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Referee Articles

Nowhere in the laws can you find a reference to the idea or spirit of “advantage".” This undoubtedly has resulted from the interpretation of the referee’s powers and the content of additional guidance and instructions for Law 5. In game situations, the essence of this provision should be applied based on these two components. Decisions and interpretations are plentiful and can be utilized in multiple applications.

By Pablo Moyano, Revista Arbitros

The Essence of "Advantage"

The advantage rule is the power granted to referees to stop or to

continue play when doing so does not favor the team that committed the offense. This should not be seen by players and fans as favoring the team that committed the foul.
For otherwise, to continue play, will encourage and result in protests by players and fans when the application of advantage does not benefit them.  Justice in soccer is supposed to be reflected in the assessment of offenses and their sanctions. The act of delaying judgment does not mean denying justice.


Referees should consider the following in deciding whether or not to apply the advantage.
First, the "seriousness of the foul", if the offense involves a send-off, the game should be stopped in order to apply disciplinary measures and Second, the "location of the offense". The closer it is to the opponent’s goal, will result in a more successful application.

Third, the opportunity for an immediate and dangerous attack on the opponent’s goal and finally the match atmosphere. If there is a hostile atmosphere it is preferable not to allow petty offenses encourage rough play.

Clear and obvious
Remember when applying the advantage it should be clear and evident. Clear when the team in possession is fouled and evident that there is a possibility of moving unhindered toward the opposing goal. If these two components occur and do not result in the desired outcome, the referee can go back and penalize the original offense, since it is preferable to blow the whistle a few seconds later than not to do so at all.

A rule or law

The advantage left to the referee’s decision indicates that there is, in effect, an established rule, but it is a rule that leaves a fouled player at risk of not gaining the intended advantage. Because of this, the advantage could properly be referred to as a law, because it is included in the body of laws by implication.

Correct interpretation
For a match to be successful, a referee must correctly understand and apply the advantage and in doing so demonstrate knowledge of the laws. Otherwise, the referee’s performance will be judged negatively by others. The most important thing is to know, understand, and apply the advantage in its essential form.


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