Wednesday, February 28, 2024
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EducationPlay of the Week

Play of the Week 9: Continued concentration

By PRO Training & Development Manager Paul Rejer

In Play of the Week 9 we are discussing a subject I have mentioned numerous times in previous editions of this feature – continued concentration. The play is from the New York City FC versus Vancouver Whitecaps game.


Firstly, we see a free-kick awarded by referee Sorin Stoica for a foul tackle by Whitecaps’ Matias Laba on NYCFC’s Mikey Lopez. The play does not stop immediately, then Vancouver’s Kekuta Manneh steps on Federico Bravo’s shin.

This comes under the category of violent conduct as it occurred after the whistle had been blown and, therefore, the ball wasn’t in play. This goes undetected by both referee Stoica and fourth official Alex Chilowicz.

Why did the officials miss this act of violent conduct? Well, there are many lessons to be learned from this play.

Firstly, the match officials should stay focused on any subsequent play that occurs after the whistle had been blown. Unfortunately, Stoica switches off when awarding the free-kick and doesn’t continue to concentrate, failing to expect the unexpected.

Fourth official Chilowicz should be focused on the subsequent misconduct by Kekuta as he should be scanning the area where the referee may not be focused on.

In real time this was difficult to detect and it could appear that Kekuta cannot avoid the contact and it is totally accidental. But referees should always consider whether there was any attempt by the player to avoid contact and, if it had been a team-mate, would he have still stepped on him?

In summary, in order for the officials to have any chance of seeing, recognizing and acting on this play what is required is:

– Focus

– Continued concentration

– Other officials scanning other areas

– Considering whether contact could have been avoided (team-mate theory)

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