Antibes referee course conclusions

Monday, 21 February 2005

UEFA Referees Development Programme 2005

13th UEFA Advanced Course for Elite and Premier Referees and 14th UEFA Introductory Course for International Referees

February 2005, Côte d’Azur, France

Those present were reminded that conclusions and recommendations from the corresponding seminars in 2004 were still valid and reconfirmed. The following additional conclusions and recommendations were made from the seminars of February 2005 and following a comprehensive analysis of match incidents from the group stage of the 2004/05 UEFA Champions League.

It was felt that these practices would reinforce the uniform interpretation and application of the Laws of the Game.

Incidents involving players’ reactions/confrontations
There was clearly a benefit in going quickly to the point of conflict and being seen to take immediate disciplinary action (yellow card, red card as appropriate). It was noted that when a referee did not go quickly to the location of the incident, reactions and retaliations often followed and the problem escalated.

If it was not possible to immediately prevent further increase in conflict between players, the referee should observe what happens in detail and avoid personal physical intervention in separating fighting players.

It was recognised that it was essential that referees should not only punish retaliators but also must identify and punish the initial offender(s) where the offence warranted it (recklessness: brutality).

As earlier agreed in pre-match discussions, one assistant should monitor and record events and the other assistant should remain close to the referee.

It was agreed that all players who became involved in such incidents should be punished appropriately. Cautions (yellow cards) were not considered sufficient punishment where fighting (excessive physical contact etc) was involved. Particular note should be taken of players who approached the initial incident from some distance to become involved.

Applying advantage
The referees studied some examples of the non-appropriate use of advantage. For incidents involving recklessness or serious foul play, it was agreed that only very rarely (eg a probable immediate goalscoring opportunity) was the use of advantage appropriate. The greater benefit to the game is achieved from an immediate halt in play and the punishment of the offender.

Management at free kicks
After discussions concerning the best method of controlling free-kicks it was agreed that the following procedure would be of benefit.

1. Once any disciplinary measures have been dealt with, ensure that the ball is positioned where the offence occurred.

2. If the attacking team have decided not to immediately have a quick free-kick, then clearly advise them that they must wait for a signal.

3. The referee should first manage any defending players directly in front of the ball, cautioning those who do not withdraw quickly.

4. Manage the wall by measuring the 9.15m distance (not through the wall but to the side) while simultaneously controlling the position of the ball.

5. Take up a correct position, (controlling the ball, wall and being able to see the assistant referee)

6. Signal to take the free-kick. If the defenders advance from the wall before the kick is taken, have the free-kick retaken if a goal is not scored and caution offending player(s).

7. Control that the ball is in the correct position again and follow the same procedure.

Dangerous play with contact
Referees were reminded that if a player plays in a dangerous manner but also makes contact with an opponent, the referee should punish the more serious offence, ie the contact is to be considered as one of the offences for which a direct free-kick is awarded (a careless or reckless kick).

New International Referees
Participants of the Introductory Course for International Referees were reminded of conclusions of previous UEFA Referee courses. In particular, the criteria for determining the seriousness (manner) of the offence and when an offence prevents an obvious goalscoring opportunity or stops a promising attack, (as well as the appropriate punishment in such situations). The conclusions from the 2004 UEFA Summer Gathering of Referees and Assistant Referees were also highlighted with particular attention drawn to the issue of teamwork between referees and assistant referees.

The course participants were also advised of the responsibilities and duties of refereeing at international level and reminded of some additional instructions to be applied at UEFA matches, corresponding to the 2004 edition of the Laws of the Game, pages 72-79, and including:
· Celebration of goals.
· Unfit fields of play.
· The technical area – number of players and officials allowed to sit on the bench and their behaviour.
· Substitutions – number of and warming-up.
· Match sheets – player lists.
· Jewellery.
· Indication of additional time allowed.
· Dealing with injured players.
· Multiple ball system

Attention was also drawn to the need to accurately fill out the UEFA Referee’s Report, with special attention paid to detailed descriptions of any expulsions and extraordinary incidents such as spectators entering or the throwing of missiles and flares on to the field of play.

Cooperation with Players and Coaches
A dialogue between the 46 European top referees and three top players was highly positive and covered a wide range of important topics.

Discussions covered a number of key subjects, including:

– Referees should always offer maximum protection to players and be attentive towards creative players who are often systematically fouled. Referees should be prepared to react with yellow cards (or red if necessary).

– Referees and players were unanimous in calling for action to stop simulation. The players acknowledged that this is a difficult aspect for referees. However, when there is blatant simulation it was suggested that video evidence could be used to open a disciplinary case and punish players who cheat and damage the image of the game.

– This should also apply in cases where a player scores a goal unfairly with the deliberate use of the hand.

– Players and referees agreed that holding and shirt pulling in the penalty area when set-plays (free-kicks and corner kicks) are being taken should be eliminated. However, this requires a concerted effort by everybody within the game – players, coaches, public and media – if it is to succeed.

– The players expressed a view that, in cases of fouls in the penalty area, which denied obvious goalscoring opportunities, the punishment – penalty kick and red card – seems excessive, as the penalty kick restores a goalscoring opportunity. This would entail a change to the Laws of the Game, allowing the referee to punish such cases with a penalty and a yellow card only. The referees considered this proposal with interest.

The clear determination was that referees were keen to continue the dialogue with players and wished to express their gratitude to Zvonimir Boban, Emilio Butragueño and Hansi Müller for joining them and taking part in such open discussions.
UEFA / Referees’ Committee / February 2005