Whenever I recall the reading of advice from the recent article in Soccer America, for whom incidentally I used to write in the seventies, when Clay Berling was the editor of the magazine he founded in 1971, I still get a little steamed, like my daughters' dogs:
It is incomprehensible to me that someone could referee for more than thirty years, through more than 8000 indoor and outdoor games, and still not absorb a principal tenet of officiating. How did he miss that refereeing is based upon enforcing a set of rules which are the same for all participants? How did he come to believe that he could make up his own laws?
No matter, I have written to Soccer America suggesting they correct the egregious error, and I promised you I would explain how you can deal with a flag that you don't need or want. The technique is still sound, even in these days of radio communication among the three or four or six or however-many officials (when is the increase going to end?)
Attacker who played the ball chases after it and continues dribbling as his team-mate stops. Player with the ball rounds the goalkeeper and scores into the empty net. Referee turns to return to midfield; assistant referee stands on the touchline. Defenders rush to the referee shouting about the flag.
They all scream, "What about the f*****g flag? It was offside! Didn't you see the f*****g thing?"
The way-cool referee then says: "No, no, no, fellers! He wasn't calling offside. He was flagging for a foul by a defender." Nobody can argue with that, can they?
A collective "Oh?" resounds across the pitch as the referee continues his run up field for the kick-off.
Discussion ends, and order is restored without corrupting the game. The legitimate goal stands.
And the moral of the story is this: The all-seeing Great Referee In The Sky allows an official to tell a lie during play if it is necessary for peace and order on the field.