Contents

HOME

LAW 1 – THE FIELD OF PLAY

LAW 2 – THE BALL

LAW 3 – THE NUMBER OF PLAYERS

LAW 4 – THE PLAYER’S EQUIPMENT

LAW 5 – THE REFEREE

LAW 6 – THE ASSISTANT REFEREES

LAW 7 – THE DURATION OF THE MATCH

LAW 8 – THE START & RESTART OF PLAY

LAW 9 – THE BALL IN & OUT OF PLAY

LAW 10 – THE METHOD OF SCORING

LAW 11 - OFFSIDE

LAW 12 – FOULS AND MISCONDUCT

LAW 13 – FREE KICKS

LAW 14 – THE PENALTY KICK

LAW 15 – THE THROW-IN

LAW 16 – THE GOAL KICK

LAW 17 – THE CORNER KICK
Official Publications Related to Law 17

ADMINISTRATIVE GUIDANCE

PROCEDURES TO DETERMINE THE WINNER OF A MATCH

THE FOURTH OFFICIAL

THE TECHNICAL AREA

The Fourth Official

Official Publications Related to The Fourth Official

Dealing With Intrusions to the Fourth Official Area

At games where sign boards are present in front of the team benches and 4th official, the 4th official MUST position himself on the bench side of the boards as to provide better access to the teams and substitutions. In cases where a TV camera protrudes into the 4th official’s area and separates the 4th official from one team bench or another, effort should be made on the part of the 4th official to modify his position during the game so as to not be showing “favoritism” to one bench or another.

Use of Substitution Boards/Signs

The use of substitution boards is for the spectators, television, and players.  Therefore, the 4th official should make certain that the “flip boards” are available and utilized in bright light where electronic boards are often ineffective due to glare.  Television, in particular, likes to make a live shot of the board when the 4th official indicates stoppage time.

Managing Benches

Gamesmanship by coaches, in particular, continues to be noticed in the games and officials continue to find reasons not to deal with it.  Fourth officials must be more aware of their surroundings and more active in intervening when bench personnel (players included) do not follow guidelines.  Awareness and intervention will lead to preventing further incidences.  When bench personnel move within or leave the technical area to voice their displeasure with the referee or another player, the fourth official must move toward the personnel and intervene.  Presence and proximity is critical.  Bench personnel do not have the right to leave the technical area for any reason.  If this occurs, depending upon the severity, the fourth official should issue a stern warning.  Upon repetition, the offending individual should be dismissed.

The following guidelines have been issued by the All Materials and Video © US Soccer Referee Department to aid 4th Officials in their management of the technical area:

  1. Meet with the coaching staff before the game and discuss with them their official duties and responsibilities.
  2. While it is ideal to have the head coach (and others) seated on the bench, there are some coaches that are more comfortable standing or roaming the technical area.  While this is acceptable, only one (1) person may provide tactical instructions.  The “instruction-giving coach” may not, at any time, impede the movement of the assistant AR.
  3. The coach and other officials must remain in the technical area, except in special circumstances, for example, a physiotherapist or doctor entering the field of play, with the referee’s permission, to assess an injured player.
  4. The coach and other occupants of the technical area must behave in a responsible manner at all times.
  5. If a situation arises where these is irresponsible behavior, consider following these guidelines:
    1. ASK – Ask the person(s) to stop
    2. TELL – If there is another occurrence where there is irresponsible behavior, you are to inform (tell) the person that the behavior is inappropriate and is to stop.
    3. REMOVE – If the inappropriate behavior continues, you must remove the person immediately.

  6. These guidelines do not prevent you from having someone removed immediately if the improper behavior is excessive.
  7. At all times, officials are to act in a professional manner, never berate, or raise your voice or intimidate anyone in the bench area.

Note:  The above steps do not prohibit a referee from having someone removed immediately if the improper behavior is excessive.

It has been stressed that referees need to take more responsibility for actions in the technical area and not leave the management of this area solely to the fourth official.  Referees should take ownership of managing technical area decorum by taking proactive steps to send appropriate messages especially at the “tell” stage of the process.  At the “tell” stage, the referee can transfer responsibility for future conduct onto the coach.  This is the referee’s opportunity to clearly (for all to see) “draw his line in the sand” and set the stage for what is acceptable behavior or not.

2010 (Click to view/hide)
No material on this topic for this year. Click prior years' tabs below to view information for those years.
2009 (Click to view/hide)
No material on this topic for this year. Click prior years' tabs below to view information for those years.
2008 (Click to view/hide)
  • Video Clip (Added 11/13/2008): Kansas City at Columbus (50:20) - The referee in this example utilizes the “tell” step to proactively send a message to the coach regarding conduct in the technical area.  The referee sends a clear message:  “Continued behavior will result in your being dismissed.”  As a result of the referee’s action, the burden of future conduct/behavior is placed on the coach.  The referee chose a visual and effective means to get his point across.

The referee has accepted responsibility for the situation and has not left the burden of bench decorum solely on the fourth official’s shoulders.   By doing this, the referee sends a stronger “tell” message than one sent only by the fourth official.

Notice in the clip how the fourth official moves down the technical area to lend his support to the referee as the referee addresses the coach.  The fourth official’s presence acts as a support mechanism should the situation require his intervention and also shows solidarity on the part of the referee team.

Should the irresponsible behavior in the technical area persist, the referee can then move to the “remove” stage and dismiss the non-playing personnel.  Remember, only players, substitutes and substituted players can be shown a red or yellow card.  Other team personnel are “dismissed” from the game for irresponsible behavior.  This removal/dismissal is accomplished by the referee indicating the person being dismissed and then pointing to the dressing room while telling them they are being dismissed for “irresponsible behavior.”