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Virginia Soccer Board


Joined: 11/6/99 Posts: 13659
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No problem. Game is more fun when you get how its called.

But this may be long in order to set the groundwork. About 20 years ago IFAB/FIFA really began to sort out the laws with player safety in mind due to the cost of players. These changes were very much driven by the way the top refs were already beginning to call the games. To put the top refs into perspective, the USA has 160,000 referees last year Grades 1-8. Of those, only 24 were Grades 1(FIFA) or 2 (FIFA AR)in the country. In Virginia, we have 6000 refs, and this year we will have just over 20 that achieved my highest badge. It is not easy to get to my grade, but to get to the FIFA level is insane. These guys are so good. The ref in our game is from the PRO staff out of Chicago, which means he has a National/Grade 3 badge. I could never even sniff that badge.

About 10 years ago I had the honor of getting the whistle for a U18 game between 2 of the top 10 teams in the country, and a FIFA ref sitting by to give me feedback. This is like Chefhoo getting Jordi Roca giving him ideas on dessert. These teams BOTH had national team players. The incident of note, related to refs setting the table for law changes occurred just before halftime. The Cali team forward was coming down the wing with ball right at his feet and the Florida defender came flying across at full speed, perfect slide tackle on the ball to knock ball out of bounds. Cali player jumps to avoid collision. No contact with players, all ball for defender. I blow whistle and caution Florida player. Halftime I ask my ARs what they thought. One had "all ball so nothing should have been done." The other had "enough to blow whistle but no card." Post game we are getting feedback from the FIFA guy (and what he says is from on high for us) and he asks why I did not send off the florida guy. "hey, Cali had the ball and if he did not jump what would have happened? He would be in the hospital. So does that fit guidelines for a send off?" Well yes, but historically we really needed strong contact to go that route. FIFA guy says, not these days, gotta to keep them safe. Tell us to keep an eye on some changes in laws coming.

So, the next major rewrite of the IFAB in 2016 spelled out that actions causing a player to come off the ball to prevent injury was to be a foul. That was a fun year, blowing for non contact, all ball fouls. The point and the philosophy is this: if the play on the ball forces the other player off the ball to prevent injury, it remains a foul. Need to stop the player from coming in so strong and hard that the other team simply loses ball to not get killed. And this (albeit at not so egregious) was what I saw on play 1. UVa players arms come up and make strong enough contact with GT players pulling up off ball for safety. Do not make that call and the ref sets the table fort a level of contact that is unsustainable.

Play 2. Defender did come from behind, but slid around side and made contact with ball in a controlled manner. UVa player trips over the legs that were there before he took the next steps. Not knowing defender is on his back is on the teammates for not telling him. That has nothing to do with it. But he made full contact with ball in controlled manner. Rewatch the reaction of our player, and our players around him. Nothing. They all knew it was a great tackle and as you say, a play on.

Now, the reason I say look at the players reactions is that we are counseled not to call trifling fouls, and the players set the level for trifling in a game. It has been 5 years since I last had a game in which some fan or parent was not yelling about "illegal throws," while the coaches and players do not give AF. They just want the ball in play and on the ground. I have had 2 players fighting for a ball, essentially on the ground looking like rugby more than soccer, but both doing the same thing while fans are yelling "you cant play the ball on the ground!!" then both players pop up and have zero reaction. What, I should blow the whistle and do a drop ball? We want to try and let the players settle it on the pitch. And when we see the UVA players not reacting at all to the second foul...easy play on.

Don't call the first, but call that second one and I promise you the game devolves into a hell of a mess. I have had it happen when coming up and watched it with refs over their heads.

I know this was long winded, but I did want to set the table for the philosophy that drive our whistles. And the higher ref and play get, the more unwritten Law 18 (Spirit of the game) is the driving factor.

(In response to this post by BRU Hoo)

Posted: 01/03/2020 at 2:16PM


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Current Thread:
Ref bias in finals? -- BRU Hoo 12/30/2019 10:29AM
  Very well called game. I have no issue with it. -- Wahoos1 12/30/2019 5:10PM
  2nd half: -- BRU Hoo 12/31/2019 05:57AM
  1st half: -- BRU Hoo 12/31/2019 05:57AM
  Take the first 2 then... -- Wahoos1 12/31/2019 10:37AM
  I disagree, but will defer to your expertise ** -- BRU Hoo 01/01/2020 02:57AM
  Appreciate your feedback ... -- BRU Hoo 01/03/2020 02:59AM

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