Useful Tips

How to decipher the signals of football referees


You cannot take your eyes off the game, and your psychological well-being fully relies on your team to score the winning goal against the opponent’s goal. And then you realize that the fate of the game is in the hands of the judge - literally! The referee’s activity is the most important component of football: he is responsible for the order and observance of the rules of the game, so a real football fan should be able to decipher what he saw and understand what he wants from the referee. The following is a crash course in the Judges discipline.

  1. 1 Listen to the whistle. The referee making the whistle saw something, most often it was a violation or a delay in the game. In this case, you must immediately stop the game and deal with the situation. The sound of a whistle often indicates the nature of the violation. A short and quick whistle means a small foul that is punishable by a free-kick, and a long and intense one means a serious foul that is punishable by a yellow card or penalty.
  2. 2 Watch for the edge. The judge, who, without giving a whistle, points with both hands to a violation, saw him, but decided to play the advantage. In the case of an advantage, the referee delays the whistle because he believes that the advantage belongs to the team on which they fouled. Usually the judge waits 3 seconds to determine who will prevail in the current situation. If after 3 seconds the advantage was gained by the team over which they fouled, for example, while maintaining the ball or a goal, the referee will ignore the violation. However, if there was a violation with a yellow card, the referee will show it at the next stop of the game.
  3. 3 Watch for free kicks. To signal a penalty kick, the referee will blow a whistle and point with the raised hand towards the goal of the team that committed the violation. A free kick is awarded when one of the players has committed one of ten offenses punishable by a free kick. A free kick may result in a goal.
  4. 4 Watch for free kicks. If, after indicating a free kick, the judge does not lower his hand and holds it above his head, then he signals a free kick. A free kick is awarded if the violation does not fall into the category of punishable by a free kick, or for a violation not committed on the enemy. A goal from a free kick does not count unless another player touches the ball.
  5. 5 Watch for a penalty. A referee pointing directly at a penalty mark, or a point two-thirds of the length from the penalty area to the goalkeeper's court, means that the player has committed a violation for which a free kick is awarded in his own penalty area, for which a penalty is awarded.
  6. 6 Follow the yellow cards. The referee showing the player a yellow card indicates that the player has committed one of seven offenses for which a warning is given. The referee marks the player to whom the yellow card is assigned, and if the second yellow card is shown to that player, he is deleted. A player with a warning can be replaced, and he can return to the game at the next possible replacement.
  7. 7 Watch for red cards. The referee showing the player a red card indicates that the player has committed a serious offense, one of the seven “deadly sins” leading to removal, and he must leave the field immediately (in professional matches, in most cases this means that the player goes to locker room).
  8. 8 Watch for other signals. A judge pointing to the goal with a straight hand parallel to the ground signals that a shot from the goal has been awarded. The judge pointing to the corner flag with his hand raised up signals the corner.
  9. 9 Watch for goal signals. There are no official goal signals. The referee can point to the center of the field with his hand down, however, this signal is only given when the ball has completely crossed the goal line between the bars and a goal has been scored (of course, if there were no violations of the rules of the game, as a result of which the referee will blow a whistle to indicate it , and will show the corresponding gesture defining the next position). A whistle is usually given to signal a goal, since the whistle is used to start and stop the game. However, if a goal is scored, the game may stop automatically, so a whistle is sometimes used.

  • Never argue with a judge.
  • The judge will order a deletion and show a red card to a player who:

  • guilty of a serious violation of the rules
  • guilty of aggressive behavior
  • spat on the opponent or anyone else
  • will deprive the opponent moving towards the goal of a clear opportunity to score a goal by deliberately taking possession of the ball (this does not apply to the goalkeeper in his own penalty area)
  • will deprive the opponent moving towards the goal of a clear opportunity to score a goal with a violation of the rules, punishable by a free or penalty kick
  • uses abusive, offensive or obscene language and / or gestures
  • receives a second warning in one match
  • “guilty” of ridicule or bullying of a player of the opposing team (US school rules)
  • The referee will issue a warning and show a yellow card to a player who:

    • guilty of unsportsmanlike conduct
    • by word or action demonstrates disagreement with the decision of the judge
    • systematically violates the rules of the game
    • deliberately delays the resumption of the game
    • does not comply with the set distance when resuming a game with a free kick, a free kick or a corner kick or a throw-in due to a side line
    • enters or returns to the field without the permission of a judge
    • intentionally leaves the field without the permission of a judge
  • The right to execute a free kick is given to the opposing team if the player performs the following action, which the judge considers as negligent, reckless or carried out using excessive physical force:

    • kick or attempt to kick an opponent
    • running board or attempt to make an opponent step
    • jump on an opponent
    • attack on an opponent
    • kick or attempt to strike an opponent
    • rival push
    • tackle attack
  • In addition, the right to execute a free kick will be granted to the opposing team even if the player:

    • will delay the opponent
    • spit on an opponent
    • willfully play the ball with his hand
  • Eight violations for which the judge punishes with a free kick:

    • Goalkeeper controls the ball with his hands for more than 6 seconds before releasing it from his hands
    • The goalkeeper re-touched the ball with his hands after releasing it from his hands, and before the ball touched any of the players
    • Goalkeeper touched the ball with his hands after a deliberate pass by the foot of a teammate
    • The goalkeeper touched the ball with his hands immediately after a throw-in made by a team mate
    • Dangerous game
    • Enemy advancement blocking
    • Hindrance goalkeeper let the ball out of hand
    • Any other violation after which the game is stopped to issue a warning to the guilty player or to remove him from the field
  • Signals and gestures of the judge

    When refereeing a game, the referee gives signals with a whistle. It is best to use a pea whistle with a strong sound. The whistle is used to give signals in the following cases: at the beginning of the game and after it resumes after a break and after a goal is scored, when an 11-meter shot is taken, when a goal is taken, at the end of the game or half of it. Signals should be clearly audible to players and spectators.

    The tone of the signals should always be the same. However, when scoring, at the end of the entire game or its first half, the signal should be especially clear. It should be borne in mind that in case of kicks from the goal, free kick, free kick, corner kicks, if the players comply with all the rules for their implementation, the signal is not whistled, but a hand gesture is used. The throw-in of the ball due to the sideline is also made without a signal. During the game, the referee also has to use gestures. They are used to explain the decision to stop the game or continue it.

    Alarm flag line judge. The line judge has a flag (shaft length - 45 cm, diameter - 1.5 cm, panel length - 40 cm).

    1. The push of the opponent with his hands. Two bent at the elbows hands with open hands move away from themselves and towards themselves. 2. A blow or a rough push. Vigorous movement bending at the elbow of the hand. 3. Jump on the opponent. Hands raised at shoulder level imitate the player leaning on his opponent. 4. The bandwagon. The leg raised and bent at the knee is straightened forward, 5. Kicking the leg with the foot. The hand touches the lower leg of the leg bent at the knee. 6. Free kick. The judge turned to face the gates of the offending team and raised his hand up. 7. A free kick. The hand is extended towards the goal of the team that violated the rules. 8 End of the game or its half. At the same time as the whistle, the judge raised his hands up (fingers clenched into a fist). 9. There will be no stopping the game. The judge spreads his arms to the sides and with the movement of his hands shows that the game will continue in order to not give the advantage to the guilty team. 10. Handball. The judge brushes the other hand vigorously II. A gesture indicating the place of the violation, from where the ball should be brought into the game. 12. Pressure of lost time. The amount of time added is indicated by the number of fingers extended on a raised hand. 13. Warning or removal of the player. The referee raises the card in front of the player, being about 1 m from him.

    1. Violation of the rules. A - the flag is raised in order to attract the attention of the judge. B - a signal after the referee's whistle, indicating which team should be awarded a free or free kick. 2. A signal in order to draw the attention of a judge to an unheard of violation of the rules. Raising the flag above his head, the judge makes them a few go-ahead. 3. Goal kick. The flag is sharply raised at shoulder level and indicate the direction of the goal of the defending team. 4. The flag is sharply raised and points in the direction of the corner sector. 5. The offside position. The flag is sharply raised above his head. 6. The offside position was on the opposite side of the line judge. The flag is just above shoulder level. 7. The offside position was in the middle of the field. The flag is at shoulder level. 8. The offside position was on the near side of the field.

    The color of the flag should be different from the color of the uniform of the players of both teams and bright enough. In refereeing practice, red, yellow and orange are most often used. The main requirement for signaling by judges on the line is their timeliness and clarity. When replacing, the judge, taking the flag at the end of the pole, raises it above his head.

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