This week’s Officials’ Skills series continues with the topic of restarts, looking at how referees can use awareness when resuming the game from a set piece or after the ball has gone out of play.
Coaches, assessors, instructors, and mentors always tell you the same thing… control the controllable.
Being aware and in control of restarts is not always about standing on top of the ball, holding up play, counting out walls, dealing with pushing and pulling players in the penalty area, or making sure every kick is taken from the exact blade of grass. However, we need to be aware and always know that the kick is LEGAL, whether this be a restart with a whistle or one without a whistle. By this, as officials we mean:
- Taken from the correct place
- Ball stationary
- Players respecting or retreating to respect the required distance (free kick, corner kick, goal kick, throw in, penalty kick or even in live time with a goalkeeper releasing the ball)
Do we as officials know the law, coming from advantage and allowing that quick free kick?
- Downgrading DOGSO RC to yellow if the free kick is available and taken by the attacking team.
- Downgrading the SPA YC to nothing also if the players exercise the right to take a legal kick.
- Think about damage to game control by allowing a quick restart after indicating that restart is with a whistle.
How about dropped balls? Are we as officials being intelligent on when to stop play in neutral areas? Are we as officials also aware of which restarts should an offense take place at a penalty kick?
Player emotions can be high at a free kick or a penalty kick, are we as officials ensuring they settled before we start the restart process? Taking positions on the field to keep our awareness and attention up here will find favor with the players. They crave consistency in this area… why should officials disappoint them?
In these two clips, the officials were not only focused in on their duty under the laws of the game, but displayed a level of awareness in attempting to ensure not only consistency in process, but displaying calm demeanor to allow player emotions and understanding to be a priority, especially (in the first clip) with teams chasing the game late on and delaying the restart being a factor for the official to deal with.