Soccer Referee Resources
Ask a Question
Recent Questions

RSS FEED Subscribe Now!

Q&A Quick Search
The Field of Play
The Ball
The Players
The Players Equipment
The Referee
The Other Match Officials
The Duration of the Match
The Start and Restart of Play
The Ball In and Out of Play
Fouls and Misconduct
Free Kicks
Penalty kick
Throw In
Goal Kick
Corner Kick

Common Sense
Kicks - Penalty Mark
The Technical Area
The Fourth Official
Attitude and Control
League Specific
High School

Common Acronyms
Meet The Ref
Contact AskTheRef
Help Wanted
About AskTheRef
Panel Login

Question Number: 31361

Law 12 - Fouls and Misconduct 3/18/2017

RE: Youth comp rec Under 15

Mike Monce of Lebanon, CT USA asks...

This question is a follow up to question 31348

Follow up to 31348. Ref Joe McHugh said ' It also points to the need for IFAB to come out with a much clearer position on handling and a position that is easily understood and uniformly applied.'

Yes! In referring youth soccer, the complaint I get most from coaches are that I am not calling 'hand balls'. I have calmly tried to explain the concept of 'deliberate' and the idea of 'ball to hand', rather than 'hand to ball', but they want ANY contact with the arm by the ball called. I usually end up calling maybe 1 or 2 such handlings per game, but not the 10-15 the coaches seem to want.

This is a real problem in that my 'no calls' on handling become a fuse that is lit to a bomb. Some get so irate about my 'no calls' as to move into dissent and abuse and then I have to deal with that.

Is there a way to 'defuse' the situation? I don't want to say anything pregame to the coaches as that will just draw their attention even more. It seems to be a matter of education for these Dads, who I understand, are volunteering to coach a kids team, but I can't hold a pregame seminar on the LOTG for these guys.

Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

HI Mike,
yes often youth coaches are among the worst in crying for the non foul useless handling violations simply through no real understanding of the LOTG but also on their confusion that stems from the awful calls we see on the telly.

I disagree slightly with your premise that you can not give a pregame lesson. Do you not do equipment checks? card ids? Here is my 30 second Fair but not perfect speech.

HI I am Your referee for today Mr so and so . I am fair not perfect! I tolerate no, none nada, ZERO abuse directed to my ARs. If you have an issue with a call you can talk to me but ONLY IF time & circumstances permit. IF I indicate that is it please do not tempt fate by forcing the issue. I have compassion for divergent opinions but no tolerance for unreasonable, dissent or abusive behavior.. DO you recall and understand the old adage PLAY the whistle? Then remember that do not stand there waving hands in the air requesting non offside or non handling fouls that will NOT be awarded. I only call offside if 100% convinced it is, the AR flag is ONLY a signal for me NOT you. The same goes for any foul including deliberate handling which is NOT the ball and arm in contact with the other. There is NO foul called handball so refrain from screaming this incorrect assumption. No whistle means there is no foul present in my opinion, and on facts of play only my opinion counts! I expect you to play hard but fair and to ensure all substitutions are done in a correct timely manner on my signal only be it on your possession when the other teams does so and all participants are at the mid line before the stoppage itself unless an injury where we permit a direct sub off the bench. I would then explain any match rule issues or special circumstances that a tournament might have, reduced play time, no added time etc.. I ask are there any questions? Do my best to answer and say Have good game see you on the pitch!

Also while we do not want to confuse advantage when I see ball hand contact and you hear that intake rush of breath where the screams of handball ref are sure to follow a preemtive NOT DELIBERATE NOTHING THERE KEEP GOING! indicates you saw it but did not buy into it!. Then they can just doubt whether you are correct but not that you were blind and missed it lol Cheers

Read other questions answered by Referee Richard Dawson

View Referee Richard Dawson profile

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Mike
I believe it helps if the referee clearly shows that he has seen the contact and he has decided not to call it.
I shout loudly NOT DELIBERATE which tells those around I have seen the contact and deemed it not to be deliberate handling. Sometimes I gesture with a wave way along with the shout.
I think many times those appealing think that the referee has not seen the contact. Many times it is looking for a cheap free kick or penalty kick knowing full well it is not DHB.
This is what my association has to say
**Although football is a game in which players constantly move their arms and hands as a natural part of their movement, in deciding if a player is handling the ball deliberately , it is essential to consider the following points:
# Was it a hand to ball situation or ball to hand? • Are the player’s hands or arms in a “natural” position? # Does the player want to “make himself bigger” by using his arms?
# Does the player try to avoid the ball striking his hand?
# Distance the ball travelled before striking the player’s hand
# Is the player able to avoid the ball striking his hand?
# Does he use his hand or arm to intentionally touch the ball?
Referees should also consider possible additional circumstances and consequences, e.g. how and where did the offence occur (stopped a promising attack? denied an obvious goal scoring opportunity?) and they must then punish fully in accordance with the Laws of the Game.**

Read other questions answered by Referee Joe McHugh

View Referee Joe McHugh profile

Ask a Follow Up Question to Q# 31361
Read other Q & A regarding Law 12 - Fouls and Misconduct

Soccer Referee Extras

Did you Ask the Ref? Find your answer here.

Enter Question Number

If you received a response regarding a submitted question enter your question number above to find the answer

Offside Question?

Offside Explained by Chuck Fleischer & Richard Dawson, Former & Current Editor of AskTheRef

This web site and the answers to these questions are not sanctioned by or affiliated with any governing body of soccer. The opinions expressed on this site should not be considered official interpretations of the Laws of the Game and are merely opinions of AskTheRef and our panel members. If you need an official ruling you should contact your state or local representative through your club or league. On AskTheRef your questions are answered by a panel of licensed referees. See Meet The Ref for details about our panel members.