Tag Archives: Communication

Do you execute Law or Apply Law? Part 1

IFAB this summer published a new set of Laws which have been re-written so the world knows the Laws and they designed them to make our lives easier!
I’m all for an easier life but recently I had a lawyer sitting in one of my lectures and she said that the sentences stating that “a goalkeeper is considered to be in control of the ball when bouncing it on the ground or throwing it in the air” means that a goalkeeper can throw the ball 65 feet in the air and be considered to be in control.
The next sentence says: A goalkeeper cannot be challenged by an opponent when in control of the ball with the hands.
What would you do if the goalkeeper throws the ball that far in the air and is challenged by an opponent?
The reason I ask is a simple one: too many referees are stuck at Level 4 and I get told that “but the observer backed them”.
If you’re correct in Law of course the observer must back you, he cannot state incorrect Law. However, you have to ask “did the clubs back me or even understand what I was doing?
Thankfully I’ve never seen a goalkeeper throw the ball in the air to retain control, so it is safe to talk about it but the question you must ask (if you want to get on in the game as a referee) is: what do the clubs want?
In our example everybody would think the goalkeeper can be challenged fairly if throwing the ball 65 feet in the air, so if you give the goalkeeper a free kick and tell them that it is illegal to challenge the goalkeeper they will think you’re mad and punish you via your marks.
Don’t allow that – by all means give a foul on the goalkeeper and probably warn him that’s the last time “I’m getting you out of jail!”
Now you’ve applied Law correctly, you’ve not alienated the clubs and hopefully you’re on your way up. Of course, when you get on Match of the Day and they can refer to those Laws in the 6 hours between the match and the show being aired you may have to do it differently.
In the meantime, apply law throughout with a modicum of “what does the game expect?” rather than just executing Law.

Communication – a real life example!

Yesterday I wrote a blog about always restarting the game to communicate your decision. I was speaking to my RDO this morning and he backed up that philosophy with a real life example.

This game was in the seventies or eighties and it was Lincoln City versus Rotherham United. The game score was 2-3 to the away side. In the dying embers of the match Lincoln scrambled the ball into the net. The referee didn’t restart the game as Jon did on Sunday instead just blew the full time whistle.

The spectators and players were all confused as to whether it was 3-3 or 2-3 as it had been a scramble to get the ball in the net and quite conceivably the referee could have awarded a free kick.

It took an announcement over the loudspeaker system before Andy and his fellow Lincoln supporters could head home happy they’d equalised!

Restarting the game would have made the confusion go away. I’m not saying this is the total answer but it’s another weapon in your armoury.


Communication is the key

On Sunday the Tottenham versus West Ham football match at White Hart Lane finished full of tension because it ended 2-2 with Tottenham equalising from a penalty in the dying seconds.

The referee, Jon Moss, restarted the game and then promptly blew the final whistle.

Pretty straight forward – yes?


The penalty was awarded in the last minute of the five Jon had indicated to be played as “the minimum time”.

The penalty was initially saved by the West Ham goalkeeper – Adrian – and then Kane scored on the rebound. As I said the game restarted and was promptly finished by the referee.

A “barrack room lawyer” suggested to Allardyce that the game should have ended when the goalkeeper saved the original kick. This on the face of it has some mileage as the Laws cover what happens when time is extended to take a penalty kick.

Two things spring to mind here – the first is “how does Jon communicate to all of the spectators that although the ball is in the net the score is still 2-1?”

Which would be the case if the “lawyer” had his/her way!

Secondly, if the time is deemed to continue although a penalty has been awarded the conceding side would then just run down the clock, for however many minutes were left, until the penalty kick became a “penalty shoot-out kick” as they get a distinct advantage

Yesterday by the referee restarting the game with a place kick everyone knew that a goal had been scored, so no one was in any doubt.

In your games make sure that your decisions are communicated clearly, leaving no room for doubt, and this can always be achieved by allowing the next restart to happen as Jon did at White Hart Lane.