First in-game use of video replay in soccer last Saturday – and it worked well!

Mini-documentary on refereeing in the MLS

Real time decision making for referees

A careful person, a wise person, when faced with an unexpected situation says, “Hold on, I’ll think about this for a minute. I’ll mull it over and then I’ll decide”. When a lawyer finds himself being asked a tricky question by a client he the possibility, or rather the duty, of saying, “I’ll see you in a week, let me consider this”. A doctor can ask for further analysis before deciding on the best treatment. And even the figure the referees most often compared to, the judge, before pronouncing his verdict, retires to his chambers to ponder, to evaluate, before making his decision. We’re not allowed any of this. What we are asked to do, even in the most unexpected, unforeseen of situations is to make a decision in what’s called ‘real time’, in a fraction of a second. This is not a simple matter. I wish this enormous difference were understood by those who sit in an armchair… Pierluigi

read more Real time decision making for referees

Don’t be an arse.

Perspective on refereeing

“I have two daughters who don’t play soccer, but if they should ever decide to take it up I’d be glad to know that they were being helped along by the many volunteer referees who come out in any weather and at any time when they could quite easily stay in bed on a Sunday morning or go to a cafe for breakfast and read the newspaper. I would be happy and I have no words to express fully my respect and my gratitude. For this reason I am truly saddened when I see that often in youth matches the referee receives an avalanche of insults because, for example, he has or hasn’t whistled for a penalty. Soccer is a sport, it allows youngsters to be together, to socialize, to learn how to live together and achieve things together. Soccer is essentially a microcosm of life. In life you work with others to achieve results, just as you do in

read more Perspective on refereeing

Another handling offense? What do you think?

I hope you had a chance to read the first of two posts showing ‘handball’ examples from actual game footage from this last weekend. Here’s footage of a second handball controversy during that same game that I officiated. This incident took place during the second half, after the first controversial handball incident. Take a look at the clip first and then read on below. Handling infraction in your view? Yes or No? According to the Laws of the Game this was a handling infraction because the player’s left hand and arm was in an unnatural position during contact with the ball. In my opinion, the player made herself larger the moment she jumped for the ball. She turns her face away from the ball but you can see in slow motion that she sticks her left arm out and moves it toward the ball as she jumps. She made this decision just before she jumped while she was closing in

read more Another handling offense? What do you think?

Handling offense? Yes or no?

The below 30-second clip shows a potential handling offense in the penalty box during one of my recent U17G games. Watch this first before reading on – would you have let this go or whistled for a handling infraction? Obvious handball, right? Well, NOT according to the Laws of the Game so I did not give a penalty kick for the white team. It is probably fair the say that pretty much everyone associated with the white team disagreed with me and that everyone associated with the blue team was pleasantly surprised. The easiest decision would have been to blow the whistle for a penalty kick – it almost certainly would have been accepted by pretty much everyone present. But it would also have been the wrong decision. Here’s why this wasn’t an infraction (confirmed through slow-motion review of this clip): The ball was kicked hard and from very close range – probably a yard or so. The defender had no time

read more Handling offense? Yes or no?

The importance of winning!

Mark Suster tweeted this today. Thank you for making me smile @msuster.


The loneliest person at a game

Some perspective before your weekend games: “I can see you, my son, in front of the television engrossed in the cartoons and in the football matches. We sit on the sofa together and you immediately ask me about the referee. Maybe it’s because when he’s dressed in yellow he grabs your attention, just like the characters from the cartoons. You like watching the man who has to decide, instantly, on a penalty, an offside, a foul. And it’s on him that the people on the terraces unload all the week’s resentment, all their anger in defeat. In football there are many solitary roles: the center forward and the goalkeeper, for example. But the man who is really alone is him, my son, the referee who brings a smile to your face. I’ve known several referees over the course of my career, and I’ve found sadness in all of them, a sadness that’s never been revealed before: it comes from those

read more The loneliest person at a game