Recently a member of the A&H staff published a Law question which I’ve repeated below.
“Sergio Aguero takes a penalty. Before the penalty is taken Gary Cahill encroaches. Aguero’s penalty hits the post and Aguero gets to the rebound first. Cahill then clears the ball off of the line, over the crossbar and out of play.
The referee must:
- Award a corner kick
- Send off Cahill for DOGSO
- Retake the penalty
- Award an Indirect Free Kick to the defence for a double touch
Now there are two answers to this question!
The question is: What MUST the referee do? And the answer is obviously 3) Retake the penalty!
And that is a great question, with the correct answer.
But what do the teams expect if Cahill has “only” encroached by a metre? The answer to us as active referees on pitch 7 of the local rec is 4.
Teams expect that a small encroachment is no encroachment; therefore the double touch is the only offence, in their minds, that has been committed.
Even that will need some explaining to the great unwashed because as seen on Sunday in the international rugby match (England versus Italy) players don’t know the Laws!
If we say that refereeing is about delivering “no surprises” then we give them an Indirect Free Kick for the touching it twice before anyone else has, if we say our job is to teach them the Laws then we have a retake for the encroachment!
Now this is an extreme example and we wouldn’t dream of doing anything like this, would we?
But what happens with throw-ins in our games?
The Law states that the ball must be thrown back in where it left the field of play – do we enforce this or do we allow the players to take the throw-in where all of the players expect it from?
In other words for throw-ins do we go with answer 4) rather than 3)?
What about the simple Law about the goalkeeper can only hold the ball for 6 seconds and us applying that or where is the correct position for a defensive free-kick when both sides want to get on with it?
It is us applying the practical over the technical, isn’t it?
And that’s the real joy of refereeing, learning what we have to do in all situations to keep the game moving along to a fair conclusion as far as we’re concerned and as far as the players are concerned.