Communicating with Players, Team Officials and Spectators

Clear confident whistling and signals are an important part of refereeing. It shows everyone that you are certain of your decision and that in turn leads to confidence in you as a referee from the players, coaches and fans. If they are confident in what you are doing they are less likely to question your calls and therefore there is less likely to be a problem.

If you see a foul blow your whistle with a loud sharp tone so that everyone can hear it. Delay in giving a foul can lead to people getting upset. Once you have blown your whistle to stop the game everyone will look at you to see what is happening. At this time you clearly indicate which team has been awarded the free kick by pointing the direction in which they are attacking. Your arm should be straight but raised as in the illustration to your left. The same signal applies for a throw in or corner kick. If the award is a goal kick then point downward at the goal area.

If the free kick you have awarded is an indirect kick, for say an offside or dangerous play (i.e. a goal cannot be scored directly from it), then you must communicate this to everyone. Once you have signaled the free kick as described above, raise your arm straight in the air. You must maintain this signal from before the free kick is taken until a player different from the one taking the kick has touched the ball or it has gone out of play.

If a player is fouled (not seriously) and that team retains possession of the ball you can, if you wish, play advantage by allowing the game to continue. By shouting "�play on, advantage" and sweeping your arms forwards and upwards as in the illustration to the left everyone will know that you have seen the foul but have chosen to allow the play to continue. You can still warn or caution the player who has committed the foul that you have chosen not to call. If the offence is serious and deserves a red card do not play an advantage.

If you have reason to caution a player (and show him/her a yellow card) or dismiss a player (and show him/her a red card) then make sure that everyone clearly sees the player who is being disciplined. Do not stand too close to a player or too far away from a player when doing this. A distance of about 10 feet is about right. Once you have written down the player'sÂ? number and team, raise the appropriate card in the air with a straight arm and then lower your arm.



"Hey Ref! That was a handball! Didn'�t you see it? The defender gained an advantage"!

"He didn'�t call it! He must be blind"! Or"�he doesn'�t know the rules"!

How often do we hear "Â?Hey ref, that was a handball"Â??

Technically, there is no such offence as "handball"�, and this is where a lot of the confusion arises. Law 12 states that one of the major or penal offences (fouls) are "�handles the ball deliberately"�. No matter how hard you look, you will see no reference in the Law to "�gaining an advantage" by handling the ball - whether deliberate or accidental - although that is sometimes the reason why the appeal gets made. Its pretty straightforward - if it'�s a deliberate handling of the ball then it'�s a foul. Anything else i.e. not intentional then play should continue. "�But it was in the penalty area", is another comment often heard. Still doesn'�t matter, unless it'�s deliberate of course.

So how do referees know if it is deliberate, without being mind readers? One guide they use - did it look like "ball to hand"Â? or "Â?hand to ball"? The "Â?hand to ball"Â? is the one that needs to be called.

The real question that needs to be asked is why there are any "�handballs" called that apparently should not be? One reason is that inexperienced referees find this is an easy call to make, and one that few people argue with. The referees who get this call right, however, can often be heard to say "�No intent, keep playing", and that is the key - if there was no intent to handle the ball deliberately, we should keep playing.



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