With the season fast approaching, it’s a good time to mentally prepare and review certain aspects of the Laws of the Game. Let’s begin with a segment in Law 5, The Referee. In particular, advantage, the Law states:

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

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

  • The severity of the offense – 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 offense was committed – the closer to the opponent’s goal, the more effective it can be.
  • The chances of an immediate, promising attack.

It further states that, “the decision to penalize the original offense must be taken within a few seconds and if a caution is warranted, it must be at the next stoppage.”

In regards to advantage and a red card offense, referees should only apply advantage in clear cases of a goal being scored.

When applying advantage the referee should clearly verbalize that he/she is applying advantage and display the proper mechanic—arms raised in front of you and no more than a 45 degree angle.

A technique for the referee who wants to caution due to the original foul but advantage is applied, is to:

  • Point to the player.
  • Announce his/her number—this way it stays in your memory.
  • Tell the player you will be coming back to them for misconduct.
  • If it is possible to verbalize to your Assistant Referee do so as play may continue for a period of time where you may forget the number of the player.