Soccer coaching laws of the game Law 5 the referee

These soccer coaching tips are designed to help coaches and players understand the laws of the game. This article looks at Law 5, the rules regarding the referee.

Each match is controlled by a referee who has full authority to enforce the Laws of the Game in connection with the match to which he has been appointed.

  • Enforces the Laws of the Game.
  • Controls the match in cooperation with the assistants.
  • Ensures that any ball used meets the requirements as described in Law 2.
  • Ensures that the players’ equipment meets the requirements as described in Law 4.
  • Acts as timekeeper and keeps a record of the match.
  • Stops, suspends or abandons the match, at his discretion, for any infringements of the Laws.
  • Stops, suspends or abandons the match because of outside interference of any kind.
  • Stops the match if, in his opinion, a player is seriously injured and ensures that he is removed from the field. of play. An injured player may only return to the field of play after the match has restarted.
  • Allows play to continue until the ball is out of play if a player is, in his opinion, only slightly injured.
  • Ensures that any player bleeding from a wound leaves the field of play. The player may only return on receiving a signal from the referee, who must be satisfied that the bleeding has stopped.
  • Allows play to continue when the team against which an offence has been committed will benefit from such an advantage and penalises the original offence if the anticipated advantage does not ensue at that time.
  • Punishes the more serious offence when a player commits more than one offence at the same time.
  • Takes disciplinary action against players guilty of cautionable and sending-off offences. He is not obliged to take this action immediately but must do so when the ball next goes out of play.
  • Takes action against team officials who fail to conduct themselves in a responsible manner and may, at his discretion, expel them from the field of play and its immediate surrounds.
  • Acts on the advice of the assistant referees regarding incidents that he has not seen.
  • Ensures that no unauthorised persons enter the field of play.
  • Indicates the restart of the match after it has been stopped.
  • Provides the appropriate authorities with a match report, which includes information on any disciplinary action taken against players and/or team officials and any other incidents that occurred before, during or after the match.

The referee



The decisions of the referee regarding facts connected with play, including whether or not a goal is scored and the result of the match, are final. The referee may only change a decision on realising that it is incorrect or, at his discretion, on the advice of an assistant referee or the fourth official, provided that he has not restarted play or terminated the match.

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Click the link for soccer coaching tips to help stand-in referees.

Click the link for soccer coaching laws of the game Law 6, the assistant referees.

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