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Dustin Edwards

This isn't that surprising to me. Sometimes I get people that come up to me arguing this or that and I'm sure other referees do too, that are completely divorced from reality. It's almost if they're coming from mars or something. Example, in a youth game I had not too long ago, little 10 year old girls 8 on 8 I believe. After the game a father came up to me and protested about the way I didn't call what were to him obvious incorrect throwins. Well penalizing the throwins of little girls didn't seem like it would get me anywhere even if they were incorrect...which they absolutely were not, as proven really by his argument that the ball cannot spin. Same thing happened last night where after the game I was approached by a player complaining that I had let the goalie use the wrong colored shirt. In both cases these persons were a part of the winning team, and they were looking for some fault of mine for who knows what reason. I've also seen this arguments taken much too far, such as on MyReferee, where I just read an article of a parent arguing throwins to a referee after his sons team had just won 8-0...it almost came to blows. It seems that there is something that people are just needing to catch us in a mistake. Or it is possible that reason did reach them and they threw it aside, instead trying to find a different reason that might make them right, and end up arguing nonsensically for quite a long time.

However this example as well as my small examples bring up a further problem. People just don't know the Laws/Rules of the game. It's astonishing to me that if you care about a game you wouldn't care about knowing something about how it is played. Or if you didn't know much about it, you would pretend you did and gasp at straws for the way it outa be. People have surprised me a lot as well in their unique ability to be humble when everyone around them is yelling. Such as a coach calling me over to ask me exactly what the Law/Rule is that I applied. Sometimes they admit complete ignorance as to what I'm calling and that's admirable to me. I have a much better relationship with coaches by being this informative person rather than a coach first telling me exactly what the law is. These statements are almost always tailored to make it seem like I have done the exact opposite of what the Law is. Much like the way players load questions such as asking sarcastically if you're going to allow the other team to cheat the entire game or not.

I guess at the end of this rant I am left with praying for patience and strength to deal with such individuals. Again this brings up yet another question...are some referees just fed up? I have no idea as to the numbers of Soccer Officials and if they are in decline or not but I do know that Football officials in the US are declining fast. More people are retiring and there's no one to replace them. Is there cause to be concern about this in the Soccer community or is it not the same situation?

Pat  smith

About 30 years ago i was asked by my S.R.A. would i mind doing a ten \ear old girs game. He gave me two A,Rs I thought it was going to be a pleasant afternoon.
the game was so onesided the one team couldnt get out if the penalty area.It was 5 or 6 to zip
i started to invent fouls for the losing team just to get the ball out if the area\ The secind half started there was a foul for t he loding team at the half way line right in front of the benches.
I gave the foul.to the coach of the losing team and he went crazy
he thought i should have given the advantage to his team. I responded "Coach they cant even spell Advantage" And i said while perhaps i dont understand Advantage i do understand dissent
you are out of line and you are gone.Even my own wife said "how can you throw out a coach of a Ten
year old girls game I replied if they dont behave they dont belong.
While i took a lot of ribbing about it every thing settled down


I have long contended that enthusiasm or dedication to our game doesn't confer an understanding of the Laws. Some years ago, I occasionally administered the following True/False test to groups of coaches, with only an occasional rare expert missing as few as one or two questions.

1. Goalkeepers and players may use their cleats to scratch marks in the dirt on the field.

2. The ball should always be pumped to about 14.7 pounds per square inch (1 atmosphere) pressure.

3. Blue goalkeeper retrieves the ball and brings it back to the field for a Red throw-in or corner kick. The Red player must hold the restart until the Blue keeper has returned and is near the goal.

4. Players should wear their jerseys tucked in so that referees can see if an opponent has pulled the jersey.

5. A player (unsubstituted) who left the field for treatment of an injury may not return until play stops, and only after the referee gives permission.

6. A referee may use club linesmen to help him judge fouls and/or offside infractions.

7. The ball actually is in play for only three-fourths of the average soccer match.

8. At least one player from each team must be present at a “dropped-ball” restart.

9. Restarts are always taken on the field of play: at a designated spot or area, or at the point of an infraction, or where the ball was when the referee stopped play.

10. [Question based on the old interpretation] Red player R1 is one yard into the attacking half of the field, running near the left touchline. All Blue players except the Blue keeper are in Red’s defensive half of the field. Player R2 passes the ball into the attacking half of the field near the right touchline. R1's distance from the ball will prevent her from being judged offside.

11. Blue defender B1 twists an ankle near the Blue goal. Play is at the other end of the field. Player B1 crawls off the field over the end-line and is being treated. B1 is clearly out of play and does not affect any offside determination against his Red opponents.

12. “Dangerous play” is defined as an act that endangers any player, when committed in the presence of an opponent.

13. Defenders are supposed to be 10 yards from the point of a free kick, but referees will just tell them to move back if they are too close, especially if the kicker points out the insufficient distance.

14. If the penalty spot is under water, the ball may be placed for a penalty kick (with agreement of kicker, keeper and referee) on the ground behind the penalty spot (i.e., away from the goal.)

15. Spin on a thrown-in ball is evidence of an improper throw.

16. A goal kick may be taken from anywhere in or on the goal area, regardless of where the ball left the field.

17. The ball is properly placed for a corner kick as long as some part of it extends over (i.e., “breaks the plane” of ) the corner arc line.

© 1999, 2000, 2001 Jim Gordon


Heard an odd one recently...on a goal line scrum, the goalkeeper took possession of the ball, flat on the ground at full sprawl. The ball itself was sitting on the line (closer to being in play than in the goal). The players agreed that the ball was in play, but argued to me that it should be a goal because the goalie's feet were behind the line!

david barra

I once had a Division I college coach ask me why I hadn't stopped play because the ball had struck the corner flag post. My explanation that the ball had never left the field and was still in play despite hitting the corner flag post fell on deaf ears.

Of all the things that happened in that match that wasn't one I thought I'd get criticized for.

Jim Dyer

U-12 Girls game. Coach yells, "No offside on a punt."

Jeff Stern

At a U6 or U8 (can't remember which) game in the early 90's, I had a parent tell me that on a throw-in the player's feet must be completely outside the touchline. I said, no, they can be on the touchline. This parent had been an NASL linesman in the early 80's.

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