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Law V - Helpful Information

If you go to a soccer store that sells referee uniforms, you may see many different uniforms. They come in short-sleeve, long-sleeve, uniforms that protect you against rain, gold, black, red, and blue. Don't panic. All you really need to buy is a gold short-sleeve shirt. This is the most common shirt. The V-neck style shirt is usually the most inexpensive. Make sure it has a chest pocket for your game wallet and a place to put your patch.

You don't need the long-sleeves because you can simply wear a long-sleeved black shirt underneath your shirt. That will keep you warm while still making it clear that you are the referee.

The referee's authority begins when he arrives at the area of the field of play and continues until he has left the area of the field after the game has been completed. The referee's authority extends to time when the ball is not in play, to temporary suspensions, to the half-time break, and to additional periods of play or kicks from the penalty mark required by the rules of the competition.

"The Laws of the Game are intended to provide the games should be played with as little interference as possible, and in this view is the duty of referees to penalize only deliberate breaches of the Law. Constant whistling for trifling and doubtful breaches produces bad feeling and loss of temper on the part of the players and spoils the pleasure of the spectators."

Referees have the power to apply (and signal) the advantage upon seeing a foul or misconduct committed if at that moment the terms of the advantage clause (Law V) were met. The referee may return to and penalize the original foul if the advantage situation does not develop as anticipated after a short while (2-3 seconds). If the ball goes out of play during this time, then play must be restarted in accordance with the Law. Also, a subsequent offense by a player of the offending team must not be ignored while the referee allows the the anticipated development of the advantage. Such an offense may either be recognized by stopping play immediately or by applying the advantage clause again.

Regardless of the outcome of the advantage call, the referee must deal appropriately with any misconduct at the next stoppage before allowing play to be restarted.

The referee may also apply advantage during situations that are solely misconduct (both cautionable and send-off offenses) or to situations that involve both a foul and misconduct.

The advantage applies to infringements of Law XII (fouls and/or misconduct) and not to infringements of other Laws. For example, there can be no advantage during an offside situation, nor may advantage be applied in the case of an illegal throw-in that goes to an opponent.

The giving of the advantage is not required in all situations to which it might be applied. The referee may stop play despite an advantage if other factors (e.g., game control, severity of a foul or misconduct, possibility of player retaliation, etc.) outweigh the benefit of play continuing.

The referee has the power to stop the match for any infringement of the Laws, to apply advantage under the appropriate conditions, or decide that an infringement is trifling or doubtful and should not be called at all. However, the referee also has the power to stop play for other reasons, including misconduct for which the referee intends only to warn the player regarding his behavior and not to issue a caution. In these circumstances, the referee should take care that ordering such a stoppage would not disadvantage the opposing team. As the stoppage will not have occurred for a foul or misconduct, play would be restarted with a dropped ball.

If a player is bleeding, he must leave the field immediately to have the bleeding stopped and his skin and uniform cleaned as thoroughly as possible. When the player is ready to return to the game, the referee will inspect the injured area and the uniform for blood before giving his permission to re-enter the game. The referee inspection can occur only at a stoppage in play and the player may then enter the field from any point on the boundary line. The player who was instructed to leave the field to repair an equipment problem must go through exactly the same procedure, and the referee must make himself available to inspect the repair.

If a player was permitted to leave the field for treatment of an injury, and the team decides to temporarily play short, only the referee can allow this player to return to the field of play. This is not a substitution. The player who left the field for treatment of an injury may return during play with the permission of the referee, but only from the touch line. If the ball is out of play, the player may return with the permission of the referee across any boundary line.

Coaches may provide tactical advice to their players, including positive remarks and encouragement. The referee should only take action against coaches or other team officials for irresponsible behavior or for actions that bring the game into disrepute. A coach or other team official may be cautioned or ejected. When a coach or other team official is dismissed, the referee must include detailed information about such incidents in the match report.

The referee may terminate a match for reasons of safety (bad weather or darkness), for any serious infringement of the Laws, because a team does not appear or leaves before completion of the game, or because of interference by spectators. Only the competition authority, not the referee, has the authority to declare a winner, a forfeit, or a replay of the match in its entirety. The referee must report fully on the events.

The referee may abandon a match if the field or any of its equipment do not meet the requirements of the Laws. An abandoned match is replayed unless the competition rules provide otherwise.


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