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Question Number: 35389

High School 3/17/2024

RE: Competative High School

George Robert Checinski of Coon Rapids, MN United States asks...

In one of my high school games:
When a ball appeared to have crossed the goal line between the posts of team A. I allowed play to continue because no call was made by the assistant referee that team B scored a goal.

On a breakaway going towards the goal of team B, player B1 committed a technical foul by pulling the shirt of player A1. As I was giving a yellow card caution to player B1, A1 punched B1 in retaliation. I awarded A1 a red card.

At that time I was notified by the assistant referee that a goal was actually scored by team B. I awarded a goal to team B and rescinded the yellow card I gave to B1 but allowed the red card to A1 stay because of the severity of the action.

Did I make the correct decision?

Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

Hi George .
Very messy, if I was the coach chances are a visit to the parking lot might be in the realm of possibilities, but technically yes, you arrived at a place where the LOTG can function.

The fact is SFP or VC is not excused due to a delayed or missed call,
No restart had yet occurred, so going back to awarding the goal and a kick off restart is now still possible making the whistle stop for the holding vanish as the DFK restart . .

Given there was no breaking up attacking play, if that was the reason for the caution, the yellow could could be rescinded. However if the if the shirt pull was unduly harsh it could be deemed reckless and allowed to stand as a unsafe USB action on its own.

The punching incident unfortunately can not be overlooked and now with a send off and playing short to also be down a goal is going to seem like a ludicrous decision given that AR should have have been screaming and waving that flag so the opposite AR might do the same for you to stop play immediately!

This incident where the AR showed NOTHING to indicate the ball had in fact completely crossed the goal line is something that simply should not occur! The TIMING issue, just when was this goal decided? How did this AR and you just happen to ignore it for so long as to have a breakaway at the other end of the FOP ?? No eye communication, no palms up, no hunched shoulders, no running up the line to the kick off spot no thumbs up or thumbs down, no flag, nothing, not a even a call out "Are we sure that was not in? " Hey we need to talk??

Just WHAT instructions in the pre game were given to PREVENT this type of self destruction to reputation and integrity? You just created a hornets nest here and while you can use the LOTG as stated to arrive at this stage of events your match just dug itself a huge hole.

Now I read your take on the events
"When a ball appeared to have crossed the goal line between the posts of team A. I allowed play to continue because no call was made by the assistant referee that team B scored a goal"

Now you are the referee and while the AR input is certainly one you consider just how was it NOT achieved?

You said you thought it was a goal. You want confirmation. LOOK at the AR and ask WAS it? Hands up palms fingers wide QUESTIONING body language, mouth the word, Goal ? yes no?

What was happening? Was it an in and out off the strut at the back , a spinning ball that reversed itself, a goal line clearance, a rebound off a save, did the keeper gather it in and hold it rolling out?

It is ok to make a mistake, no one is perfect, but we train to communicate to avoid these because it just crushes our support and respect from those watching. Never mind our own ego blow or our pointing fingers of blame at one another for allowing this to occur. If I as CR thought it was a good goal I would call it ! If I was thinking damn its close I would need a very FIRM EMPHATIC NO it was not. from my AR BEFORE I let this go! Other wise I might be awarding the goal and walk over to talk. If Wrong, it is a DB to the keeper so no big deal.

In any pregame the referee should support the ARs from any abuse and if over ruled because the CR thinks diffrent , do not take it personally. Respect the effort and work. The CR take the hits if things go south but please Eye contact, use the we need to talk signal, mirror the opposing AR ,use your body to tell the CR what you are thinking however DO NOT let the CR make a mistake that could undo all the hard work out there, Shout out if you must. If the CR or ARs get irritated so be it, but lets get the calls right, no blame ! Grass root officials must work harder because communication is not in your ear more in your awareness to what you see!

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Answer provided by Referee Jason Wright

Wow, what an incident!

Every part of your decision was correct. Well done on taking the difficult but correct action.

There's a coaching point here for an AR - first is to actually signal the goal (and typically, for a ball in-then-out scenario, it's a flag up, eye contact with the ref, then run upfield to indicate the goal is valid).

But, in the event that the signal is too late and not seen by the ref, The AR holds the flag up. If play is progressing and it's clear the flag is missed, the AR needs to try to get the ref's attention - this is when you call out. I've had some senior refs discourage an AR from shouting as they believe it seems unprofessional - but I'd argue that allowing this incident to unfold looks far worse than a shout!

The other AR can also help by mirroring the signal, as they're in the ref's view. Flag up, then upon the ref's eye contact, point to the other AR.

Moving forwards, it might be worth amending your prematch discussion to include these sort of instructions. I cover them in mine.

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Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi George
As a goal was scored play had to be brought back to the award of the goal which has a kick off restart.

Now even though play had to be brought back there is no possibility of rescinding the red card. A1 is guilty of exhibiting violent conduct and he must be disqualified from the field of play.

As to the caution for B1 there is obviously some discretion in that matter including rescinding it if it was in error. There is a side of me that says that the better decision might have been to allow both cards to stand. B1 actions must have been sufficiently unsporting to illicit a VC response and to draw the caution in the first place. B1 gets to come back on at the next substitution opportunity anyway. Having said that there is nothing incorrect in rescinding a caution assuming there was an error and it is done before the next restart.

The learning point is really around the goal award. Correct mechanics there would have prevented the whole episode with a goal signal by the AR

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Answer provided by Referee Joe Manjone

Hello George,
I believe you made the correct decisions.

The AR did not signal for the goal, so you did not blow the whistle and award the goal. The pulling of the shirt occurred after the goal was not called and would not have occurred if the goal had occurred. You then awarded the goal. These corrections are allowed by NFHS Rule 5-1-2 which states: “The officials can only correct a decision so long as the game has not been restarted.” In your situation, the game was not restarted before the corrections were made.

Although the game had not been restarted when A punched B1 and this misconduct probably would not have occurred if the goal would have been counted at the time it occurred, violent conduct cannot be condoned at any time, no matter the situation. I therefore believe you made a correct decision in awarding the red card and a disqualification. However, as the other refs pointed out, the coach of team A most likely did not agree.

During my 66 years of officiating high school soccer, I have had and seen many similar situations with the AR not signaling as needed. It is for this reason and also because it keeps older officials like me in the game longer and gets new officials in the game quicker, that I prefer the three whistle (double dual) system of officiating over the one whistle (diagonal system) when working high school games. Both systems will be extensively covered in the first ever NFHS Soccer Officials Manual that will be available to you before the 2024 high school soccer season.

I notice you used the term technical foul. This is a high school basketball term and not a high school soccer term. Perhaps, you referee high school basketball and are familiar with the three-whistle basketball system and the extensive coverage it provides.

Hopefully, your 2024 high school soccer season will be very successful, and you get to work in the Minnesota State High School tournament in November.

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