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Entry Level Referee Clinic Outline Law 1 – the field of play

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Entry Level Referee Clinic Outline

  1. Dimensions

  • Field must be rectangular

  • 100 to 130 yards long by 50 to 100 yards wide

  1. Markings

  • Maximum 5” line width

  • Longer boundary line called “touchlines”

  • Touchline so named because of early law which gave possession to first team to touch the ball.

  • Shorter boundary line called “goal-lines”

  • Corner flag must be at least 5’ tall with blunt top

  • Halfway line equidistant between goal-lines

  • 9” center mark on line equidistant between touchlines

  • 10 yard radius circle from center mark

  • The Goals

  • 8 yards from inside edge of goalpost to other inside edge

  • 8’ from ground to bottom of crossbar

  • Goalposts and crossbar may be square, rectangular, round or any shape which is not dangerous – must have same width and depth as each other – maximum of 5”

  • Goalposts and crossbar must be white

  • Situated on goal-line with back of post even with outside edge of goal-line

  • Portable goals must be anchored securely to the ground to prevent tipping

  • Nets are optional

  • Goal Area

  • 6 yards from goal-line into the field

  • 6 yards from inside of goalpost along the goal-line

  • Penalty Area

  • 18 yards from goal-line into the field

  • 18 yards from inside of goalpost along the goal-line

  • Penalty mark – 12 yards from goal-line, equidistant from touchlines

  • Penalty Arc

  • 10 yard radius arc of a circle from the penalty mark drawn outside the penalty area

  • Not part of the penalty area

  • Corner Arc

  • 1 yard quarter circle

  • Optional Mark

  • 11 yards from corner along goal-line

  • Drawn outside the field of play

  • Used to mark 10 yards on corner kick

  1. All markings are part of the area they bound. On the line is in play.

  1. On a scaled down field, penalty areas and goal areas are not scaled down

  1. Summarize – most dimensions are divisible by 6

Law 2 – The Ball

  1. Qualities and Measurement

  • Spherical = round

  • Leather or suitable material

  • 27” – 28” in circumference

  • 14 oz. – 16 oz. in weight

  • Inflated 8.5 lbs. – 15.6 lbs./sq. in

  1. Selecting a Ball

  • Check for smoothness

  • Check for roundness

  • Thumb should indent ¼ - ½ inch

  • Any color

  • Home team supplies but visitor can supply if home team has none suitable

  • Ball may not be changed without the authority of the referee

  1. If Ball Bursts or Becomes Defective

  • While in play – replace and restart with dropped ball from spot where ball became defective

  • While out of play – replace and restart as if ball had not become defective

D. Summarize

Law 3 – The Number of Players

  1. Match Played Between 2 Teams

  • Consisting of Maximum of 11 players

  • One of whom is Goalkeeper

  • Minimum number of players is 7

  1. Substitutes

  • Official matches – maximum of 3 substitutes

  • Other matches – maximum of 5 substitutes – if both teams agree and referee is informed

  1. Goalkeeper Changes

  • Any player may change with goalkeeper

  • Must inform referee before change is made

  • Must be made during a stoppage in play

  • If change is made without your permission, caution both players at next stoppage

  1. Substitution Procedure

  • Notify Referee prior to change (Assistant Referee usually told by substitute)

  • Player being substituted must leave field at any point

  • Substitute enters after receiving signal from Referee

  • Substitute enters at halfway line

  • Substitution can only take place during a stoppage in play

  • Local rules allow subs at: own throw-in; any goal-kick, after a goal, at half-time, for injury

  • Substitution is completed when a substitute legally enters the field of play

  • A player who has been substituted takes no further part in the match

  1. All team members are subject to the Referee’s jurisdiction

  • Players

  • Substitutes (whether called upon to play or not)

  • Coaches (are never shown yellow or red cards)

  • Team officials (trainers, managers, etc) also never shown cards

  1. Player sent-off

  • Prior to start of match – may be replaced with named substitute

  • After match has begun – may not be replaced – team will play short

  • Player may not take further part in the match – may be required to leave bench

  1. Infringements/Sanctions

  • If substitute enters without referee’s permission

  • Stop play

  • Caution player and remove from field. Former player re-enters

  • Restart play with dropped ball from point where ball was when play was stopped

  • Any other infringement of Law III (12 players on field)

  • Caution player

  • If game was stopped to issue caution, restart with IFK for opposing team from point where ball was when play was stopped

  1. Coaching

  • A coach may convey tactical instructions to the players during the match

  • Must remain in technical area

  • Must behave in a responsible manner

  1. Summarize

Law 4 – The Players’ Equipment

  1. Safety

  • A player may not use equipment or wear anything which is dangerous to himself or another player (including any kind of jewelry)

  • Casts are legal if, in the opinion of the referee, they are not dangerous

  1. Basic Equipment

  • Shirt or jersey

  • Shorts – if thermal shorts are worn they must be same basic color as shorts

  • Socks or stockings

  • Shinguards

  • are covered entirely by the socks

  • are made of a suitable material (rubber, plastic or similar substances)

  • provide a reasonable degree of protection

  • Shoes or footwear

  • No toe cleat

  • No golf shoes, baseball cleats, track spikes

  1. Goalkeepers

  • Must wear colors that distinguish themselves from the other players, the referee and the assistant referees

  • May wear a soft brimmed hat to shade their eyes

  • May dress similarly to other goalkeeper

  1. For any Infringement of this Law

  • Play need not be stopped

  • Player is instructed by the referee to leave field to correct his equipment

  • Player leaves field at next stoppage unless already corrected

  • Player required to leave field may not re-enter without referee’s permission

  • Referee checks equipment before allowing player to return

  • Player may only return at stoppage

  • Player who returns without permission is cautioned

  • Restart with IFK if play was stopped to issue caution

  • From location of ball when play was stopped

  1. Summarize

Law 5 – The Referee

  1. The Authority of the Referee

  • Referee’s authority begins as soon as he arrives at the field

  • Referee can penalize

  • Before the game

  • During the game

  • During any stoppage

  • After the game

  • Does not have to explain or discuss any call to anyone

  1. Powers and Duties

  • Enforce the Laws

  • Utilize other officials

  • Approves the ball

  • Inspects players’ equipment prior to start

  • Acts as timekeeper and keeps record of the game

  • Stops, suspends or terminates the game for any infringements (trifling fouls)

  • Stops, suspends or terminates the game for any outside interference (spectators, coaches, dogs)

  • Stops for injuries (unless player is only slightly injured)

  • Ensures bleeding player leaves field (must check player upon return)

  • Allows “Advantage” (can penalize original offence if no advantage)

  • Punishes more serious offence when player commits more than one

  • Punishes misconduct

  • Keeps unauthorized persons off the field of play

  • Restarts the game after a stoppage

  • Provides game report in a timely fashion

  1. Referee may only change a decision provided play has not restarted

  1. Referee Dress and Equipment

  • Uniform

  • Approved uniform – black shirt or fuchsia shirt

  • Current badge

  • Hats and sunglasses are NOT part of the uniform

  • Equipment - mandatory

  • Coin – big enough to be seen by both captains

  • Cards – yellow and red – keep them separate

  • Watch – wear 2 if possible – countdown timers shouldn’t beep

  • Whistle – have a spare handy – use as your voice on field

  • Pen or pencil – pens don’t write in the rain

  • Paper or game card – you record all game events

  • Other equipment

  • Pump

  • Pressure gauge

  • AR flags

  • Bug spray

  • Sunblock

  1. Referee Demeanor

  • Professional but not overbearing

  • Polite but not overly friendly

  • Avoid prolonged conversations with just one team

  • Treat players, coaches, fellow officials with respect

  • Be conscientious but not hard-nosed

  • Remember S.E.E.

  • Use progressive punishment

Punishment Progression

Quiet Word

Public Word



Termination of Game

As you’re running by

Identify player being warned

Stop play or at next stoppage

Stop play or at next stoppage

When nothing else is working

Only to player involved

Tell all players

Isolate, gather information, show yellow card

Show red card, dismiss player, gather info

Inform captains and coaches

No threats

No threats

Inform player what will happen if behavior continues

Direct player to leave the field

All officials meet in center of field

Let other players see

Let other players hear

Let players, coaches, spectators see

Let everyone know

Let League and Association know

  1. Caution and Send-off Procedures

  • General procedures

  • Don’t point at player

  • Don’t demand player move to you – meet halfway if possible

  • Don’t pull player from crowd

  • If player is injured, allow them to get up before showing card – if player has to be taken off, show card to captain and inform him which player is receiving the card.

  • Cautions

  • Isolate the player

  • Record information – name, number, time of caution

  • Inform player of caution

  • Show yellow card

  • Hold over head – not in the face of the player

  • Send-offs

  • Show red card

  • Remove player from field

  • Record information – player’s number, time of send-off

  1. Summarize

Law 6 – The Assistant Referee

  1. Two Assistant Referees are appointed to “Assist” not “Insist”

  1. Duties of the Assistant Referee

  • Indicate

  • When whole of the ball has passed out of the field of play

  • Which side is entitled to a goal kick, corner kick or throw-in

  • When a player may be penalized for being in an offside position

  • When a substitution is requested

  • When misconduct or any other incident has occurred out of the view of the referee

  1. Signals by the Assistant Referee

  • Indicate in own area or when requested by referee

  • Slow up, easy down

  • Hold until recognized by referee

  1. Positioning

  • Second to last defender, or

  • Ball – whichever is closer to goal

  • Along designated touchline – from goal line to halfway line

  • On goal line for corner kicks, penalty kicks and on when indicated by referee

  1. Summarize

Law 7 – The Duration of the Match

  1. 2 equal periods of 45 minutes

  • unless agreed upon to shorten prior to match

  • halves must be equal length (playing time)

  1. Half-Time Interval

  • Players are entitled to an interval at half-time

  • Must not exceed 15 minutes (usually 5 minutes)

  • Length must be stated before match

  • May be altered with consent of referee

  1. Referee Keeps Official Time

  • Allows for time lost through

  • Substitutions

  • Assessment of injury to players

  • Removal of injured players

  • Wasting time

  • Any other cause

  • Amount is at referee’s discretion

  • Half and game ends when whistle blows – except;

  • Half or game extended to take a penalty kick

  • If full time not played, teams return for remainder of time

  1. Summarize

Law 8 – The Start and Restart of Play

  1. Preliminaries

  • Coin toss

  • Introduction of captains

  • Warn them of any hazards or peculiarities

  • Toss coin

  • Visiting captain usually calls

  • Winner selects goal to attack

  • Loser gets to kick-off

  1. Kick-off is a way of starting or restarting play:

  • At the start of the match

  • After a goal has been scored

  • At the start of the second half

  • At the start of each overtime period

  • A goal may be scored directly from a kick-off

  1. Procedure

  • All players in their own half

  • Opponents at least 10 yards away from ball, until ball is in play

  • Ball is stationary on center mark

  • Referee gives a signal

  • Ball is in play when it is kicked and moves forward

  • Kicker does not touch ball a second time until touched by another player


  • If kicker “double touches” the ball – IFK at spot of 2nd touch

  • For any other infraction – retake kick-off

  1. After a team scores, the kick-off is taken by the other team

  1. For start of 2nd half, teams change ends and other team kicks off

  1. Dropped Ball

  • Way of restarting match after a temporary stoppage which becomes necessary, while the ball is in play, for any reason not mentioned elsewhere in the Laws of the Game

  • Injury

  • Outside agent, i.e. dog, spectator interference, weather conditions

  • Referee drops ball where it was when play was stopped

  • Ball is in play when it touches the ground

  • No players required – 2 opponents traditional

  • No offside

  • Player may touch ball more than once


  • If ball is touched before reaching the ground –drop again

  • If ball rolls untouched over a boundary line –drop again

  1. Special Circumstances

  • Free kick awarded to the defending team within their own goal area may be taken from anywhere inside the goal area

  • IFK awarded to the attacking team in their opponents goal area is taken from a point on the goal area line parallel to goal line at the point nearest to where the infringement occurred

  • A dropped ball within a goal area is taken on the goal area line parallel to the goal line at the point nearest to where the ball was located when play was stopped

Law 9 – The Ball In and Out of Play

  1. The ball is out of play when:

  • It has wholly crossed the goal line or touch line whether on the ground or in the air

  • Lines belong to the area which they bound

  • Position of player is unimportant

  • Play has been stopped by the referee

  • How? With whistle!

  1. The ball is in play at all other times, including when:

  • It rebounds from a goalpost, crossbar or corner flagpost and remains in the field of play

  • It rebounds from either the referee or an assistant referee when they are on the field of play

  1. The ball is in play on a “supposed” infringement until a decision is given by the referee

  1. Timeline demonstration

  1. Summarize

Law 10 – The Method of Scoring
A. Goal Scored

  • A goal is scored when the whole of the ball passes over the goal line, between the goalposts and under the crossbar

  • No infringement of the Laws has been committed previously by the team scoring the goal

  • The ball was legally propelled

  1. Winning Team

  • The team scoring the greater number of goals is the winner

  • If goals are equal, the match is drawn

  1. Outside Interference

  • A goal cannot be allowed if any outside agent interferes with the ball before it passes over the goal line

  • Restart with dropped ball

  1. Summarize

Law 11 – Offside

  1. Offside Position

  • It is not an offense in itself to be in an offside position

  • A player is in an offside position if:

  • He is nearer his opponents’ goal line than both the ball and second last opponent

  • A player is not in an offside position if:

  • He is in his own half of the field of play, or

  • He is level (even) with the second last defender, or

  • He is level (even) with the last two opponents

  1. Offense

  • A player in an offside position is only penalized if, at the moment the ball touches or is played by one of his team, he is, in the opinion of the referee, involved in active play by:

  • Interfering with play, or

  • Interfering with an opponent, or

  • Gaining an advantage by being in that position

  1. No offense

  • There is no offside offense if a player receives the ball directly from:

  • A goal kick, or

  • A throw-in, or

  • A corner kick

  1. Infringement/Sanctions

  • For any offside offense, the referee awards an indirect free kick to the opposing team to be taken from the place where the infringement occurred (unless…)

  • Establish what offside position is

  • Ask student to read offside position from the Laws, “A player is in offside position if…”

  • Use whiteboard – don’t let students get ahead of your lesson

  • Keep them focused on what you have told them so far

  • Introduce the exceptions

  • Own half of field

  • Two opponents

  • Goal kick, corner kick, throw-in

  • Explain “involved in active play”

  • Interfering with play

  • Interfering with opponent

  • Gaining an advantage

  • Show examples and explain each scenario

  • Explain where the ball should be placed for infraction and proper restart

Law 12 – Fouls and Misconduct

A.Requirements for a Foul

B.10 Major (penal) Fouls

If a player commits any of the following six offenses in a manner considered by the referee to be careless, reckless or using excessive force:

  • Kicks or attempts to kick an opponent

  • Trips or attempts to trip an opponent

  • Jumps at an opponent

  • Charges an opponent

  • Strikes or attempts to strike an opponent

  • Pushes an opponent

If a player commits any of the following four offenses:

  • Tackles an opponent to gain possession of the ball, making contact with the opponent before touching the ball

  • Holds an opponent

  • Spits at an opponent

  • Handles the ball deliberately (except for the goalkeeper within his own penalty area)

  • What do we consider the hand? From tip of finger to shoulder joint

  • Does the hand move to the ball – or – does the ball move to the hand?

  • Was it a protective instinct or deliberate maneuver?

  • What about gaining an advantage?

  1. Penalty

Direct free kick to opponent

  • Taken at point of infraction – NOT where ball was

  • Except when attacking team commits foul in opponent’s Goal Area – taken from anywhere inside the goal area

  • Except when defending team commits foul in own Penalty Area – Penalty kick awarded

        1. Minor (Non-penal) Fouls

If a player, in the opinion of the referee, commits any of the following three offenses:

  • Plays in a dangerous manner

  • Impedes the progress of an opponent

  • Prevents the goalkeeper from releasing the ball from his hands

If a goalkeeper, inside his own penalty area, commits any of the following five offenses:

  • Takes more than four steps while controlling the ball with his hands, before releasing it from his possession

  • Touches the ball again with his hands after it has been released from his possession and has not touched any player

  • Touches the ball with his hands after it has been deliberately kicked to him by a teammate

  • Touches the ball with his hands after receiving it directly from a throw-in by a teammate

  • Wastes time

  1. Penalty

Indirect free kick to the opponent

  • Taken at the point of infraction – NOT where ball was

  • Except when attacking team commits foul in opponent’s Goal Area – taken from anywhere inside the goal area

  • Except when defending team commits foul in own Goal Area – ball is moved to the goal area line parallel to the goal line at the point nearest to where the infringement occurred.

  1. Cautionable Offenses (Yellow Card)

A player is cautioned and shown a yellow card if he commits any of the following seven offenses:

  • Is guilty of unsporting behavior

  • Shows dissent by word or action

  • Emotional dissent

  • Calculated dissent

  • Persistently infringes the Laws of the Game

  • Same player commits fouls in short period of time

  • Different players commit fouls against same opponent (usually the best player)

  • Delays the restart of play

  • Grabs the ball and holds it or throws it away

  • Wastes time before putting ball in play from throw-in or goal kick

  • Fails to respect the required distance when play is restarted with a corner kick or free kick

  • Stands in front of ball

  • Ties shoe in front of ball

  • Walks through 10 yard radius to get into position right before the kick is taken

  • Enters or re-enters the field of play without the referee’s permission

  • After an injury

  • After correcting illegal equipment

  • Deliberately leaves the field of play without the referee’s permission

  • To put an opponent in an offside position

  • To argue with the referee or assistant referee

  1. Sending-Off Offenses (Red Card)

A player is sent off and shown the red card if he commits any of the following seven offenses:

  • Is guilty of serious foul play

  • Must meet the conditions of a FOUL

  • Must be committed while contesting for the ball

  • Is guilty of violent conduct

  • Spits at an opponent or any other person

  • Denies the opponents a goal or an obvious goal scoring opportunity by deliberately handling the ball (this does not apply to a goalkeeper within his own penalty area)

  • Denies an obvious goal scoring opportunity to an opponent moving towards the player’s goal by an offense punishable by a free kick or penalty kick

  • Uses offensive, insulting or abusive language

  • Receives a second caution in the same match

  1. Penalty

  • If play is stopped to deal with misconduct, without a separate infringement of the Laws, play is restarted with an indirect free kick for the opposing team from the spot of the misconduct. *

  • If the misconduct occurs off the field of play, play is restarted with a dropped ball, from the spot of the ball when play was stopped. *

  • If misconduct occurs during a stoppage in play, play is restarted according to the original stoppage. (Throw-in, free kick, goal kick, etc.)

  • If misconduct occurs prior to, or after a match, no cards are shown, but the disciplinary action is noted on the game report.

  • If a sending-off offense occurs prior to the match, that player will be disqualified from taking part in that match, but his team is allowed to replace him.

  • If you apply the advantage clause to a misconduct situation, it must be dealt with at the next stoppage of play or not at all.

  • If a player commits a cautionable offense and before you are able to caution, he commits a second cautionable offense. You display a yellow card, a yellow card again, then a red card. This signifies that the player has committed two cautionable offenses and is thus sent-off.

  1. Summarize

Law 13 – Free Kicks
A. Two types of Free Kicks

  • Direct Free Kick (DFK)

  • Goal can be scored directly against an opponent

  • Cannot score directly against own team

  • Awarded for 10 major (penal) fouls

  • Awarded at spot of foul

  • Referee signals with direction, then lowers arm

  • Indirect Free Kick (IFK)

  • Ball must be played or touched by another player before goal can be scored

  • Awarded for 8 technical violations, misconduct without separate infraction, and offside.

  • Awarded at spot of infraction or where ball was on certain misconducts

  • Referee signals direction, then raises arm straight up until the ball is touched by a second player or goes out of play.

          B. Taken from

  • Point of infraction, unless:

  • Inside own goal area – taken from anywhere in the goal area

  • IFK in opponents’ goal area – taken from a spot on the goal area line, parallel to the goal line nearest to the point of infraction.

  1. How taken

  • Ball must be stationary

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