Penalty Decision, Awareness of Play and Assumption

As referees, we tend to assume nothing will happen on the simplest of plays. While I am not condemning the referee for his original position, I do have an issue with his slow reaction.

Also, we as referees from the very beginning, have been taught what is a foul, what is misconduct, sharp mechanics etc. These are all very important aspects of soccer refereeing. What do are not taught is to read the entire play and try to understand why players make certain plays. You can see this by having some idea of the “options” of the players. We need to know what options that player has before they make their decision.

If you analyze this play, the option of the original pass is not a bad one but dangerous as the ball is played negatively and there are a few opponents that can challenge. Maybe a better option is to go to the player near the touch line.

Once the referee sees this play going into the penalty area, he cannot assume that all will be well. Ne needs to move further in the defensive third to have a better angle to view and be closer to play.

The other major factor for the referee to move quickly into the danger area is the first touch of the defender. Why would a defender take a touch when there is pressure from the opponent? This is what I mean by reading the entire play.

So here is the outline of this clip:

  1. 1. Once the ball is played back to the defender, the referee must move in that direction.
  2. 2. Once the defender takes a poor touch and tries to dribble around the attacker, the referee must move very quickly into the area to have a better angle to view and be closer to play
  3. 3. Since the referee does not take this action he misses the penalty and a red card for denying the goal.