Thursday, 30 December 2010

Urban Myth No 2. "He has to let him up".

"How often do we hear this?

Loose ball, defender goes to ground to gather it.  Attacker arrives over the defender and everyone shouts "he has to let him up".  Usually the attacker obliges by waiting for the defender to get to his feet before tackling him and putting him straight back onto the floor.  But does he need to?

The simple answer is no.  The phrase "he has to let him up" isn't mentioned anywhere in the 'Laws of the Game'.  A better phrase to shout might be "play the ball".

Let's look at what the law actually says:


(a) A player with the ball must immediately do one of three things:
• Get up with the ball
• Pass the ball
• Release the ball.
Sanction: Penalty kick

(a) Falling over the player on the ground with the ball. A player must not intentionally fall on
or over a player with the ball who is lying on the ground.
Sanction: Penalty kick

So what does that mean exactly?  Well the clue is in the definition at the front of the law and specifically one phrase:

The Game is to be played by players who are on their feet. A player must not
make the ball unplayable by falling down. Unplayable means that the ball is not
immediately available to either team so that play may continue.

So the player who goes to ground must do one of three things "immediately".  Get up, pass, or release the ball.  If an opposition player arrives, who is on his feet, the ball must be immediately available to him if he wants it, providing he stays on his feet.

So the player on the floor has three options, but if a player on his feet wants the ball he MUST release the ball to that player.  His options evaporate at that time, "the man on his feet is king".

There is no obligation for the arriving player to let him, up, only to stay on his feet and play the ball.  The man who is off his feet must then release it, immediately.

Urban Myth No 2...........Busted!

Urban Myth No 1. "They can't take a quick one ref".

How often does The Rugby Ref hear this?

It usually goes along these lines.  The Rugby Ref gives a penalty for some infringement or another.  The defenders do something that causes The Rugby Ref to advance the mark for the penalty forward 10m; usually kicking the ball away to prevent the attackers taking a quick tap.

As The Rugby Ref measures out 10m the defenders stand in front of the new mark shouting "they can't take a quick one ref".

Now there are two issues here:
  1. The defenders shouldn't be there, they should be a further 10m back, so they are all offside.
  2. There is no such law as "can't take the second penalty quickly".
What the law actually says is:

21.7 What the opposing team must do at a penalty kick

(a) Must run from the mark. The opposing team must immediately run towards their own goal
line until they are at least 10 metres away from the mark for the penalty kick, or until they
have reached their goal line if that is nearer the mark.

(b) Must keep running. Even if the penalty kick is taken and the kicker’s team is playing the
ball, opposing players must keep running until they have retired the necessary distance.
They must not take part in the game until they have done so.

(c) Kick taken quickly. If the penalty kick is taken so quickly that opponents have no
opportunity to retire, they will not be penalised for this. However, they must continue to
retire as described in 21.7(b) above or until a team-mate who was 10 metres from the mark
has run in front of them, before they take part in the game.

(d) Interference. The opposing team must not do anything to delay the penalty kick or obstruct
the kicker. They must not intentionally take, throw or kick the ball out of reach of the kicker
or the kicker’s team mates.

Sanction: Any infringement by the opposing team results in a second penalty kick, 10
metres in front of the mark for the first kick. This mark must not be within 5 metres of the
goal line. Any player may take the kick. The kicker may change the type of kick and may
choose to kick at goal. If the referee awards a second penalty kick, the second penalty kick
is not taken before the referee has made the mark indicating the place of the penalty.

The Rugby Ref has highlighted the last sentence of the sanction.  As you can see the attackers can take the second penalty kick, once the referee has made the new mark.  No mention of "they can't take it quick".

It works like this, the referee will walk 10m.  While he does this the defenders must run back 20m, to put themselves onside.  The law specifically says they must "run from the mark" and "keep running".  Once he has advanced 10m the referee will make the new mark.  As soon as he has done so the attackers may go.

Standing in front of the referee shouting "they can't take a quick one ref" is a breach of 21.7 above, it is also dissent towards the referee and could be construed as deliberate offending.  So at best the penalty is moving forward another 10m, and you could easily get a yellow card.

Urban Myth No 1...........Busted!

Tuesday, 28 December 2010

The Rugby Ref's changing room, No 15.

The Rugby Ref hasn't had much rugby over the festive period.  In fact The Rugby Ref has only had one game in the whole of December.  All the rest have been called off due to the adverse weather.  One just as The Rugby Ref arrived at the ground after driving for 45 minutes.

The one game that was on, was a bit one sided, but highly enjoyable.  In fact the losing team seemed to enjoy themselves more than the winning team!  Very good food and hospitality as well.  The ref's room is not bad.  It is small but comfortable with a lock on the door.  No separate showers or toilet, so this would normally rate a score of 5 out of 10.

Unfortunately The Rugby Ref had to share this "compact and bijou" room with another rugby ref.  Nothing wrong with that I hear you cry and The Rugby Ref agrees, however two club touch judges also insisted on using it.  Now bear in mind there wasn't enough room to swing a cat to start with and you can tell there will be problems with four grown men trying to get changed in there.  In fact everyone had to get changed in relays. This meant The Rugby Ref's routine was upset, and The Rugby Ref is a creature of habit, so for that reason this changing room gets a 4 out of 10.