March 26, 2012
How Referees Apply the Advantage Clause
Advantage is a wonderful clause in the rules in which whistling the foul would actually be hurting the team being fouled by not letting play continue. Let's say the white midfielder is dribbling the ball outside the gray penalty area when a gray player pushes white. Yet white does not fall down and is still able to continue the dribble unimpeded toward goal. The ref yells "Play on!" with both arms extended, indicating to everybody that there's an advantage.
When a team scores from an advantage, I feel as good as the goal scorer for having applied this clause correctly. But just continuing to move the ball upfield is a sign that advantage was applied correctly.
Officials properly playing advantage do a terrific job of letting the game flow, increasing the enjoyment of the game for everyone. Generally, the better the skill level, the more opportunities you will have to play the advantage.
To properly maintain game control, give the proper signal of arms outstretched and yell “Play on!” Also, later try to tell the fouled player, “I saw the hold but did not call it as your team had the advantage” and the player who fouled, “No more holding. I did not call your foul as the other team had the advantage.” When you briefly speak to the players later, most of them are very receptive.
When should the officials play the advantage and when should a foul be called? Use these guidelines to help you:
A foul by the attacking team inside the defensive team’s penalty area. The ball is so far from the other goal that there is little rationale for playing advantage here. The defensive team would probably much rather have the free kick and get their team in position to receive it upfield.
Check back next week for the conclusion of this article.