Delaying Restarts

A trend is starting to appear regarding defending teams becoming more involved in delaying the restarts after fouls. This is a normal but unacceptable trend in the attacking “danger zone” of the field. After the whistle is blown for a foul, defending players (usually the player committing the foul) are immediately taking a position directly in front of the ball thereby denying the attacking team the right to put the ball into play quickly. Often times, the defender is standing only two to four yards from the ball. Referees must intercede and work hard to provide the attacking team a clear and effective restart void of any interference by the opponent. Referees must manage this and cannot assume it will take care of itself. Additionally, once the referee has signaled for a ceremonial restart, ensure that the entire 10 yards is given. In many instances, referees are only getting six to seven yards. Here are a few things to consider:

Prevent it early by setting the tone

Interject yourself at the first instance and send a message to everyone that such delaying tactics will not be tolerated. Manage early and frequently in the game and do so with consistency.

Go to the spot of the foul

As soon as you see the possibility that the defender will become a “statue” in front of the ball, move to the situation. Presence is critical.

 Verbally and visually encourage the defender to move back

Immediately communicate that you want the defender to move away from the ball. Do this verbally as well as visually by motioning them back. This will provide a message to everyone that you are being proactive and, should official action (caution) be warranted, you will have displayed your displeasure and will be better able to sell your yellow card.


After preventative measures have been exhausted and the players are not responding, the referee should consider cautioning the player for “failing to respect the required distance when play is restarted.”

Administrative Issues

As you prepare for your games, please consider the following administrative items:

Injuries When there is a concurrent injury to the goalkeeper and any other field player (regardless of team) and the trainer is called onto the field to attend to the goalkeeper and the other field player, both the player and the goalkeeper may be treated on the field of play and are not required to leave the field. Refer to the October 12, 2007 position paper entitled: “Handling Injuries”.

Climate Changes

The weather is changing as are temperatures at game time. Referees and ARs must prepare their bodies for the summer temperatures. Hydration is critical. Don’t be caught unprepared. Additionally, be aware of the placement and use of water bottles ensuring they are not thrown on the field and they do not inhibit the movement of the AR. Finally, keep an eye on the goalkeeper’s towel hanging in the goal. Ensure that the towel is far enough back that it will not interfere with shots on goal nor block the vision of the AR. ARs should be proactive in examining this during their checking of the nets.