Play of the Week 18: Advantage, positioning and PK management

Image: Kyle Beckerman looks on as referee Ricardo Salazar awards a PK in RSL v MTL. 

By PRO Training & Development Manager Paul Rejer

In Play of the Week 18 we are looking at a play in the Real Salt Lake versus Montreal Impact game, when there were many positive officiating techniques from which any referee or AR can learn.

IFrameFirstly, when play develops into the corner area, RSL’s Demar Phillips keeps the ball in play. Credit must go to AR Chris Strickland, who is perfectly positioned on the goal line and correctly judges that the ball did not wholly cross the line. This shows great focus and decision-making accuracy.

On numerous occasions I have seen ARs anticipating and incorrectly indicating that the ball had wholly crossed over the goal line. For the ball to be wholly over the line, no part of it can be touching the line; even looking from above, no part of the curvature of the ball can be overlapping the line.

There is then a blatant foul on Phillips and referee Ricardo Salazar shows excellent vision and reading of the game to play a great advantage. When the ball goes to Joao Plata inside the penalty area, he is fouled by Calum Mallace and Salazar is in a tremendous position to award a PK in a decisive and confident manner.

It cannot be understated that referees, in order to make such calls, need to be in a position to accurately judge and sell these key match incidents. When players see referees make crucial calls from close proximity they tend not to dispute the decision as much as when the referee is remote from play.

I would then like you to look at the technique in which Salazar manages the PK. Prior to the kick being taken he proactively first speaks to Montreal goalkeeper Evan Bush, warning him not to move off his line. Then he speaks to players on the edge of the penalty area, warning them not to encroach into the penalty area.

This is excellent prescribed preventative refereeing communicating with players using a prescribed right to left sweep of the edge of the penalty area.

This play has so many positive aspects that I would advise any aspiring referee or AR to learn from, in terms of:

– AR positioning
– Goal line judgement
– Playing advantage
– Referee positioning
– Positive decision making
– Selling decisions
– Proactive refereeing and PK management

Read more: Click here to see other Play of the Week’s from PRO’s Paul Rejer