaway from such corners and free kicks is a low % event. Most often the ball goes out or it caught by the keeper. Count them for yourselves. 2. Modern referees should be able to sprint the extra 20 yds the few times it is needed. The new physical test involves repeated sprints. Why test it and then not use it? Summary: what is happening in the present is more important than what may happen in the future. In other words the known is known, the unknown is not.

Other than what we have written, we don't understand these positional instructions.

Ed Bellion

We are pleased that FIFA has agreed with our assertion that this goal should have been disallowed.

Does anyone think that they read this blog???

Now if only we can get them to agree to let the referees vary their positions at these set plays!


I just want to say thank you to both of you for doing this. I print each of your write ups and watch the games that I have recorded. So much learning!

Thank you for doing so much for the beautiful game. What I would do to get my hands on a couple of your games.

Fair Play! From Yokosuka, Japan.


Ed, brilliant commentary. Thanks for sharing this - I felt like the only one to see this. The CBC commentator is unfortunately pretty useless.

The link above doesn't seem to be working.

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