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EducationPlay of the Week

Play of the Week 20: Offside – Advantage in LA v SJ

By PRO Training & Development Manager Paul Rejer

Every week we see superb advantages played by referees and there is no doubt that, when applied correctly, the advantage clause is of great benefit to the beautiful game.

What does the law say regarding the referee considering advantage?

The referee may play advantage whenever an infringement or offence occurs.

The referee should consider the following circumstances whether to play the advantage or to stop play:

– The severity of the offence – if the infringement warrants an expulsion, the referee must stop play and send off the player unless there is a subsequent opportunity to score a goal

– The position where the offence was committed – the closer to the opponent’s goal, the more effective it can be

– The chances of an immediate, promising attack

– The atmosphere of the match

I have seen many occasions when referees have played advantage just outside the front edge of the attacking teams’ opponent’s penalty area, when they have been surrounded by defenders before losing possession of the ball.

In these cases it is far more advantageous for the attacking team to have a free kick in this dangerous area. I would also advise referees to be extremely careful when considering advantage inside the penalty area, unless there is an obvious subsequent opportunity to score a goal.

As a referee it’s a great feeling if you’ve utilized the advantage clause and a goal results. You know that your contribution to the goal was vital, yet it’s very rare the goal scorer will thank you for it – most times they wouldn’t even realize!

This week’s Play of the Week features an advantage situation where a goal was scored but the referee penalized the foul and awarded a PK.


In the LA Galaxy versus San Jose Earthquakes game, Earthquakes’ goalkeeper David Bingham brings down Galaxy’s Baggio Husidic before Steven Gerrard puts the ball in the net. It appears to everyone that referee Alan Kelly should have played advantage and awarded the goal.

However, Gerrard’s shot was deflected by Husidic, who was on the ground and in an offside position. Therefore, the goal could not be awarded as the ball was touched by an offside player, and, in line with FIFA and PRO guidelines, Kelly did not take an unnecessary risk and safely awarded the PK.

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