Change a decision as referee: do’s and don’ts

It is allowed to change a decision as referee, but what are the exact rules? The game between Mainz and Freiburg is a perfect example to explaint the rules.

Okay, it is a little different than in your games, because the video referee takes action. The players of both teams are in the dressing rooms, because of half-time. The referee is on the pitch and waits for the VAR.

The best way to learn as referee is to watch a situation yourself, take notes and think about what you will do. Below the video there’s an explanation, but please try to find your own solutions first.

Change a decision – what the LOTG say

So, what did you notice?

The Laws of the Game say the following. “The referee may not change a decision on realising that it is incorrect or on the advice of another match official if …

  1. play has restarted
  2. or the referee has signalled the end of the first or second half (including extra time) and left the field of play
  3. or terminated the match.”

Yes, it looks so weird that all players have to come back from the dressing rooms. The goal is scored in 47 +7, which indicates it takes very long. But it’s all about the second reason here. Because the referee remains on the pitch he can change a decision.

Michael Fröhlich, VAR project manager and Elite Referee manager in Germany, confirms this. According to him the referee can change a decision if he’s still on the pitch. “That’s the case in yesterday’s game”, he declares on the DFB website. Video-assistent Bibiana Steinhaus got in touch with referee Guido Winkmann before he left the field. This is confirmed by audio and video from the Video Assist Centre in Köln,where they keep a copy in the archives.”

When is the penalty kick completed?

A second lesson in this situation. The referee allows additional time at the end of the half for a penalty kick. But when is the penalty kick completed?

First thing: the referee can indeed add time for this. “Additional time is allowed for a penalty kick to be taken and completed at the end of each half of the match or extra time.”

When additional time is allowed, the penalty kick is completed when, after the kick has been taken:

  • the ball stops moving,
  • goes out of play,
  • is played by any player (including the kicker) other than the defending goalkeeper,
  • or the referee stops play for an offence by the kicker or the kicker’s team.

If a defending team player (including the goalkeeper) commits an offence and the penalty is missed/saved, the penalty is retaken.”

In this situation the ball goes in, but did you notice what the referee did? He explains to the taker that he can shoot, but there is no rebound and no teammate can play it. You’ll see that the taker also explains this to his teammates.

Change a decision as referee

Don’t expect players to know the rules

The penalty after VAR was a big call. In terms of game management it will be difficult if you have to disallow a goal, because the taker misses and the rebound is scored. Yes, it’s in the football rules, but don’t expect players to know them.

So prepare them what the outcome of the kick can be if the kicker misses. Take control, prevent things by give a short explanation beforehand.




Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.