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Rule clarification please

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Can someone clarify how the 'advantage' rule works?

A couple of weeks back I was clipped from behind and was given 'advantage' by the ref (who shouted advantage and held his hands up) but with my next touch I lost control of the ball, stretched to reach it, caught an opposition player and had a free kick given against me - all within a maximum of 2 or 3 seconds from the advantage being given. My challenge was a foul, but so was the challenge on me a couple of seconds before.

I'm not fussed either way, just interested as to what the law says.

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An attacker is fouled, but the referee immediately (not waiting for 2-3 seconds to elapse) sees a clear opportunity for the attacking team to benefit from continuing play and calls out “play on” with the appropriate hand signal. Within 2-3 seconds an attacker (but not the attacker initially fouled) fouls a defender. The referee blows his whistle to stop play and calls the original foul for the attacker and has the ball brought back to the point of the original foul for a free kick to the attacking team; rather than a foul by the attacking team and a free kick for the defending team.

The question came up that calling “play on” is an immediate “calling the foul” and “instantaneous restart”. Therefore, the referee had made a decision and could no longer decide to call the original foul. Had the referee waited a bit longer before signaling “play on”, he could then appropriately call the original foul.

In other words, once the referee calls “play on” can the original foul still be penalized or has the opportunity “gone away” because the referee has indicated his decision? If the “play on” negates calling the original foul, when the referee blew his whistle to stop play the appropriate restart would have been a free kick to the defending team.

USSF answer (November 16, 2010):

It is rarely a mistake for the referee to wait that 2-3 seconds to ensure that the advantage has been realized before announcing the decision to “play on.” By so doing, the referee can generally avoid awkward situations like the one you present.

Our recommendation in this specific situation is to forget the first foul and call the one that occurred after the advantage was announced, but to be prepared to handle any misconduct which may have attached to the first foul.

Signaling “Play on!” does not now nor has it ever “negated” the foul. That’s what the 2-3 seconds are for – to see if the proto-advantage we (in our wisdom and experience) saw as enough of a possibility that we were not prepared to blow the whistle immediately actually reaches some fruition. The theory, of course, is that the speed of soccer play (at the sort of competitive level where we would look to apply advantage) needs only 2-3 seconds to either resolve itself or not.

Over the years, two distinctly different approaches to operationally implementing “advantage” have developed.

Approach A – signal advantage as soon as the foul occurs in the presence of an advantage POSSIBILITY, and then come back to stop play for the original foul if, after 2-3 seconds, the advantage was neither realized nor maintained.

Approach B – observe the foul, decide if there is an advantage possibility, observe play for the next several seconds and then either comeback to the original foul if the advantage was neither realized nor maintained OR signal the advantage if it was.

Just took this from the worldwide web

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The laws of the game state:

The referee-allows play to continue when the team against which an offence has been committed will benefi t from such an advantage and penalises the original offence if the anticipated advantage does not ensue at that time. (Page 21)

The referee may play advantage whenever an infringement or offence occurs.

The referee should consider the following circumstances in deciding whether to apply the advantage or stop play:

• the severity of the offence: if the infringement warrants an expulsion, the referee must stop play and send off the player unless there is a

subsequent opportunity to score a goal

• the position where the offence was committed: the closer to the opponent’s goal, the more effective it can be

• the chances of an immediate, dangerous attack on the opponents’ goal

• the atmosphere of the match

The decision to penalise the original offence must be taken within a few seconds. If the offence warrants a caution, it must be issued at the next stoppage. However, unless there is a clear advantage, it is recommended that the referee stops play and cautions the player immediately. If the caution is NOT issued at the next stoppage, it cannot be shown later.

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Thats a shame! Ive given up on match reports, reading other people's efforts made me realise what a load of biased gumf is written and no doubt I do the same. I might make a special effort this week and write a Patch report!

Can't say I'm looking forward to the return leg later in the season - they usually schedule it for a week night so we turn up 10 mins before kick off having battled through the traffic. And then get beaten.

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