You Are The Ref

You Are The Ref (YATR)

You are the Ref

The Guardian in association with Paul Trevillion and Keith Hackett, produce a regular poser during the football season….some 300 to date.

I will produce a YATR poser on facebook on a regular basis and provide answers here also, building up a library over a period of time.

The first facebook entry is in January 2014. Login and have a go.

No 1 – Edgar Davids

Try the three posers in the graphic

Try the three posers in the graphic


1) Award a retake. However, if the ball hit the post first, then hit the dog, you would give a drop ball at the point where the dog – an ‘outside agent’ – intervened. In that situation, if the incident occurred inside the area, the drop takes place on the goal area line (parallel to the goal line) at the point nearest to where the ball was when play was stopped.

2) Award another penalty, but do not send the defender off. This was not an obvious goalscoring opportunity, because, had the striker scored directly from the rebound, he would have been penalised for touching the ball twice. If you deem the challenge reckless, though, you may caution the defender for unsporting behaviour.

3) Stop play. Make the substitution take place again correctly at the halfway line. The player enters the field of play and the game is restarted with a throw in.

No 2 – Ronaldinho


1) If you consider the ball to be an ‘outside interference’, play should be stopped and the game restarted with a drop ball.

2) Stop play and restart the match with an indirect free-kick to the defending team on the penalty spot. Law 14 has been broken: the player taking the penalty must kick the ball forward.

3) Stop play, send both players from the field for violent conduct and restart play with an indirect free-kick to the opposing team from the place where the offence occurred.

No 3 – David James


1) You must decide whether each player’s equipment is dangerous to the individual or to other players. This is your decision – if you consider the cast dangerous, despite the letter from the senior official, the player cannot play.

2) If you consider that the defender has committed an act of unsporting behaviour, caution the offender and restart play with a retaken penalty.

3) At the next stoppage, advise the stadium safety officer of the situation and remind him that the home club are responsible for the actions of their fans. As the individual is known to you, it is easy to identify him and report all the facts to the sanctioning authority after the game.

No 4 – Mark Halsey

You are the Ref 

1) The defender cannot assume what is about to happen: he has handled the ball while it is still live. It may seem harsh, but the law is clear: you must show him the yellow card for unsporting behaviour and award a penalty.

2) You cannot award a retake. However, if you agree that the dinosaur’s action constituted deliberate outside distraction, then you should report the incident to the authorities after the game. I’d hope most referees wouldn’t allow this to happen in the first place: you need to be vigilant at penalties to make sure the kick is taken fairly. In this case, ideally, if there is time before the kick is taken, you must intervene and stop play, and make sure the mascot moves away. The player is also within his rights to stop his run-up and ask you to deal with the dinosaur.

3) You cannot reverse your decision, and nor should you. It is the player’s responsibility to keep his shirt on, so the second caution stands and he is sent off. He may like to have a word or two with his colleague after the game.

No 5 – Hernan Crespo


1) You must always award the player the benefit of any doubt and accept he is authentically injured. In this case the player has been suffering from cramp during extra time and could quite possibly have broken down completely. The injured player can be excused from taking penalties, but he may not be replaced by another player. The next penalty will be taken by a player who has already taken a kick.

2) Nightmare. You must stay calm, ask the player to leave the field of play, allow the goal to stand and later report all the facts to the competition and sanctioning authority.

3) You have no right to interfere: you are there to apply the laws. Offside is a technical offence and not one for which a caution is issued for persistently infringing the laws of the game.

No 6 – David Bentley


1) A bizarre set of circumstances, but your action is clear. First, the defender has committed an act of violent conduct so you should show him the red card. Second, play is restarted with an indirect free‑kick to the opposition from the point where the offence was committed. Third, the actions of the midfielder are beyond your control. It is up to his manager to remove him from the game.

2) Make it clear to the team’s manager that the player has been sent off, and do not allow a sub to replace him. The foul gesture means the player is dismissed in line with Law 12, offence number 6. And even if you didn’t consider the player’s gesture to the crowd to be a seriously offensive one, it would still be a bookable action, which would still result in a dismissal: this first yellow card would immediately be followed by a second for the offence of leaving the field of play without permission. So the player is sent off either way.

3) The goalkeeper hasn’t committed an offence. Technically the young forward may be correct, but you must referee within the spirit of the game and use some common sense. Clearly the keeper has not released the ball from his possession.

No 7 – John Terry


1) Allow the keeper to take part – there’s nothing in the Laws of the game which prevents him. However, the ball is only deemed in play when it touches the ground, so the keeper can only touch it once it has dropped. If he touches it before that point, the drop-ball is retaken. When I was officiating I’d always try to avoid having a drop ball in the area. On the odd occasion it happened, I told both players that, in the spirit of the game, the defending side should be allowed to gain possession. It was always accepted by both players.

2) Award a free-kick to the opposition. Handling outside the area does cause a lot of debate. Pundits often think a goalkeeper handling outside the box is an automatic red: that’s not true – it’s only a red card if the keeper has denied an opponent an obvious scoring opportunity.

3) Restart play with a goal kick to the defending team.

No 8 – Luiz Felipi Scolari


1) No goal. The defenders are correct, and your assistant is wrong: it is clearly offside. This type of rapid, intense incident underpins the need for referees and assistants to have a thorough knowledge of the laws of the game, and how to apply them quickly and accurately, under pressure. As a referee, you must also be confident and alert enough to overrule your assistant when necessary.

2) Play advantage, and give the goal. Again, a potentially confusing situation, but the striker who has headed the ball into the goal – albeit involuntarily – has done so while being fouled. So, seeing the violent incident, and the ball flying towards the net, you should apply the advantage rule and award the goal once the ball has crossed the line. You would then show his colleague a red card for an act of violent conduct, and restart with a normal kick-off.

3) No goal. It’s not the striker’s fault, but the loss of his boot means you must apply Law 8 – dropped ball. You should stop play, disallow the goal and restart with a dropped ball at the point where the boot made contact with the ball.

No 9 – Robbie Savage


1) None. The Laws do not specifically outlaw tackling from behind. However, performing a legal tackle like this is exceptionally difficult. Law 12 states ‘any player who tackles an opponent, making contact with the opponent before touching the ball, shall be punished by the award of a direct free-kick’, and ‘a tackle which endangers the safety of an opponent must be sanctioned as serious foul play’. It is extremely hard to tackle from behind without infringing one of these statements. If you do penalise a foul from behind you need to judge its severity: if it infringes the first statement, award a freekick. If it infringes the second, award a free kick and a yellow card. If it infringes both and uses excessive force, award a free-kick and a red card.

2) You must stop play immediately, take the names of the people involved and tell them they will be reported to the authorities. You also have the power to ask them to leave the local park if necessary.

3) In a game like this you must consider the spectators: you would need to consult with police and potentially with any broadcaster. I went to a game at Bramall Lane a few years ago that was delayed by the weather. Referee Kevin Wright handled the situation superbly and liaised with police and the TV crew – and still ensured there was a 15-minute half time to allow spectators to get their refreshments. Equally, though, when I used to officiate local Sunday games I was often asked to reduce the interval to five minutes so that players could dash off after the game to the pub. And one of my uncles left his wedding party in order to play in a cup game. No half-time interval, no showers – he and his colleagues washed in fizzy pop to get back to the party and the speeches.

No 10 – Deco


1) Accept it. You can take a revised team sheet in these circumstances, so allow the player to be replaced, and a new substitute to be named.

2) Some entertaining answers below. The official line would be this:

a) First, you should book all three players*: they are committing dissent.
b) You should then show the player who dived a second yellow card for unsporting behaviour, followed by a red. He has committed two yellow card offences almost simultaneously.
c) Restart play with the goal kick.
This incident is pretty extreme, but demonstrates the people skills referees need to manage players. Avoiding confrontation is always the best idea: clearly, withdrawing your hand before contact was made would have saved a lot of trouble. (*In situations like this some referees may choose to try to manage the situation by only booking the worst offender).

I should add that sending the diver off is a contentious call, because the way the Laws treat a player who is committing two yellow card offences at the same time isn’t clear. The original directive was that in this situation the two offences should be treated as one incident, and punished with one yellow card. But the Q&A section of the 2006-07 Laws (Law 12, questions 8 and 9) revised this, so that the player should be shown two yellows, and be sent off without a warning. I’m seeking clarification from Fifa, not least because the scenario was entirely omitted from the 2007-08 Laws. In my view, you shouldn’t send a player off for a second yellow card offence unless you have first cautioned him as to his future conduct: that’s the point of the yellow card system. However, until this issue is resolved, then the 2006-07 Fifa directive stands, and you would send the player off.

3) Show him a second yellow card for dissent, followed by a red. Restart play with an indirect free kick. The holding of the ball for more than six seconds is a side issue here: you must punish the dissent.

No 11 – Rio Ferdinand


1) The captain is wrong – and most of the answers below are right. The goalkeeper can only be replaced by an outfield player who was on the field of play at the start of the penalty shootout.

2) Award a penalty kick: there is no such thing as ‘ball to arm’ in this situation: the player must take the consequences of his actions. You must also decide whether to caution the player for unsporting behaviour or, if a scoring chance was clearly denied, you must send the player off.

3) Award a corner. You cannot turn an advantage (the free-kick) to your team into a disadvantage by scoring directly against your own side.

No 12 – Fernando Torres


1) Award a penalty. As posters have said below, you’ve shown courage and skill by applying an advantage so close to the area – and that passage of attacking play has resulted in a clear penalty. The advantage is with the attacking side, and the penalty decision reflects that. You must also decide if the foul denied an obvious goal scoring opportunity.

2) If the police haven’t already intervened, send both physios out of the technical area and advise them they will be reported to the FA. At this level, both clubs would have a doctor present, and they, plus paramedics, would cover the physios. At a lower level, while you’d send the physios off and report them, you would still have to allow them on to the field if needed as they are likely to be the only people qualified to treat injuries.

3) Play has not restarted, so retract the red card. The procedure then is quite clear: ask the other players who made the comment. If one owns up, send him off. If no one owns up, play on and report the club to the relevant authority, who would then write to the club, asking for the player’s name. If they failed to provide it, action would then be taken against the club as a whole.

No 13 – Peter Crouch


1) a) Unsporting behaviour (such as a bad foul). b) Dissent by word or action. c) Persistently infringing the laws of the game (a series of minor fouls). d) Delaying the restart of play. e) Failing to respect the required distance when play is restarted with a corner or free-kick. f) Entering or re-entering the field of play without your permission. g) Deliberately leaving the field of play without your permission.

2) Stop play and show the striker the red card for violent conduct. Play is restarted with an indirect free-kick taken from where the hairband was thrown.

3) No – allow the change. A different player can be nominated to retake a kick.

No 14 – Theo Walcott


1) Great answers below. Yes, give the goal. The defending side are being penalised, so it’s right to give the call in favour of their opponents. You should then consider booking the defender for failing to retreat the correct distance.

2) You haven’t stopped play by raising your arm – players must play to the whistle. Give the goal. One of the skills a top referee must have is an ability to read the game and delay blowing the whistle for a few seconds in a situation like this, to see if an advantage develops. In this case, you’ve done well to spot the advantage. English referees have a terrific reputation for allowing the game to flow by applying advantage. Last year the average number of free-kicks awarded in Premier League games was 25, compared to 40 plus in other major leagues abroad.

3) No – play on. The ball didn’t cross the line, and the keeper has used his hand to block it. If, though, you’d spotted that the keeper had actually pushed the net up to block the ball, that would have been considered use of an ‘outside agent’. In that situation, you’d award a dropped ball on the 6-yard line.

No 15 – Robbie Keane


1)  Stop play and call over an official from the home club. Remind the official that the club is responsible for the conduct of spectators. Tell them to deal with the father, and advise them you will be reporting the incident to the competition. If the club fails to deal with the father, you must abandon the game. The FA’s child protection policy covers not only officials and coaches, but also the behaviour of those watching.

2) You cannot intervene at this stage. Allow the match to proceed and report the facts to the Premier League at the end of the game.

3) At the next stoppage in play, advise your colleagues to observe the players while you leave the field for a comfort break. Restart play as normal when you return.

No 16 – Dimitar Berbatov


1) Penalise the goalkeeper for handling the ball from a deliberate back-pass. His header outside the area makes no difference. Give an indirect free-kick from the point where the keeper handled it.

2) Play on. But it’s an immensely difficult situation. Intent is no longer in the laws of the game – so the fact that the defender did not intend to bring the defender down is irrelevant. Instead, the question you have to ask is whether the defender could have avoided the collision if he had taken more care – was it down to carelessness? If your answer was yes then you would give a direct free-kick or penalty, with a possible red card if an obvious goalscoring opportunity had been denied. But if the incident isn’t down to carelessness, and is obviously a complete accident like this one, let play continue.

3) The defenders are right – the laws state that, after treatment, an injured player must leave the field of play. It’s unfortunate, and it has happened before, memorably to Thierry Henry at Arsenal a few years ago.

No 17 – Gary Neville


1) You must remove the player from the field – and don’t allow him back until the bleeding has stopped. He must also change his shirt if it is contaminated with blood: all Premier League clubs have back-up plain shirts without name or number.

2) Neither. You must bring the players back on to the field and play the remaining three minutes of the first half. Half time is then taken, followed by a normal 45-minute second half.

3) If you decide the assistant’s performance constitutes ‘undue interference’ or ‘improper conduct’, you can relieve him of his duties and call on the fourth official. But this is extremely unlikely to happen above grassroots level: selection procedures for promotion to the senior level of the game are stringent.

No 18 – Gianfranco Zola


1) No goal. You have to give the injured striker offside unless there are at least two defenders on the goal line – which is obviously highly unlikely. Restart play with an indirect free-kick from anywhere inside the six-yard box.

2) Stop play, book the injured player for unsporting behaviour and restart with a dropped ball from wherever it was when you blew the whistle.

3) Disallow the goal. Protective headgear, like that worn by Petr Cech, is approved, but a baseball cap isn’t considered part of the goalkeeper’s equipment. So you must disallow the goal because the ball has made contact with an outside agent, and restart play with a dropped ball on the six-yard line parallel to the goal-line, nearest to where the contact was made. This is one of those situations where preventative refereeing would have made sense: while a keeper in his own penalty area is allowed to wear a cap to shield his eyes from the sun, he can’t score a headed goal with it on – so making sure he removed it before the corner would have saved a lot of hassle.

No 19 – Mike Riley (PGMO)


1) Award the goal – what happened on the touchline does not mean you need to disallow it. Then go quickly to the touchline and order the manager to leave the technical area. Later you must report the incident in full to the authorities.

2) No – allow the match to go ahead, if the lines are distinctive. The laws only state that lines must be distinctive: for instance, in snowy conditions, groundstaff may add a red dye to the marking material. You should, though, report the matter to the competition for reference.

3) The first offence – the offside – means that the foul took place when the ball was dead. Award an indirect free-kick for offside. (You should also have a word with you assistant for waving the flag with the wrong hand

No 20 – Rio Ferdinand


1) Give the goal. It’s a clever routine: the ball is in play when it is kicked and moves – it doesn’t have to leave the arc.

2) The goal is awarded, so long as neither of your assistants saw an infringement before the ball went in. In the Premier League the fourth official is a national list referee and so takes over the whistle. And if there is one, a volunteer with relevant experience is then taken from the crowd to act as the new fourth official. In the Villa v Sunderland game last month, one of the assistants was injured. The fourth official took over the line in the second half, and New Zealand Fifa referee Peter O’Leary, who was in the stands as a spectator, took over as fourth official.

3) Book him – it’s a cautionable offence whatever he’s wearing underneath. I’m often asked why this law exists. There are a few reasons. One of them is crowd incitement: there’s a famous old clip of a player running to the fans and taking off his shirt in celebration – it caused a crowd surge that led to fatalities. Other issues include preventing players showing political slogans, and the fact that it’s a global game: in some countries the removal of the shirt is considered offensive.

No 21 – Ronaldo


1) Show the striker the yellow card for delaying the restart. Restart play with the original offside offence. You have no influence over what the player might wish to do by way of an apology to the boy.

2) If you feel that his actions were an act of dissent against you, show him the yellow card. If not, laugh it off and acknowledge what he is doing, but then remind him it is up to you to decide whether the winger is committing an act of simulation.

3) a) There’s no action you can take against the goalkeeper. b) No – rope isn’t good enough. The crossbar must be replaced or suitably repaired. If a repair is possible, restart play with a drop ball. If not, abandon the game.

No 22 – Joe Kinnear


1) Play on – but you may wish to take action against the attackers for dissent. The fact that the ball went forward is irrelevant. The law, often misunderstood, clearly states that the keeper must not touch the ball with his hands inside his own area after it has been deliberately kicked to him by a team-mate.

2) Give the goal. The striker is right: this is a normal part of open play.

3) Allow the game to proceed: there is limited action you can take during the game – but you should call the two captains together and make it very clear that their teams’ actions will be reported to the authorities. The authorites, in this situation, would be likely to take significant action. As Vastariner mentions below, something like this happened in the 1982 World Cup in Spain when West Germany and Austria knew that a 1-0 win for the Germans would put them both through. West Germany duly went 1-0 up after 10 minutes, and the remaining 80 minutes were a non-contact farce. At the next World Cup, Fifa ensured final round kick-off times would all be simultaneous, which means that incidents like this are now exceptionally rare.

No 23 – Fabien Barthez


1) Order another retake and make it clear to him that his actions are not acceptable, and that he risks a second yellow card for unsporting behaviour. If he then does it again, show him the yellow, then the red.

2) You must take the player to one side and make it explicitly clear through gestures and facial expressions that his behaviour is unacceptable – and that any repeat will be punished.

3) Send Ronaldo off for violent conduct – despite his frustration, he must exercise self control. Restart play with a throw in.

No 24 – Juande Ramos


1)      The home captain is right: you must change. You shouldn’t have let it get this far. Before Premier League and Football League games the manager and the captain of both teams meet you in your dressing room. One of your tasks is to make sure there are no colour clashes: the law requires that all players wear colours that distinguish them from the officials. So you inspect the home and away outfield and goalkeeping strips, plus the tops that the subs will be wearing on the touchline, and decide whether to wear black, yellow or green. It’s an important decision, which is sometimes rushed, so I have reminded referees to be aware of it. With the huge range of goalkeeping strips now in use, I’m also considering introducing a fourth coloured shirt for our officials.

2)      Send the player off. He is guilty of violent conduct. After the game the player could ask for a personal hearing, claiming he did not realise what he was doing. With any head injury you must act quickly: signal for the medics to come on immediately (including, if necessary, the duty doctor and paramedics) and, where possible, keep other players away. In this situation, if you’d been able to keep other players back, the injured party would have had no-one to hit.

3)      No. The substitution is complete once you have given your permission, the player has left and the sub has come on. But you must still take disciplinary action. As well as giving the departed player his second yellow card you should also consider giving the incoming sub a yellow card for delaying the restart. But it would have been better to be proactive: when you stop play for a substitution you must stop your watch, and make that clear to players. So this player’s tactics are achieving little other than winding people up.

No 25 – Wayne Rooney


1) Award an indirect free-kick to the opposition. The kick is taken on the goal area line – which runs parallel to the goalline – at the point nearest to where the infringement took place.

2) Apologise. Then restart the game with a drop ball. Referees aren’t advised to run with the whistle in their mouths for a range of reasons – one being to give you some extra thinking time when you make decisions.

3) The fact that he missed with what was clearly a deliberate punch is irrelevant: send him off.

No 26 – Emile Heskey


) Signal for kick-off. It’s their fault for not concentrating. The procedure for restart is this: a) all players must be in their own half of the field of play; b) The opponents must be at least 9.15m (10 yards) from the ball until it is in play; c) the ball must be stationary on the centre mark. To start the game, you give a signal, and the ball is in play as soon as it is kicked and moves forward. If either team deliberately delays the re-start, you can caution the offenders.

2) Allow the goal, assuming the players remain in an onside position. An unusual one – I’d also take the opportunity to have a quiet word with each player.

3) Allow the game to continue. Football isn’t a quiet experience. I’ve refereed in front of crowds of over 100,000 people: at times it can be difficult in games like that to make your whistle heard, but you have to carry on. So in this situation, that should be part of your reasoning. As long as it’s within the competition regulations that the team can play music when a goal is scored, you should just put up with the problem and allow the game to continue. But I’d report the matter to the authorities

No 27 – Thierry Henry


1) Send him off. You must punish the most serious of the four offences, which in this case is him shouting obscenities. Restart play from the point where the player was offside and deemed active. If a similar situation occurred where all four offences were of a minor nature, you would have to give the offside decision precedence.

2) You don’t have time for a debate. Show him the red card for using an offensive gesture.

3) b) a corner. The assistant, like you as referee, is considered part of the field of play.

No 28 – Arsene Wenger


1) It’s a goal-kick. You cannot score directly from a throw, so effectively the throw-taker has hurled the ball directly out of play. So logically, it’s a goal-kick, regardless of the fact that it ended up in the net.

2) A free-kick to the defending team. As the artwork shows, the ball has been dislodged from the keeper’s possession by the over-enthusiastic actions of his former colleague. So regardless of the friendly intent, it would clearly be wrong to allow the goal in this situation. The goalkeeper has been impeded, so give the free-kick.

3) A penalty. You should also dismiss the defender for the denial of an obvious goal. Although the defender is off the field of play, his hand is clearly what has stopped the goal being scored: that’s what matters, so you must punish the offence accordingly. This type of incident does require you and your assistant to be alert, and your assistant to be in a good position, almost on the corner flag looking down the goalline. There are calls for new technology for goalline incidents, but that wouldn’t cover a situation like this: it’d still be down to the judgment of the match officials.

No 29 – Jermain Defoe


1) The coin toss you held at the start of the match is irrelevant now: you must call the two captains together again. The team that wins the new toss decides which goal it will attack in the first period – the other team take the kick-off.

2) Give the goal and show the defender the yellow card for unsporting behaviour. If the ball hadn’t crossed the line you would award a penalty and show a red card for denying an obvious goalscoring opportunity.

3) I’ve always been a strong advocate of communication: I’d want to understand what the problem is and try to defuse the situation, because a frustrated and unhappy player may just take his frustration out on an opponent. I remember a game at Anfield when, in the heat of the moment, Emlyn Hughes suggested I was having an off-day. I smiled and ignored the comment. Later in the game he missed a shot on goal at the Kop end by a country mile. I smiled, ran past him and suggested we had something in common. He grinned and from that moment on every time I refereed games in which Emlyn was playing we always respected each other. A few weeks before he died we sat together in the directors’ box at Sheffield United swapping stories. He was a great player, a great guy and a sad loss to the game.

No 30 – Harry Redknapp


1) The coin toss you held at the start of the match is irrelevant now: you must call the two captains together again. The team that wins the new toss decides which goal it will attack in the first period – the other team take the kick-off.

2) Give the goal and show the defender the yellow card for unsporting behaviour. If the ball hadn’t crossed the line you would award a penalty and show a red card for denying an obvious goalscoring opportunity.

3) I’ve always been a strong advocate of communication: I’d want to understand what the problem is and try to defuse the situation, because a frustrated and unhappy player may just take his frustration out on an opponent. I remember a game at Anfield when, in the heat of the moment, Emlyn Hughes suggested I was having an off-day. I smiled and ignored the comment. Later in the game he missed a shot on goal at the Kop end by a country mile. I smiled, ran past him and suggested we had something in common. He grinned and from that moment on every time I refereed games in which Emlyn was playing we always respected each other. A few weeks before he died we sat together in the directors’ box at Sheffield United swapping stories. He was a great player, a great guy and a sad loss to the game.

No 31 – Andrew Johnson


1) Neither. You should have moved faster, stopping play before the ball rolled over the touchline. However, either way, you should restart play with another drop ball.

2) The Football League regulations do not have a specific lower age limit for a first-team player, so you must allow the boys to play. However, the League do state that ‘child protection policies, practices and procedures will be applied to all aspects of club activities involving children’, and ‘clubs must also abide by government legislation which applies to children under the age of 18.’ It’s the club’s responsibility, not yours, to check that they aren’t contravening these regulations – so if anything isn’t right it will be picked up and dealt with after the match by the game’s administrators.

3) Disallow the goal, book the striker and send off the defender. The Laws state that any player who intentionally lies on the ball for an unreasonable length of time should be cautioned for unsporting behaviour, with an indirect free kick being awarded to his opponents. The defender must be sent off for serious foul play. But in practice, I’d hope a referee would stop the game quickly before this chain of events had a chance to unfold.

No 32 – Roy Keane


1) Your decision must be based on whether or not this is one continual action – you have to wait for the ball to finish its course. Here, the ball clearly hit the upright, then the keeper, then went in. It’s a goal.

2) Award a penalty and send off the defender for denying an obvious goal. You should also caution the attacker for unsporting behaviour: this is your call, not his. In a game that’s all about goals being scored, handling the ball on the line is among the most serious offences. It’s not a situation where playing advantage makes sense, so you should have blown your whistle the moment the defender handled it.

3) Stop play, award a penalty and show the defender a second yellow card for his reckless tackle. But this isn’t great refereeing: you’ve waited too long before making a decision. You should decide within two to three seconds whether or not to call play back for any offence. In this instance you should have whistled before the offender had made up the ground to clear the ball – which would have saved a lot of controversy.

No 33 – Alex Ferguson


1) It’s important that the player taking the kick concentrates on his game. You often see spectators standing behind the goal making every attempt to distract the penalty taker with loud whistling and arm-waving – it’s up to the taker to cope with any distraction. So no, don’t award a retake. It’s a goal-kick.

2) Stop play and award an indirect free-kick to the opposition. I wonder if any of our readers have ever seen this happen? In nearly 50 years of participating in the game, I never have. That is why the referee needs to have a full knowledge of the laws because clearly it could happen.

3) Stop play and award an indirect free-kick to the defending side. The striker, although he is lying down, is still interfering with play and offside. But under the fairplay convention I would expect the referee to have stopped play before the incident unfolded, taking into account the safety of the player

No 34 – Steven Gerrard


1) If the throw-in is taken correctly and you are satisfied that the thrower took it neither carelessly, recklessly nor using excessive force, you do not intervene and allow play to continue.

2) Both players would be dismissed from the field of play by being shown a red card. In order to determine how to restart play, you would ask both the assistants and the fourth official if they knew who initiated the fight. If it was the defender then the match would restart with a penalty-kick to the attacking team. If it was an attacker then play would restart with a direct free-kick. If, however, it remained unclear who instigated the trouble, you would restart play with a dropped ball.

3) Yes. Substitutes are not allowed to get involved with the crowd. So, in this case, the fourth official would step in and calm the situation down. Before the game the referee determines where the substitutes warm up. In the Premier League and the Football League it is on the right-hand touchline behind the senior assistant referee. However, the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy is experimenting with players warming up on the left-hand touchline, away from the dugouts.

No 35 – Zinedine Zidane


1) If the throw-in is taken correctly and you are satisfied that the thrower took it neither carelessly, recklessly nor using excessive force, you do not intervene and allow play to continue. Thanks to Dominic McCullough.

2) Both players would be dismissed from the field of play by being shown a red card. In order to determine how to restart play, you would ask both the assistants and the fourth official if they knew who initiated the fight. If it was the defender then the match would restart with a penalty-kick to the attacking team. If it was an attacker then play would restart with a direct free-kick. If, however, it remained unclear who instigated the trouble, you would restart play with a dropped ball. David Courtney wins the shirt for this question.

3) Yes. Substitutes are not allowed to get involved with the crowd. So, in this case, the fourth official would step in and calm the situation down. Before the game the referee determines where the substitutes warm up. In the Premier League and the Football League it is on the right-hand touchline behind the senior assistant referee. However, the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy is experimenting with players warming up on the left-hand touchline, away from the dugouts.

No 36 – Robinho


1) No, allow him to continue. As long as his name has this number on the team sheet, there’s nothing in the Laws that stops him having the number 0. All you need to know is his number and name so you can take disciplinary action. Keith Hackett: Not so long ago competition rules required shirts to be numbered 1 to 11, and a player could be number 7 one week and number 8 the next. But now a player can have any number from 0 to 100, but must keep that shirt all season. With the large squads at the top level now it helps boost shirt sales. In most lower leagues, though, the competition rules will determine the numbers – often 1 to 11 – and the size and colour of those numbers.

2) Yes, there’s no problem here – play on. A player can use the base of the corner flag post in exactly the same way he or she can use the goal post. The only time you’d intervene would be with a player using the crossbar to pull himself up to head the ball clear.

3) No, there’s no offence: the ball hasn’t yet entered the field of play, so you can allow it to be retaken. Even if it had entered play, you would rule that the throw had not been completed, so would order a retake anyway

No 37 – Pedro Mendez


1) No. If any player’s equipment is a danger to an opponent or to himself he must leave the field to rectify the problem. So ask him to leave the field to change his boot, but do not wait for him to return – you must restart the game as quickly as possible.

2) Award the goal. And if the ball hadn’t gone in, you would award a retake. The law is also very clear on what would happen if the player encroaching had been an attacker: a) If the penalty taker scored, you would disallow the goal and order a retake; b) If the taker missed, you would restart play with an indirect free-kick to the defending team from the place where the infringement occurred.

3) A goal-kick. The ball was never in play – and doesn’t enter play until it leaves the penalty area. A wry smile will help take the heat out of the situation.

No 38 – William Gallas


1) Disallow the goal, caution the keeper for an act of unsporting behaviour and restart play with an indirect free kick to the defence, taken from where the keeper shouted, or from anywhere inside the six-yard box if he shouted there. Referees are advised to penalise any calling if, in their opinion, it has deceived an opponent.

2) Disallow the goal and caution the stripper for an act of unsporting behaviour. Restart the game with the original free kick to the home side, as the ball wasn’t in play when the offence was committed. I’d also issue a further detailed report to the authorities who would, I’m sure, take further action against this player. It could even be a red card for an offensive gesture, depending on what he was wearing under his shorts.

3) Disallow the goal. The penalty taker’s run-up should be a continuous movement – he can feint to distract the keeper, but he can’t stop like this. Caution the kicker for unsporting behaviour and have the penalty kick retaken.

No 39 – Didier Drogba


1) a) Give a throw to the defending side. This is the safe option. It’s also important that you sell your decision in a positive manner and look like you know exactly what you’re doing.

2) Abandon the game and, later that evening, report the matter to the authorities. First, though, you would start a new game, this time ensuring that all the regulations are met. Of course, this really should never have happened: it’s one of your key responsibilities to check the correct number of players are on the field of play before starting the game, and then again at half time, particularly taking into account any players you may have dismissed.

3) Show the player who shouted the remark the red card. His comment may not include swearing, but can clearly be interpreted as insulting and abusive: you’re perfectly within your rights to dismiss the aggressor.

No 40 – Carlos Tevez


1) The kick is taken outside the edge of the penalty area, where the second foul took place. The advantage has been played. Once the second foul is committed the phase of play that allowed the advantage has been terminated. Don’t ignore that first foul. You may still wish to take disciplinary action over it. But the second foul is the ‘live’ one.

2) Record the kick as a miss. The kick taker needs to concentrate better than this. There are all sorts of potential distractions to overcome during a shoot-out. The injured keeper can be replaced for the rest of the shoot-out (though an injured outfield player can’t be).

3) It’s a goal. The goalkeeper is allowed to take this or any other throw if he wants to, so long as his action is legal. The fact that he is wearing gloves makes no difference. Outfield players wearing gloves can take throws, and so can goalkeepers.

No 41 – Brad Friedel


1) Abandon the game, ask the teams to reform and start the game from scratch. It’s a tough one, but you must call a halt to proceedings. At the conclusion of the game, the matter would be handed to the authorities because the team are at fault for allowing an ineligible player to take part.

2) The team would start the second half with the same number of players they had at the end of the first half. The offender had already been substituted, so the red card doesn’t impact on the number of players or the number of subs that may be used.

3) Award a throw to the opposition. Once the ball crosses the touchline on to the field of play it is then ‘in play’, so in this case it’s as if the player had passed the ball into touch.

No 42 – Peter Crouch


1) Yes. Tell the manager to stop using it – he has a duty to act responsibly. If he doesn’t stop, remove him from the technical area and the vicinity of the field of play. This isn’t too different from using radio communication systems between the coach and the players.

2) Abandoning the game would be an extreme reaction, and very embarrassing for the player involved. However, you can’t let things stay as they are. So you should have the keeper substituted, then report all the facts to the authorities after the game. Females over the age of 12 are not allowed to play in open-age male football.

3) Play has not been stopped for the foul, so allow the goal to stand. The defender’s ruse has worked… Caution the keeper for unsporting behaviour and restart play with a kick-off. However, if you judged that the foul constituted serious foul play or violent conduct then you could still send the keeper off – but not for ‘DOGSO’.

No 43 – Thierry Henry


1 c) Abandon the game, but only after an intense effort to get the home team to play on. You must make the club aware of their responsibilities in the strongest terms and keep the media and spectators informed. The decision to abandon would be taken with the full approval of police and the competition management. I shudder to think what the financial penalty and points deduction would be. But rest assured, they would be substantial.

2) Stop play, award a penalty and show the defender the red card for denying a goalscoring opportunity. You played on, but the advantage did not occur, so you must punish the original foul. Then show the striker a yellow card for his retaliation.

3) State firmly that the away-team manager did not enter your dressing room and defuse the situation. A clash of this nature cannot happen: a League Managers’ Association agreement means no manager can enter your room at half time, and may not visit you until 30 minutes after the game.

No 44 – Lionel Messi


1) Send your colleague off the field of play, and replace him with the fourth official. You then have to find someone to take over the fourth official duties – which could involve a PA request to fans to see if there’s a qualified referee in the crowd. If there’s no response, the match assessor could get involved. You should also consider what action to take against the player: depending on the level of abuse you heard, you could dismiss him too. Then leave the authorities to deal with both individuals after the game.

2) Tell the striker to calm down, get another pair of gloves from his kitman, and have a quiet word with the keeper. The keeper hasn’t broken any laws. With any conflict, try to get your body in between the two individuals concerned, and take the heat out of the situation quickly.

3) It’s a goal. The attacker hasn’t committed an offence – you can’t make a decision based on his intent. It’s up to the goalkeeper to be sharper.

No 45 – Graham Poll


1) Dismiss him. If your assistant shows dissent and uses insulting language towards you, you cannot allow him to continue: tell him to leave the pitch, replace him with the fourth official, and report the matter to the authorities. Many years ago I had two parents, not qualified officials, volunteer to run the lines for me in a junior game. During the match I had to overrule one of the volunteers, who’d clearly made a wrong decision. To my surprise, he ran towards me, waving his flag, and continued to run until he was flapping it in my face. He then threw it on to the muddy pitch, stamped on it and informed me in no uncertain terms that he was off home.

2) Penalise the goalkeeper. The forward is allowed to charge the goalkeeper in a fair manner in this part of the penalty area. So as the legal challenge has ended in the keeper holding the ball outside the area, award a free-kick to the attacking side for handball.

3) Only one player from each side is allowed to compete. Discard the captains’ requests and get a grip on the situation

No 46 – Ricky Sbragia


1) Yes – you have to intervene. Don’t allow him to participate until he has left the field and had the paint washed off. It’s like the use of any slogan or symbol: you’d caution a player who displayed religious slogans mid-match or pulled on a mask after scoring – it’s all the same territory, so you can’t sanction the use of voodoo face paint – not even for Warbury Warriors.

2)  Disallow the goal. You’re there to make decisions and in a case like this where you’re unsure, it’s far better to disallow a goal rather than award a doubtful one. But it’s much better still to have avoided the confusion in the first place. Referees really need to be vigilant in their pre-match kit inspections. In the same way you wouldn’t let opponents wear identically coloured socks, so you can easily distinguish who kicked what, you wouldn’t allow the goalkeepers’ colours to clash either.

3) No – the substitution is complete when the old player has left the field and the new one has entered – and one foot on the pitch is enough. The manager, having used all his subs, can’t now replace the injured player. Subs really do need to warm up properly.

No 47 – Christiano Ronaldo


1) The player is guilty of unsporting behaviour by gaining an unfair advantage over his opponents. The goal would be disallowed and the player shown the yellow card. You have to be sure, though, that the attacker has gained height in an unfair manner.

2) You can’t lose control of a game like this. In these circumstances, the nearest assistant would quickly join you on the field of play noting the players involved and attempting to calm things down. The second assistant referee would also enter the field of play moving towards the centre of the confrontation, noting any player that has run some distance to get involved. Once the confrontation has calmed down you should show any red cards as appropriate based on what you’ve seen, then consult with your assistants to see if they’ve seen any further incidents that require a red. There’s no limit to how many you can send off, but if the team is reduced to fewer than seven players the game would be abandoned and the team reported to the appropriate authorities.

3) The player would be shown the red card, sent off and a penalty awarded. The player has deliberately prevented a goal in an unacceptable and unfair manner. Although only his boot came into contact with the ball, it was held in his hand, and so became an extension of the hand

No 48 – Shay Given


1) Dismiss the complaints. As odd as it may seem, there’s nothing in the laws to regulate the size of gloves: they simply need to be safe – so you’d base your decision on that. There are various rules about gloves – including the condition in some competitions that they can only carry one logo – but nothing to do with size.

2) Ignore what you’ve overheard. You’re within your rights to change your decision before the restart, but can you really trust the player’s comment – particularly when you don’t have any corroborative evidence from your assistants? You need to be absolutely certain to overrule such a crucial decision, and hearsay doesn’t add up to much – so stand by your original call.

3) Make a representative from the home club remove the muck, and make the pitch, in your opinion, fit for play. You do have to consider any danger or risk to players, which includes issues around hygiene, but really, this is an over-reaction from the top-flight players. In my career I’ve had to have all sorts removed from pitches before games: and I remember vividly having to get a shovel out myself to move cow pats before one Sunday match.

No 49 – Theo Walcott


1) You cannot show more than one red card, but you can punish multiple red card offences. Report the additional offences to the authorities, who will then almost certainly increase the length of the player’s suspension. Press reports in Scotland a couple of years ago that Dundee winger Andy McLaren was shown three red cards in one game were misleading: only one card was actually shown, but the referee’s report included two further incidents that were both red-card offences in their own right. The authorities dealt with it accordingly: McLaren was banned for eight games. And in 2001, Forfar Athletic’s Dave Bowman was reported for offences amounting to four red cards in a match against Stranraer: he was banned for 17 games.

2) b) A throw. The ball was dead.

3) Show the player the red card and send the manager to the stands – then report him to the Football Association. You must then restart the game with a drop ball.

No 50 – Kaka


1) This is the goalkeeper’s problem, not yours. He hasn’t been fouled or impeded – he has become caught in the net as a result of his own actions. So he’s just unlucky – the opposition have done nothing wrong: it’s a goal even if the goalkeeper is injured. It has happened so fast that you wouldn’t have had time to assess whether or not to stop the game for a serious injury anyway.

2) The fact that you believe the manager is attempting to protect his side for the forthcoming crucial relegation match isn’t relevant. You simply have to follow the laws of the game, and a manager is perfectly entitled to reduce his own team in this way.

3) Ignore the complaints from opponents: it’s a valid throw. As long as part of each foot is in contact with the touchline then the throw is legal. It’s your job as referee to watch the player’s hands to make sure he is throwing in the correct way, and it’s your assistant’s job to watch his feet, to make sure he is behind, or touching, the touchline. The main throw-in offences referees have to watch out for are illegal one-handed throws, and ballboys only making towels available to the home side.

No 51 – Paul Scholes


1) Explain clearly that a player must not use any equipment or wear anything that is dangerous to himself or any other player, including jewellery, and tell him to leave the field until it is removed. If the player is convinced you are discriminating against him, he can write to the FA. You should also report the matter so that the club can be reminded of their responsibility to ensure their players conform to law.

2) d) Do nothing – apart from make sure the home club know what has happened to their ball. Before kick-off the ball is handed to you and it is your responsibility to return it at the end of the game. Protocol would be for the referee to take the ball off the pitch and allow the home club to make the decision to award it to the player, but I wouldn’t make a fuss. In the professional game, I’m sure no one would really begrudge the striker keeping it.

3) Stop play until the player leaves the field. A player cannot take part in a game with blood anywhere on him or his clothing – but neither can a referee demand a substitution. You do, though, have the power to insist the player leaves the field of play. Do not allow him back on until all the bloodied kit has been replaced and the bleeding has stopped.

No 52 – Jimmy Bullard


1) If you’re satisfied that the player lying on the ground isn’t injured and the player taking the free-kick has positioned the ball correctly, then play on: the attacking team shouldn’t be penalised if they take a quick free-kick. Allow the goal to stand.

2) Act quickly and decisively. If you decide that both of these challenges are more than reckless, and the players are using excessive force and endangering each other’s safety, then you have to show two red cards. Your next decision is how to restart play: who was the most guilty? If it’s the defender, award a penalty, if it’s the attacker, award a direct free-kick. If you really can’t decide, re-start with a drop ball. You need to be well positioned, with a good viewing angle. Whatever you give, you’re not going to be the most popular person on the field of play, so show courage – one of the key qualities of any top referee.

3) Yes – don’t let him play on. The player is guilty of unsporting behaviour, so stop play and issue a caution. You could argue that the player, in using his shirt like this to cushion the ball, is guilty of deliberate hand ball. Restart play with a direct free-kick.

No 53 – Petr Cech


1) a) Take no action, but continue to monitor his behaviour closely. There’s nothing in the laws on this, so you need to use common sense: if at any time he acts in a way which endangers himself or an opponent, you should consult with the club’s officials – it remains their decision to replace him. You are not powerless, though. If, for instance, several players had been on the same bender and were playing dangerously, you could abandon the game and report the matter to the authorities.

2) Your assistant is correct: the striker is offside. You should remind the player disputing the decision that there’s only no offside if the ball is received direct from a goal-kick, a corner or a throw.

3) c) Penalise both. It is an offence to impede the keeper when he attempts to release the ball: he must be allowed the opportunity to run wide of his opponent within the six seconds allowed. Show the striker the yellow card. But, equally, the goalkeeper has committed an act of violent conduct after you blew the whistle for the first offence, so show him the red card. Because you had blown for the first offence, restart play with an indirect free-kick to the defending side.

No 54 – Djibril Cisse


1) No goal: the free-kick must be retaken. The ball must leave the penalty area in order to be in play – so the defender has been very lucky.

2) This is one of those times where you need to use common sense rather than try to apply the law in a rigid way. A good referee would take both players to one side and issue them with a clear public warning. Restart play with a kick-off in the usual way.

3) It’s not a deliberate hand ball, so allow play to continue. You need to keep a cool head in situations like this, and make a clear judgment based on these questions: a) Are the hands in a natural position or has the defender deliberately positioned them to make his body larger to stop the ball? b) Is the defender moving his hands towards the ball or attempting to get them out of the way? And c) What is his distance from the ball? A snap shot from a metre away hardly allows any time for the defender to retract his hands, and so the ball striking the hand may not have been deliberate. It’s different if the ball has travelled some distance. I’m amazed when watching games how the crowd scream for a foul whenever the ball strikes a hand – it’s a complex law.

No 55 – Howard Webb, OBE

55 HWebb

1) As everyone spotted – trick question: there’s no limit to the amount of time you can add on. I’d pull the captain over and make him and everyone else aware that I would be staying until midnight to make sure the right amount of added time was played. If players continued to waste time, I would continue showing yellow cards and dismissing any repeat offenders. I’d also make it very clear to the captain that if this behaviour continued and his team went down to seven men as a result of my red cards, the game would be abandoned and he and his team would be reported to the authorities.

2) Allow play to continue – do not award an offside. Wait until the ball eventually goes out of play – for a goal, a throw, a corner, etc – and then book the goalkeeper for leaving the field of play without permission.

3) Because the sub hasn’t entered the field of play before taking the kick. A substitution isn’t complete unless the player has entered the field at the halfway line. The fourth official manages this process to ensure the law has been complied with. An alert referee would have intervened sooner in this situation to stop the player taking the corner.

No 56 – Guus Hiddink


1) Disallow the goal. The law states quite clearly that the penalty taker must be clearly identified. So you can’t let it stand: restart the game by ordering a retake. You may also caution both players if you considered this to be unsporting behaviour.

2) Disallow the goal. Once a player has been sent off he becomes an “outside agent”. So he’s not treated as a player, substitute or substituted player. So in this situation, you must restart with a dropped ball from a point on the six-yard line, parallel to the goal line, nearest to where the ball entered the goal, and the player must leave the field of play. The substitution, though, still counts: when he came on, that was one of their three substitutions. If his team have now used all three subs, they now play with nine men. You should then report the full facts to the authorities: your error, the player’s red card and his “further misconduct”. Action, no doubt, will be taken against the player and against the club for allowing the illegal substitution – and probably against you, too. At all levels referees need to follow the correct substitute procedure.

3) Send both of them off – the defender for his racist gesture, and the striker for violent conduct.

No 57 – Andrei Schevchenko


1) Don’t enter into any discussion with the manager: remove him from the pitch, dismiss him from the technical area and report him to the authorities. He has no right to enter the field of play to question your decision. 30 minutes after the game, I would then allow the manager to enter my dressing room, where I would remind him that the laws of the game do allow lines that are up to five inches wide. The width of the lines at any ground isn’t determined by the groundsman, the manager, or the referee – it’s determined by the width of the goalposts. If the goalposts are three inches wide, so are the lines – if the posts are five inches wide, the lines are, too. You were right – the manager was very wrong.

2)  c) Delay the kick-off. You cannot play with unmarked shirts, and borrowing the home side’s kit would mean problems with both club’s shirt sponsors – and you would have to find a different-coloured goalkeeper’s jersey. Referees need to be aware of this issue – recently a team in Moscow had to get to the ground by underground after their bus broke down. Your priority is to get the match played, so, taking police advice and using their help to retrieve the kit, I would delay kick-off.

3)      a) A penalty. The strapping does not mean he can use the excuse that this was unavoidably ball to hand: he has simply used his hand to prevent a goal. Send him off.

No 58 – Ryan Giggs


1) The striker has conned you and the opposition – it’s obviously not sporting. So show him a yellow card for unsporting behaviour, followed by a red as he’d been cautioned earlier. Restart play with an indirect free-kick from where he kicked the ball goalwards.

2) Call the player back. As hard as it may be to swallow, apologise to him, and explain to him and both captains that he’d been cautioned, and you pulled out the red card by mistake. But you also need to warn him about his language, and tell him in no uncertain terms that he needs to behave for the remainder of the game. When I coach referees I always suggest to them to keep the yellow card in their right-hand shorts pocket, and the red in their shirt pocket, fastened with either a button or Velcro. Then, before showing the card, ask for the player’s name and inform him that you’re cautioning him, then show the card. That ensures that you avoid this sort of problem. The button on the shirt pocket also gives you some thinking time to assess your decision.

3) The player is offside. Your assistant must flag him offside, despite the player having run off the field of play.

No 59 – Paul Jewell

1)  No – referees aren’t dictators: use some common sense and show some compassion – this is a serious injury. At the first stoppage, run over and have a quiet word. Remind the physio to indicate as soon as possible whether the player will be coming back on, or whether a substitution will be made.

2)  The home captain is correct. The law was changed in 1997. Before the change, winning the toss meant the captain could choose between either taking the kick-off or choosing ends. Now there is no choice. The team winning the toss now has only the choice of ends, with the kick-off taken by the team that loses the toss.

3)      Ask the goalkeeper to remove the bear. The penalty taker’s complaint about distraction is valid – I’d ask the keeper to remove the bear, and if he still refused or argued, I’d insist. It is your, and your assistants’, responsibility to inspect the goal nets on arrival at the ground and before kick-off, to make sure they are secure and unobstructed. In recent times officials have had to ask broadcasters to remove microphones and sometimes mini-cameras from in and around the nets, where they are not permitted.

No 60 Phil Brown


1) You can’t allow this situation to go on – just because there isn’t anyone obvious to caution, that doesn’t stop you taking firm action. As referee you are the sole timekeeper, and you must make that very clear to everyone involved. So stop your watch, then call the home captain over and inform him that you’re aware of what his team is doing, and issue him with a very public warning. Make sure that the away side are also aware that you’re on top of it, and that you’ll play on until midnight if needs be. Don’t caution the captain, though, because if no one took the throw even after the yellow card, you’d then have to send him off. So what should you do if they still refuse to take the throw? Simple: abandon the game. The full facts would be reported to the authorities, the club would be fined, and the game could be replayed or the result awarded to their opponents.

2)      Disallow the goal, show the bull a yellow card and award a retaken free-kick. It’s inventive, and pretty entertaining, but it’s also a deliberate act of unsporting behaviour.

3) The captain is wrong – the laws make no allowance for captains overruling their managers.

No 61 Michael Carrick


1) No goal. Law 4 requires a player to wear the right footwear, so the goal cannot count. This sort of situation highlights why referees have to be alert to everything going on around them. If you see a player remove a boot, blow up immediately and tell the player to leave the pitch if he needs to adjust his kit. The player must then wait for the next stoppage before he can come back on – and you must also recheck his kit for suitability before letting him continue.

2) a) A goal. The ball stayed in play. The whole of it has to cross the touchline before it is dead and in this case the throw-taker can legitimately strike the ball while he’s standing off the pitch. It’s a complicated one though – if this wasn’t a throw-in and a player standing off the field of play without your permission struck the ball, he would earn himself a yellow card.

3) Award a goal. The striker’s offside position is irrelevant because the ball has been played by an opponent – the only consideration here is whether the ball travels outside the penalty area from the free-kick.

No 62 – Robbie Savage


1) You would not reduce the team to 10 men. The referee would request the substituted player to leave the technical area and report him to the authorities.

2) The goalkeeper has made contact with the ball outside the penalty area, so you would award a direct free-kick. Keith Hackett: This is similar to a defender inside the penalty area tripping an opponent outside the area. The point of contact, and hence the free-kick, is outside the area. The referee also has to ensure that in committing this offence the goalkeeper has not denied an obvious goalscoring opportunity. If he has, then a red card would also be given. If the referee deemed it an act of unsporting behaviour, a yellow card would be shown.

3) No, you do not give the goal. If you judged that this was an accident and not a deliberate act, restart play with a drop ball from where the contact occurred on the touchline. Keith Hackett: If however the player had stepped on to the field before a signal and the ball had struck him, he would be cautioned; and you would restart the game with an indirect free-kick

No 63 – Mike Riley

63 MRiley

1) b) Book the striker and restart play with an indirect free-kick to the opposition. Players must always remember that raising the shirt above the head is a cautionable offence. In this case, the authorities would deal with the content of the slogan later.

2) Award a drop-ball. The gloves count as “outside interference”, like any other obstacle. You must drop the ball on the six-yard line.

3)      Award a goal. The attackers are correct and no offence has been committed. This is an extremely challenging question, though. There is currently nothing in the laws of the game to cover this situation – I have raised it with Fifa. But as things stand, each individual referee would have to make a judgment and I based mine on this: a) If you had seen in time that the goalkeeper was unconscious, you would have blown up before the goal was scored. You would then award a drop ball where the keeper was hit (or on the six-yard line). You would not award a retaken penalty, because no offence has been committed. b) However, as you didn’t see that the keeper was unconscious in time, you cannot intervene: it’s a goal.

No 64 – Luka Modric


1) No. Only the referee can officiate and apply the laws of the game. The captain does not decide how you referee the game and therefore his request would be denied. Keith Hackett: I would also suggest that he gets on with playing the game and leaves the business of officiating to you.

2) Dismiss the goalkeeper. He has clearly committed a serious offence from which his team have benefited and, given the circumstances, his actions have denied an obvious goal scoring opportunity, so he must be shown the red card. Have the defending team choose someone to take over in goal and re-start play with an indirect free kick at the point inside the penalty area where he dropped his shorts.

3) Again you must dismiss the goalkeeper. However, as with the previous circumstances a team must have a goalkeeper and so, before restarting play, another player needs to go in goal and put on a distinguishing coloured jersey. Otherwise the game would have to be abandoned. Having blown for the initial offence on the goalkeeper you would restart play with a direct free kick to the defending team.

No 65 Steven Gerrard


1) Don’t join in the dancing – you must end this idiocy quickly. I would walk towards the two players, then stop halfway and request that they join me, which would put an immediate stop to the dancing. When I had their attention, I’d warn them in no uncertain manner that they were a disgrace and damaging the image of the game – and that if they did it again, they’d been booked for unsporting behaviour.

2) b) Book him for unsporting behaviour. Goalkeepers attempting to extend their vision of their goal in this way is a problem. Many years ago I was at one of my local grounds Stockbridge Works whose groundsman Big Jack took great pride in the state of the field of play. The first thing he’d do on a match day was go to the dressing rooms and make it very clear that any goalkeeper marking his pitch in this way would do so at his peril. At one particular game, he was so annoyed to see a goalkeeper ignoring his rule, taking huge divots out of the pitch, that Big Jack intervened in the half-time team talk to give the keeper a firm final warning. When the keeper then did it again in the second half, Big Jack strode onto the pitch and, with a straight right-hand punch, knocked the keeper spark out. He always regretted getting into trouble – but he’d always remind me of the story whenever I visited Stockbridge.

3) Yes, give the goal. You would already have inspected the headgear at half time and approved it as safe and legal.

No 66 Marouane Fellaini


1) The red card stands. The team should have informed you before kick off that they had a player with a serious hearing problem. As it is, you’re not to know either way – you could be being deceived by the captain. By sticking to the laws, you’ll have at least made sure that next week’s referee will be informed before kick-off. It’s an interesting scenario. Many years ago I had the privilege of refereeing an international between two sides of deaf players representing England and Scotland. I had to carry a whistle and a flag and use both to signal every decision. It was amazing how the players reacted almost instantly each time: there was no dissent, just the odd smile from them at my expense… It was a terrific match too, and a great experience.

2) Ignore the request. Both halves must be of equal duration. Only if the conditions worsened or it got too dark would you abandon the game early – you’d then send a report to the competition who could let the score stand or order a replay.

3) Goalposts need to be square, rectangular, round or elliptical in shape. So play the game. The different shapes will be the same for both teams, except in different halves

No 67 Avram Grant


1) Yes. You, as referee, are the sole timekeeper. It’s your responsibility to make sure that a mistake like this does not happen. In the top flight, you talk directly to your fourth official via the communication system. And outside the top flight, you show the fourth official how many minutes to display on the board with the following hand signal: hold your arm out horizontally and bring it down to your shorts once for each minute to be added. So in this situation, six downward ‘flaps’ of the arm would indicate six minutes. But whatever the method of communication and whatever number appears on the board, it is up to you to decide how much time you play. Fans should also bear in mind that the number that appears on the board only shows the minimum time to play: any stoppages during that added time must also be taken into account.

2) b) Award an indirect free-kick. The defender can be shown a card depending on the seriousness of the foul, but as the offence did not take place inside the area, you cannot award a penalty. The free-kick should be taken from the point where the ball was when you stopped play – or if the ball was inside the six-yard box, from the point nearest to where the ball was on the six-yard line, parallel with the goalline. See Update below.

Update Since this strip was drawn in 2007, ‘Additional Instructions for Referees’ were introduced (2007-08) which clarified how you’d deal with the scenario in question two. Now it is clear that in this situation you would have to award a dropped ball. In short: when you stop play for an offence committed outside the field of play (when the ball is in play) you must award a dropped ball from where it was when play was stopped. That’s how things stand at present, but there is a logical argument against it which might see the Law changed in the next couple of years. Namely, by giving a drop ball restart you are giving the defence an advantage in being able to contest the ball immediately after being guilty of an offence. If they have committed an offence, then they should not be allowed a 50-50 chance of gaining possession of the ball when play is restarted. It’s an issue sure to be debated in the near future.

3) Tell the player to remove the cap or leave the pitch: it does not conform to the laws of the game. Goalkeepers have been allowed to wear caps of various designs for many years: remember Bert Trautmann?

No 68 Mark Hughes


1) Send off the goalkeeper for denying a certain goal. Restart play with an indirect free kick from the point on the six-yard line parallel to the goal-line, nearest to where the contact occurred. The goalkeeper has badly mistimed his drink break. Preventing a certain goal by using an object like this is a serious offence, worse than unsporting behaviour.

2)      Blow for full-time. Report the facts to the competition, which will then decide if it should order a replay. Clearly not the best piece of refereeing ever… But it’s not entirely your error – one of your assistants should have told you once you had played six minutes (a minimum of five minutes allows you to play upto 5:59).

3) Stop play and award a drop ball from where the ball made contact with the plastic bag. If the contact took place inside the goal area (six-yard box), then the drop ball is on the six-yard line that is parallel to the goal-line at a point nearest to where the contact occurred. This is not the same as question one. The plastic bag is an outside agent – the moment the ball makes contact with it, play is dead – so the fact the keeper subsequently picked the bag up is irrelevant.

No 69 Wayne Rooney


1)  a) Award the goal, as you would any other own goal. The fact that it was deliberate makes no difference. b) Yes. If the team haven’t already used their full complement of substitutes then they can bring a new player on to replace the striker. But you must still take action over this incident. After the game you should report the player to the authorities for his behaviour, and for leaving the field without permission.

2)   Award the goal. The laws of the game don’t allow you to disallow a goal and award a retaken drop ball. However, I’d be very confident that, in this situation, the players would provide the solution – allowing the opponents to score unchallenged direct from the restart, for instance. Failing that, there is the Sheffield United/Arsenal precedent. In 1999, Arsenal beat United 2-1 in the FA Cup fifth round. The winning goal came as a result of Kanu collecting a ball sportingly returned to him by United, and playing on: he crossed the ball for Marc Overmars to score. It provoked uproar, but the laws of the game did not allow the referee to intervene. After the game, though, Arsene Wenger offered Steve Bruce a replay, and with the FA’s consent, it took place 10 days later.

3)  No. There is nothing in the laws to stipulate that strapping around the ankles – as often worn by Cristiano Ronaldo – has to be the same colour as his socks.

No 70 David Moyes


1) You’ve given the goal, but the game hasn’t restarted, so you can now change your decision. Disallow the goal, show the sub a yellow card for entering the field of play without permission, then instruct him to leave the field so that the substitution procedure can be completed correctly. Restart play with an indirect free-kick to the opposing team from anywhere in the six-yard box. The subbed player, like all other players, had left the field at half-time with your permission, so no need to caution him.

2) Go to the technical area and speak to the senior person occupying the bench – usually the manager – and send him to the stand for irresponsible behaviour. Inform him that you are reporting the matter to the authorities, then warn the other occupants of the bench that if there’s no improvement in their behaviour you’ll be issuing appropriate sanctions for misconduct.

3) Disallow the goal, get the groundsman to deal with the sprinkler, then restart play with a drop ball where the contact was made just outside the goal area. The sprinkler isn’t part of the fabric of the game (like a corner flagpost, goal post, crossbar, nets, etc) – it has just popped up, so must be treated as an “outside agent”.

No 71 Steve Coppell


1) Book him. As the title suggests, you are the ref, not him. Caution the player for an act of unsporting behaviour and make sure that the wall remains 9.15m from the kick-taker. The instructions to referees for managing free-kicks are clear: a) Ensure that the ball is correctly placed and that the taker knows not to proceed until you give a signal (underpin this message by showing the kick-taker your whistle). b) Pace out 9.15m, and ensure no player encroaches. c) Take up a position and signal for the kick to be taken.

2) Tell them to play on, but report the matter to the authorities at the end of the game. This should be rare: electronic perimeter advertising boards are designed and positioned so that they do not distract the players.

3) Yes, he can change the order of the kick-takers. Where all the players in a shoot-out have taken one kick and the score is still equal, the captains are allowed to select in which order his players take their second kicks. So in this case, the player who has lost his confidence could be put at the bottom of the list.

No 72 Alan Shearer


1) Give the goal. You have signalled for the kick to be taken and the player has kicked the ball. Nowhere in the laws does it say a player cannot backheel a penalty towards goal.

2) Players should always play to the whistle – but in the case of a head injury, use common sense. With all head injuries you must stop play immediately and call for treatment. Restart play with a dropped ball. In this case, the defender was simply quicker than your whistle. You should explain to the complaining attackers that the defender was reacting to the seriousness of their colleague’s injury, and that you were about to whistle anyway.

3) Stand by your decision. Tell your assistant that you have made the call and do not need his input. Really, this is poor teamwork. Before kick-off, you should have made clear to your assistants when their input is needed for penalty area incidents. If you have seen the incident and acted upon it, you do not need their input. If you feel you do need help with the decision, you will look to your colleagues and request it. The chain of command should be clear. At the top levels of the game, this sort of mess is rare because of the communication system: officials can discuss incidents openly without flags being waved.

No 73 Neil Warnock


1) a) Hand him the flag, wish him all the best, and tell him and the two teams that you will be overseeing all offside decisions in his half. Premier League players can run up to 9.9 metres per second, so don’t expect too much. This sort of thing does happen. Older readers will remember Jimmy Hill running the line at Arsenal in 1972 after a PA announcement asking for a replacement linesman. I also have direct experience, having had to ask the crowd for a replacement official before an FA Cup tie at QPR. Two volunteers were brought to my dressing room: one informed me he had just retired from the Southern League officials’ list, and was experienced. The other was in his mid-20s and told me he’d qualified as a referee a few days earlier. I decided to go with the older guy, which was just as well – when I broke the news the younger one rolled up his sleeve to reveal the tattoo: ‘QPR FOREVER’.

2) You can’t take action based on this allegation – but tell your assistants to monitor the situation. If you or your colleagues witness this happening, then you can intervene and stop it. But your first priority must always be to act quickly to get treatment to a player with an apparent head injury, so you rely on the honesty and integrity of players.

3) b) Award a free kick against him for handball. But this is poor refereeing. The moment the player stopped running you should have blown and penalised the original incident. As it is, you’ve waited too long.

No 74 Stuart Pearce


1) It’s a red card. But his team do not start the game with 10 men: as the incident took place before the kick-off he can be replaced by a named sub. But the kick-off must not be delayed. The team would then have one fewer sub on their bench.

2) The striker may well be furious, but no offence has been committed. Players are allowed to shield the ball, provided it is within playing distance. So play on. A chaotic situation like this, though, needs some pretty careful, quick analysis, and there’s lots to consider. Was the defender actually guilty of dangerous play in flinging himself forward like that? If so, then you’d give an indirect free kick to the attacking team. Or if you’d seen the defender make contact with the attacker, did he impede him? If so, it’s an indirect free kick, with the possibility of a red card.

3) You have made a decision, without the involvement of your colleagues, so have the courage to stick with what you have seen. The red blotch could have been from a previous incident. The art of good refereeing is this: See the offence; recognise it; think; then act. You should stand by the decisions you make, and if you are wrong, learn. Being indecisive isn’t an option.

No 75 Sven Goran Eriksson


1)      You certainly should. In many games referees need to be educators and I encourage proactive rather than reactive refereeing. Prevention of offences will often improve the game and your standing as a referee. So in this situation, act quickly and try to stop the throw before he has taken it. Advise the player that he must take throws from within a reasonable distance of where the ball went out. Only if the player then takes no notice or repeats the offence later should you award a foul throw.

2)      Yes, allow the change – there is nothing to stop a change of taker. Remember, however, that the law does allow the goalkeeper to move from side to side on the line – only penalise him if he moves forward.

3)      This is your decision, not his. Your options for dealing with this serious issue are clearly set out. In the first instance, stop play and approach the technical area, requesting that the ground security officer, the police commander and the club’s chief executive meet you. Explain the problem and request police action and an announcement over the PA. At the same time, encourage the players to continue playing, to show that the racists will not succeed in disrupting the game. Only if, on returning to the pitch, the abuse continues, should you then move to take police advice over an abandonment. Either way, the matter would be reported to the governing body who would take very firm action. Fortunately, I find it hard to imagine this scenario in this country.

No 76 Michael Ballack


1) They are allowed to swop shirts and change places at any time when the ball is out of play, having notified you, even after the award of a penalty. But they cannot exchange places and shirts when the ball is in play and without notifying you. The player with the keeper’s jersey is the only player allowed to handle the ball. So you need to wait until the ball is next out of play, then show both players the yellow card for not notifying you of the change back of positions and waiting until the ball is next out of play. Restart play in the appropriate manner.

2) This isn’t an ideal situation, so you need to be sure of the facts. First of all, the player is the assistant physio. So check to see if the physio him or herself is present, and if so, call him/her on to treat the player instead. If not, you have to prioritise care of players, so you should allow the assistant to carry on. Clubs do use an injury to players to pass on tactics, and the referee cannot intervene.

3) Speak to the team captain and warn him that if they continue to carry out their protest, you will abandon the game at 3-0 and report the facts to the competition

No 77 Edwin van der Sar


1) Dismiss him. If he is serving a touchline ban, he is, depending on the conditions imposed, banned from being involved in the match, even as a player-manager, so you shouldn’t have allowed it to get to this stage. However, if this scenario were to arise, then you should dismiss him from the touchline and tell him in the strongest terms that he cannot participate further in the game, even as a substitute.

2) Yes, sadly. Award the goal and immediately call for the stretcher and the trainer to enter the field of play.

3) Yes, award the goal. The kick-taker did not deliberately remove the flagpost, it was an accident. The flagpost must be replaced before kick-off

No 78 Emmanual Adebayor


1) Stop wasting everyone’s time. Tell the captain to make sure his players concentrate on the game and play to the whistle. Neither you nor they should be worrying about kids waving scarves. At professional level you will be alerted to any signal from an assistant by the buzzer on the flag: when your assistant presses it, the receiver on your arm vibrates. So there’s no need for anyone to worry about confusing flag signals.

2) Stop the game. Allow the physio to come on to attend to the injured player. The trainer can inspect the injury then treat the injured player off the field of play. Referees are reminded on a regular basis to treat head injuries with extreme caution and to stop the game if any doubt exists about the safety of a player. You may suspect the player of gamesmanship here, but you can’t take risks with a potential head wound.

3) d) Something else… You should stop the game, order the teams to switch ends then re-start the second half and play the full 45 minutes, not 40 minutes, plus any stoppage time. Then report the matter, and yourself, to the authorities. Good referees use a notebook to record who kicked off etc to avoid nonsenses like this.

No 79 Carlos Tevez


1) It’s a goal. You can’t intervene here – this situation simply proves how important it is for players to concentrate throughout. The old adage is true: teams are never more vulnerable than in the moments after celebrating.

2) A goal. You often hear the shout “play to the whistle”, and it’s entirely right. The assistant referee is exactly that – your assistant. He’s there to contribute towards the decisions you make. Players should never react to the raised flag.

3) b) Have the penalty retaken. The player has effectively taken the kick without waiting for your signal, so the kick is invalid. And given how crucial the penalty is, you need to get it right. A nightmare scenario. But frankly, letting this happen in the first place is unsatisfactory – you’ve singularly failed to impose yourself on the situation. Any watching assessor won’t be impressed.

No 80 Stephen Ireland


1) Take no action – play on. For the purposes of judging an offside, the player who retrieved the ball is considered to be on the goalline near the corner flagpost. So he is effectively level with the two players who were guarding the posts when the ball was kicked, and is therefore onside.

2) Send off the player you believe to be the worst offender, and award a penalty. Both players are guilty here – but there is only one offence to punish. Had they both punched the striker simultaneously then there would clearly be two offences and two red cards. However, their combined action has resulted in one offence being committed, namely the denying of an obvious goalscoring opportunity. So while your instinct may be to dismiss both, in practice you would only dismiss whichever player you believe to have been most at fault. One offence, one red card.

3) You cannot alter your approach because of what you suspect. Continue to referee the game in a fair, firm and equitable manner. If, as a result, the home team is reduced to six players, whether by the number of red cards or by injuries, you cannot restart the game. The game is abandoned and the home club are reported to the authorities. It would be a very foolish way to try to secure the title.

No 81 Uriah Rennie

81 URennie

No 82 David Beckham


No 83 Joleon Lescott


Answers will appear in due course.

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