This week’s Officials’ Skills series continues with the topic of advantages, looking at how referees can use awareness when allowing an attack to continue after a foul.
At every level, officials are taught and coached that the use of advantage (Law 5 – the referee) is not a way of controlling a game, it is a way of making their control (which should be there already) look even stronger, and officials should be aware of the following:
- When executed correctly (in relation to technique) it can make participants from both teams feel confident in the officials’ understanding of the game.
- When a foul occurs, players can quickly sense and see if officials are considering advantage or not, with their body language and movement.
- Confusion can come from what an official says or does in the period between the foul and their decision to play advantage, so officials are trained to keep their communication straightforward, and not to make unnecessary signals or say words which will make players stop when advantage is still a possibility.
- Officials who seek to play too much advantage when the players’ expectations are a free kick, can find themselves out of touch with the feeling and temperature of the game. Having an awareness when the true advantage to a team, and the referee’s match control, is the award of a free kick based on factors such as time of the game, location on the field, score and temperature of the game.
Look at these two clips, where the officials leave the participants in no doubt whatsoever as to their control and what the consequences of continuing play are. In the second clip, the referee comes back correctly to caution for the original reckless challenge.