Never Ask A Referee - Ask Us!

‘Never ask a Referee - Ask Us!’ is a great addition to the SAY website and an great opportunity for anyone with questions about the game of soccer to get the right answers.   We know answers concerning policies, rules, laws and guidelines aren’t always available to you on the field at the time of play.  That’s why we’ve developed this section of the website, where SAY Members can submit their questions to Charlie Keaney, SAY’s Director of Officials and Referee Training Coordinator. Then, questions and answers that we feel are helpful to the general membership will be posted here for easy viewing.


Questions must be submitted via email to please be sure to include the following information:

Subject:   Never Ask a Referee - Ask Us!
Body:  Your Question, Your Name, Area/District, Your Role (coach, parent, referee, etc)


Q.    When taking a Corner kick , why do we have an arc in the corner ? Does the ball have to leave the arc to be in play? 
              Submitted by MIke S.

A.    The arc is there to serve as a boundary as to where the ball can be placed for the taking of the corner kick.  As long as any portion of
        the ball is on or within this corner arc, then the ball has been properly placed.  That is the only function that the corner arc serves.
        For the ball to be in play from a corner kick it merely needs to be kicked and move. The ball need not leave the corner arc to be in
        play, just as long as it has moved (even if only a slight distance).  In a situation where the ball is immediately kicked off the field and
        out of bounds, it still has been kicked and it still has moved some distance (although slight) within the field of play before completely
        leaving the field.


    Q.  In a SAY Passers game, the goalie punts the ball straight into the air and catches

his own punt. What is the restart?                                                                                                               

    A.   At the Passers (U-8) and Wings (U-10) level in SAY there is no infraction... play is

allowed to continue with no stoppage. There is no restriction on the goalkeeper from immediately picking the ball up again after he's put it back in play.  In this case the goalkeeper can catch his own punt and there is no infraction of the SAY Laws. At the Strikers (U-12) and older age levels it would be an Indirect Free Kick infraction if the       goalkeeper catches his own punt.  Letter of the Law simply put... a goalkeeper, having released the ball back into play, may not touch the ball with their hands again until it is touched by another player.
        Common Sense (Law 18)... would suggest that the referee weigh the game situation, playing conditions, player skills and apply Law 18 in concert with the Letter of the Law in the fairest manner possible. 


    Q.    The attacking team kicks a long ball down the field near to the opponent's corner

post.  The defending goalie leaves his penalty area, runs over and collects the ball with his feet, and then dribbles the ball back into his penalty area.  Can the goalie now pick up and possess the ball with his hands?                                                                                                             

    A.   Simply put... YES. 

          Goalkeepers have the ability and right to play anywhere on the field just like any

other player and have the right to collect the ball with their feet just like any other player inside or outside their own penalty area.  When doing so, goalkeepers can then either dribble the ball up the field as an attacking player typically would, kick the ball up field as a defending fullback typically would or dribble the ball back into the penalty area (which defending fullback could also do). 
        Now, goalkeepers do have the privilage, via their designated position, of being able to play the ball with their hands within their own penalty area.  In this case, since no violation up to this point has occurred, it is perfectly legitimate and a viable play for the goalkeeper to take possession of the ball with his hands. 


    Q.   Can referee's issue and display yellow or red cards to players, substitutes or substituted players after the game? Yes or no?

   A.    Simply put, YES.  Although not specifically stated in the rules as such, the authority of the officials begins when they enter the field area and ends when they leave its immediate surroundings. The red card, whether issued before during or after a match, connotes that a severe breach of behavior has occurred.  A red card does have subsequent consequences, i.e. additional game suspension(s), even when issued after a game.  Care should be taken by the game officials not to over-react in such situations, as it may tend to intensify the situation even further.  A better approach may be to avoid showing a red card at the time and then later filing a game report on the incident to league authorities. On the other hand, the issuance of a formal caution (yellow card) after the game serves no purpose, since it really has no subsequent consequences attached.  Showing a yellow card in such a situation would 1) typically seem like a wasted effort; 2) have more of a tendency to escalate a situation; and 3) make the referee appear foolish and subject to ridicule.


    Q.      Any player required to leave the field of play to correct his equipment may return

with the referee's permission as soon as the correction is completed even if play is continuing. Is this right?

A.     In such a situation the player may re-enter the field-of-play only with the referee’s permission AND only while the ball is out-of-play. 
        SAY Law 8-B  ….. "A player who has been instructed to leave the field of play shall not return without first reporting to the referee, who shall

        determine that the player’s equipment is in order.”

        SAY Law 8-C …. "The player shall only re-enter the game at the moment when the ball has ceased   to be in play and only with the referee’s                      permission.” Remember, the ball is considered to be out of play when 1) it completely leaves  the field of play or 2) whenever the game has been        stopped by the referee   (whistle for a foul, stoppage for an injury, etc.).