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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 34

The Situation: Los Angeles and Real Salt Lake tied at 1-1 in stoppage time ofthe first half.   

The Play: Real Salt Lake player moves into space outside the penalty area and takes a shot on goal.  The shot passes by a teammate in an offside position and rebounds off the goal post back into play.

The Decision: Play continues before the referee whistles for the end of the half.  

My Take: When the shot is taken, we clearly see an attacking player is in an offside position.  The referee is in a good position and must now determine if the player is interfering with play.  Although in an offside position the player does not interfere with the ball and does not interfere with the goalkeeper who is able to maintain a clear view of the entire play. Based on this, the referee correctly does not penalize the player for being in an offside position and allows play to continue.

Laws of the Game:
Law 11 stipulates that a player in an offside position is only penalized if, at the moment the ball touches or is played by one of his team, he is, in the opinion of the referee, involved in active play by: 

The Situation: Kansas City and Colorado square off in the MLS Playoffs. 

The Play: The Colorado goalkeeper is wearing both a neck warmer and tights which are a different color than the main color of his jersey and shorts. 

The Decision: The referee determines that the player’s equipment does not violate the Laws of the Game. 

My Take: Items such as neck warmers and other similar clothing do not meet the definition of other equipment as defined by Law 4.  The law was also updated to require that if tights are worn, they must be the same main color as the player’s shorts.  We can clearly see that the black tights do not match the lime green color of the goalkeeper’s shorts.  These changes are outlined in the Amendments to the Laws of the Game and went into effect on July 1, 2011. 

Special Note: It is important to note that seasons not ending before July 1 are able to delay implementing changes to the Laws of the Game until the beginning of next season. 

Laws of the Game:
Law 4 explains the equipment requirements that apply to all players.  

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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