Tuesday, November 29, 2022


We have had some confusion so let's make it clear. 

- A GK inside their own penalty area handles the ball that was deliberately kicked to them by their own teammate (so-called "passback") and denies an obvious goal scoring opportunity, denies an obvious goal, or stops a promising attack. In this case, a card is not issued.

- A GK inside their own penalty area plays the ball for the second time after a restart (so-called "double touch") and denies an obvious goal scoring opportunity, denies an obvious goal, or stops a promising attack. In this case, a card is issued.

The video below is slightly different. In this case, the GK handled the ball that was deliberately kicked to him outside his penalty area. Therefore, the referee's decision to issue a red card for DOGSO was correct.

Wednesday, November 16, 2022

AR Mechanics

When it comes to mechanics and body language, simple is the best. You may see a professional or international official deviating from what the law book says, but don't learn anyone's bad habit. In the video below, you can review the importance of simply following the mechanics prescribed in the LOTG.

Thursday, October 27, 2022


According to Law 12, a caution for dissent may be given for dissent by word or action. While dissent by word may not be easy to catch from afar (you may not hear it), dissent by action is very clear.

Watch the video below. Would you give a caution for dissent by action? Or would you manage without a caution?

Friday, October 14, 2022

Mechanics of giving a card

Have you had a referee mentor who told you that you should isolate the player to whom you are giving a card? Do you know why?

It's important to make it to clear to everyone who is getting a card. Even if you are not refereeing with 80,000 fans, team officials watching the game from 40 yards away need to know who just received a card. The ARs also need to know. If ARs write down a wrong number, you may have a situation where the referee gives a second caution send-off to someone who has only received one yellow card. Or the referee may not give a second caution send-off to a player who actually received their second caution in the same game.

Watch the video clip below. Do you know who received the card?

Saturday, October 8, 2022

Injury Management

What do you do when you suspect a player is seriously injured? The answer is easy. Just stop the game. In the video below, the player is hurt but at first, it is not very clear how seriously she was hurt. Fortunately, the ball goes out of touch and the game is stopped. The referee correctly identified that the player needed some assistance.

Oftentimes players go down because of collision. But some other times, they may go down without any apparent contact from another player. The latter case, even though there was no contact, could be serious. There are times when the situation is more serious when a player goes down alone than because of contact from an opponent.

So if you see a player go down without any contact from another player, be extra cautious. The player may need assistance more than we imagine.

Sunday, October 2, 2022


One may think that the job of an AR is the ball in and out and offside. But ARs play a vital role especially when the referee is caught behind and ends up significant far from play. In the video below, the referee is extremely far from a possible foul incident. In this situation, the AR is the only one that can make a credible decision. 

It is important to note that during this counterattack, there was no imminent offside decision for the AR to make. There was not going to be any ball in-or-out decision, either. This means that the AR's focus must be 100% on the play itself. The AR is now the "referee" who happens to be on the touchline. 

AR's focus and involvement is critical in making a correct decision.

Wednesday, September 21, 2022

Priority and Player Management

We have 22 players to worry about on the field. So our job is not easy. We have to prioritize. As we know, 2-0 is not a very safe situation for the winnig team. The team without a goal can easily come back and tie or even win the game. The temeprature of the game is higher if there are fewer than 10 minutes left.

So as the referee, we need to think about where need to focuses so that we can manage players well. Watch the clip below. The referee's focus was with the player who was going to take a FK. In the meantime, over 20 yards away, a group of players started extracurricular activities.

Friday, September 9, 2022

Downgrading DOGSO

There once was a time when all DOGSO ended up with a red card. But not any more. If there was a DOGSO offence inside the penalty area and if there was an attempt to play the ball, the red card is downgraded to a yellow card. But if the offence was handball or there was no attempt to play the ball (such as holding, pushing, and pulling), then a red card is still given. So it is very important for the referee to know what the foul was. "It looks like a foul so I will just give a PK" is not good enough. 

Watch the video clip below and consider what color card the referee should give.

Wednesday, September 7, 2022

SPA review

We have covered this before. So let's refresh our memories. It's about SPA (Stopping a Promising Attack). We don't have 3Ds+C (formerly known as 4Ds) like DOGSO. But we have S+S+O that we can use to help us better judge if a SPA has occured. S+S+O is not the litmus test to dertmine SPA but it is helpful.

Examine speed, space, and options. Would you give a caution for SPA in the following incident?

Tuesday, September 6, 2022


When the ball is coming toward you, you are tempted to back peddal so you would not get hit with the ball. But sometimes, because you moved backwards, you get hit. 

Watch this example. In this instance, the attacking team continues to possess the ball. But they are retreating because there are so many defenders inside and around the penalty area. In this case, it can be easily anticipated  that there would be another attack. Rather the moving backwards, adjust your body orientation to observe the play.

Thursday, September 1, 2022

Movement and Counter Attack

When there is a counter attack, the referee needs to sprint to keep up with the play. Sometimes the play may slow down for a second or two, but in most cases, the attack continues. So the referee cannot afford to slow down just because the play slowed down temporarily.

Watch the clip below. The referee had a good reaction to the start of the counter attack. However, because he slowed down with the play for a second, he ended up being over 25 meters away from the contact between the attacker and the GK.

Tuesday, August 16, 2022

Dropped ball

When you have a dropped ball, the ball is only in play after it is dropped and hits the ground. In other words, a player cannot kick the ball that has not hit the ground. Similarly, you cannot just hand the ball over to the GK. The GK, when they are the player to receive a dropped ball, is most likely going to pick up the ball anyway. But it does not mean you can just hand it over to them and call it a dropped ball.

Thursday, August 11, 2022

Positioning around the penalty area

When a defender commits a direct free kick foul around their penalty area, we must know if it happened inside or outside. If it was inside, the restart will be a PK. If it was outside, then the restart will be a FK. The difference is immense. 

Oftentimes, when the inside or outside decision is in relation to the top of the penalty area (the line parallel to the goal line), then the lead AR may be able to help the referee (of course, the AR may be too busy with an imminent offside decision). But if the question is about one of the vertical penalty area lines, the decision is 100% on the referee.

So if you suspect that there may be a challenge by a vertical penalty area line, adjust your positioning. Otherwise your inside/outside decision may not be correct.