Wednesday, December 6, 2023
EducationPlay of the Week

Play of the Week 24: The start and restart of play

Houston Dynamo versus Philadelphia Union

Play of the Week 24 with PRO Training & Development Manager Paul Rejer focuses on Law 8 – the start and restart of play.

Rejer uses examples from FC Dallas versus Real Salt Lake and Philadelphia Union versus San Jose Earthquakes.

He said: “The Laws of the Game clearly stipulate that all players must be in their own half of the field of play at the kick-off.

“So why is this an area that most referees ignore and allow players to blatantly stand in their opponents half to collect the pass from the kicker, when it is such an easy law to implement?

Example one:

Example two:

“In the example one – Philadelphia Union versus San Jose Earthquakes – following a Union goal, Quakes players are clearly standing in their opponents’ half. One is waiting to collect the ball, another player (camera side – you can see his head and shoulders) is standing some nine to 10 yards inside.

“In the second example – FC Dallas versus Real Salt Lake – at the start of the second half, Dallas players are clearly standing well inside of their opponents’ half, one of them by possibly nine yards.

Rejer’s Points of learning;

– The kick-off is often the first move of the game so this is an early opportunity for the referee to assert his authority.

– First impressions of the referee to any observer is that he is lax and allows breaches of the law to go unpunished.

– Collective responsibility – There are four members of a refereeing crew, all four in both cases either ignored or didn’t notice the players in the opposing half.

– Control the controllables – This is not a difficult situation to manage. It is easy as players will respond to a simple request.

– The Law is clear – ‘All players must be in their own half of the field of play’.

– Setting Standards – If we turn a blind eye to this, then what else do we allow? It’s the start of anarchy.

“Now just before you say I am being too petty by highlighting this particular issue, I am prepared to open this up.

1. Should we allow players to openly stand in their opponent’s half to receive the ball as this is allowed in world soccer?

2. Or should we apply law and ask players to conform?

“Please send in your opinions either via Twitter @proreferees or by email to and we will share the results next week.

“I cannot understand why referees allow this to happen; perhaps they believe it is too petty to implement as it seems to be allowed worldwide.”

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