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2011 Referee Week in Review

The ussoccer.com Referee Week in Review is designed to address the issues facing referees at all levels by using video highlights from professional games as well as the U.S. National Teams. The Referee Week in Review will highlight specific areas of focus and current U.S. Soccer initiatives designed to improve performance and aid in the development of officials across the country.

Referee Week in Review – Week 29

The Situation: Kansas City and Columbus are tied 0-0 in the 14th minute of play.

The Play: The Kansas City attacker dribbles towards the defender at the top of the penalty area. The attacker attempts to get around the Columbus defender and is fouled during the process.

The Decision: The referee is in a good position to view the play and awards the penalty kick. He does not issue a yellow card to the defender for the foul.

My Take: As discussed in the position paper, a troubling pattern has been observed in recent years regarding the issuance of cautions for actions occurring in a team’s penalty area which result in the giving of a penalty kick. Too often, cautions are being given solely because the penalty kick was awarded. Showing a card in these circumstances, regardless of the color, does not make the penalty kick more justifiable. Here we see the referee correctly award the penalty kick for a careless foul and he properly does not show a yellow card in an attempt to further justify his decision.

The Laws of the Game: Law 12 details the various direct free kick offenses that lead to a penalty kick when committed in the penalty area while also covering the definitions used to define misconduct. The most recent position paper, Penalty Kick and Hiding Behind the Yellow Card is available for download by clicking here.

The Situation: Philadelphia and D.C. United are tied 0-0 in the fourth minute.

The Play: A long ball is played directly to a Philadelphia forward making a run towards the penalty area. The ball deflects off a D.C. United defender and falls into the path of another Philadelphia attacker who was in an offside position at the time the ball was initially played. This player then pounces on the loose ball and scores.

The Decision: Play is allowed to continue and the goal stands.

My Take: When the ball is played, one of the forwards is in an offside position. The assistant referee is in a good initial position and then does well to stay with the play but players are blocking his line of visionmaking itdifficult to see that the ball deflected off the defender. Because the attacker in an offside position played the deflected ball, the goal scorer should have been called offside.

The Laws of the Game: Law 11 states that a player is “gaining an advantage” when playing a ball that rebounds to him off a goalpost or the crossbar having been in an offside position or playing a ball that rebounds to him off an opponent having been in an offside position.

Michael Kennedy is a current MLS referee and has officiated in the league since its founding in 1996. In addition to serving as a professional referee, he has also represented U.S. Soccer as both a FIFA referee and assistant referee.

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