Wednesday, June 22, 2022

Advantage signal

When you give an advantage, when should you give the signal? Is it while you are thinking about giving an advantage? Or is it while you are waiting and seeing if it materializes? Or is it after it actually materializes?

The best practice is to give a signal when an advantage actually materializes. This will prevent an awkward sequence of the referee giving a signal only to call the original foul. Instead, keep observing and asking yourself if an advantage is a better option than a free kick without giving a signal. Once an advantage materializes, then give a signal.

Friday, June 10, 2022


Do you know what the LOTG say about body language? One may think body language is used to explain a decision. But if you look at the Practical Guidelines, you will see otherwise. However, you can use body language to help control the game or show authority.

In the video below, the referee gives a yellow card for persistent offences. He points at several locations on the field where the player has committed fouls. The referee's gesture was not just to tell people what the reason of the card was. But he was able to show everyone on and around the field that he was in charge. He was keeping track of fouls. Nothing would go unnoticed.

So this may be a small gesture but is a meaningful one to help maintain control of the game.

Wednesday, June 8, 2022


In this video, you can refresh your memory about what makes a DOGSO. In 70 seconds, you will be a DOGSO expert!

Friday, May 27, 2022

Holding and DOGSO/SPA

When a holding offence is the reason for a DOGSO/SPA decision, when we take our snap shot becomes very important. If it is a kicking offence, the foul is just a moment. But with a holding offence, the foul can continue for a second or even more. By the time the attacker is on the ground, they have been slowed down significantly by the hold. 

As a result, if we take our mental snap shot as the attacker is going down, then the defenders around the attacker may appear a lot closer than they were when the holding offence actually happened. This means that if the referee's mental snap shot of the tactical offence is even a split scond too late, then the situation may look like a SPA. If the referee's mental snap shot of the tactical offence is at the actual moment of the foul, then the situation may look like a DOGSO.

Especially when the referee faces a counterattack, they are too focused on catching up with play or on the ball and its vicinity. They fail to scan the field to understand where the defenders are when the foul actually occurs. 

Tuesday, May 24, 2022


Sometimes it can be difficult to know the difference between a player jumping at an opponent and a player being undercut. 

One of the ways to tell the difference includes observing who initiates contact. If it is a jumping-at offence, the player in the air is moving toward the opponent. If it is an undercut, you will notice that the player who is on the bottom moving their body to the opponent.

In this video below, you will see a defender slighly moves his body to the lower half of the attacker's body. The force is relatively small. But when a body is in the air, it does not take much force for it to lose balance. This is an example of an undercut offence.

Wednesday, May 18, 2022

Don't let your guard down

Sometimes we are so focused while the ball is in play. As soon as the ball is out of play, we let our guard down. But bad things can happen even when the ball is out of play.

Watch the clip below. The game is 0-2 with about 20 minutes left. The white team that is down by 2 goals will score. Now they are only a goal behind. What do you think will happen? An eager attacker will try to put the ball back in play quickly. He would go grab the ball out of the goal. We have all seen it. The eager attacker and a frustrated GK isn't a good combination. Keep your eyes on this priority area.

To be fair, on this game, there was an injured player who was ready to come back to the game waiting by the AR2 touchline. But what do you think is the priority? The game was already stopped. 

Monday, May 16, 2022


Some offside decision are tight. Some are not. Regardless, if you are not properly aligned with the offside line, you may incorrectly give or not give offside.

In the video below, the attacker was onside by 1.2 meters (about 4 feet). The AR was misaligned by 1.0 meter (about 3 feet). But because the AR was ahead of the offside line, it looks like the attacker was offside. Consequently, the AR raised his flag and the referee called offside. Had the flag stayed down, the attacker would have had a 1v1 situation against the GK.

Remain focused. Use your agility, speed, and anticipation to remain in line with the offside line.

Sunday, May 8, 2022

Who initiated contact?

When we talk about considerations, we often do so to discuss if an offence deserved a red card or a yellow card. We seldom talk about considerations to determine if a foul has occured? We sometimes take it for granted that we know what a foul is. But do we really?

Also, when a player is hurt after they fouled an opponent, we are sometimes misled to believe that the player who is hurt received a foul. We cannot use "who is more hurt?" as a consideration to determine who fouled.

In the video below, a player who is hurt more actually initiated contact. The black team defender fairly plays the ball and receives contact from the white attacker. The referee, unfortunately, gave a free kick for the white attacking team. 

"Who initiated contact?" is an important consideration for us to use to determine who fouled.


Thursday, April 7, 2022


We have written a few enrtries on teamwork and offside. Here is another example.

The video is unclear if the attacker was in an offside position at the moment of the last touch on the ball by his teammate. So the video does not have evidence to say that the goal was legal or not. However, for instructional purposes, pretend he was in an offside position when the ball was last touched by his teammate.

A good AR should be able to recognize that the ball, the attacker, and the GK were so close together that an offside offence (i.e. interfere with an opponent, or IWO) has happened. The referee in the middle is also expected to recognize that an offence has happened. If you are the referee, you would not know if the attacker was onside or offside. So you would just have the information that there was a possible IWO. Once your AR tells you the attacker was in an offside position, you would put two pieces of the puzzle together and disallow the goal. If the AR says the attacker was onside, you give the goal.

This is a great example of how important teamwork might be on a critical decision like this. Remember, we are only assuming the attacker was offside. We have no evidence from this video alone if the attacker was truly onside or offside. Therefore, this is not any commentary whatsoever on this referee crew.

Tuesday, March 29, 2022

Advantage on DOGSO

It is rare to give an advanatge on a DOGSO or even on any red-card sitution. But it happens. Below is a clip of a DOGSO situation where the referee gives an advantage and a goal is scored soon after. This was a great decision by the referee.

Just remember that because an advantage was given, the referee needs to give a caution before the kickoff.

Friday, March 25, 2022

Injury Management

If you suspect a serious injury, just stop the game. You may also consider the location of the injury. If you have an injured player lying motionless on the ground in front of the goal, you have even more reasons to stop the game right away.

In the video below, you will see two players from the same team ending up on the ground for suspected head injuries. They are in front of the goal inside the penalty area. If the attack continues, it will be very dangerous. These injured players are on the ground and they could easily be stepped on, etc. causing additional injuries. If the ball possession changes and the defending team becomes the attacking team, you are allowing them to take advantage of suspected serious injuries in order to create a numerical advantage. 

This means beyond the fact that we need to attend to serious injuries, there is nothing to be gained by the referee crew by allowing the play to continue. 

Thursday, March 24, 2022

Offside and teamwork

Who makes an offside decision? Is it the AR? Or is it the Referee? Or is it both?

The AR is the one that raises their flag so you may think offside is on ARs. You may have also heard a pre-game discussion in which the referee says, "Leave PK decisions to me and I will leave offside decisions to you."

But in order to get any decision correctly, we need good teamwork. Below, you will see a video in which a defender clearly kicks the ball to an attacker who is in an offside position. It is not impossible for the AR to see it but it is still quite difficult because the AR is paying attention to the offside line and the last play is far from him. Furthermore, there was also an attacking teammate near the ball. But the referee had a good view of the entire sequence. Therefore, the referee is expected to know who played the ball last.

If the crew have comms, the referee needs to annouce to their AR that the ball was last played by the defender so that the AR would not raise their flag. If they don't have comms, it is completely understandable that the AR raises their flag but the referee is expected to wave them down.

Tuesday, March 15, 2022

Injury and misconduct

When you have both an injury and misconduct happen at the same time, which do you take care of first? If you take care of the injury first, you may allow mass confrontation to happen. But if you take care of the midconduct happen, you are leaving the injured player unattended.

What is the best course of action? Watch the video below to review some of the considerations to decide your priority.