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EducationPlay of the Week

Play of the Week 25: Mass confrontation

Houston Dynamo versus Philadelphia Union

Play of the Week 25 covers mass confrontation and the responsibilities of the match officials.

PRO Training & Development Manager Paul Rejer uses an example from Sporting Kansas City versus Houston Dynamo, with the incident starting at 41:30.

He said: “The first instincts of the match officials has to be trying to calm down the players who are involved in the confrontation and observe to see if any violent conduct occurs.

“It is vitally important that during this process the match officials also remain calm. You can see referee Mark Geiger observing, keeping calm and at one stage even stepping back to provide himself of a wider peripheral view of the proceedings.

“You can also see AR Adam Wienckowski, who has quickly moved to the incident, acting as a deterrent to players, preventing them from making matters worse by becoming involved.

“The other AR, CJ Morgante, has also moved closer to obtain a watching brief and observe. Fourth official Ted Unkel is correctly watching from afar but remains in the technical area as that is his priority.

“It is not recommended for the officials to get amongst the players in an attempt to separate them as this can potentially put them in danger and further inflame the situation.

“As in most of these confrontations, the majority of the players are trying to help and calm their teammates; however it is the responsibility of the officials to be aware of how it started, the cause of it, and to identify the instigator and the retaliator.

“Once the referee can see that the confrontation has calmed, he will speak to his colleagues to ascertain whether they have further information. Following dialogue with both ARs, Mark issues yellow cards to Sporting’s Benny Feilhaber and Dynamo’s Kofi Sarkodie. The replay clearly shows that Feilhaber was the instigator by pushing Sarkodie, who was then the retaliator by pushing him in return.

“This was excellent teamwork by the refereeing crew who between them identified the culprits who caused the mass confrontation. They carried out their responsibilities in a text book manner by…


– Why it started
– The cause of it
– The identity of the instigator
– The identity of the retaliator

Conduct themselves;

– Showing observation and meaningful dialogue
– Remaining calm and concentrated
– Being assertive
– Being in appropriate viewing positions
– Issuing appropriate sanctions

An excellent example of effective teamwork, using prescribed, approved procedures, bringing this mass confrontation to a safe and successful conclusion.”

Play of the Week 24 results

In last week’s article, we posed the following;

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?

Every single reply we received stated that Law 8 should be enforced, and that players should not be allowed to enter their opponents’ half before the start or restart of play. Some people suggested this could be allowed for the player receiving the kick-off, by virtue of the ball having to be passed forward, but only if they were marginally in the opposition half.

Thank you to everyone who got in touch with us, we had an overwhelming number of responses.

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