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Law 05: The Referee

One Referee shall be appointed to officiate each match.

The Referee's authority commences as soon as entering the field of play and continues when play has been temporarily suspended, and when the ball is out of play.  The referee's authority includes the technical area surrounding the field.  The referee's authority continues until the referee leaves the field of play and the surrounding technical area.  The Referee's decisions on points connected with play shall be final.

The Referee:
  • enforces the Laws
  • has the option to not penalize a breach of the Laws if, either
    • a decisive advantage is immediately obtained by the non-offending team (e.g., a defender handles the ball but the shot goes into the goal)
    • the breach is a trifling one that confers no advantage to the offending team
  • acts as timekeeper and keeps a record of the match
  • stops, suspends, or terminates the match, at the Referee's discretion, for any infringement of the Laws, or because of outside interference of any kind. However, if the Referee terminates the match, the Referee does not have the power to decide that either team is disqualified and, thereby, the loser of the match.  The Referee must instead simply report the circumstances to the Regional Coach Administrator,
  • stops the match if a player has been seriously injured.  If a player is only slightly hurt and is in no danger, the match should not be stopped until the ball is next out of play
  • ensures that no unauthorized persons enter the field of play
  • takes action against team officials who fail to conduct themselves in a responsible manner and may, at his/her discretion, expel them from the field of play and its immediate surrounds
  • allows only positive coaching from the boundary lines
  • If two offences occur in rapid succession (e.g., a push followed by a push back), the Referee can penalize only the first, since the second one occurred when the ball was out of play (see Law 9) because the Referee had already decided to stop play for the first one, whether or not the Referee had yet signaled this to the players.  Since only the most serious misconduct is separately sanctioned when the ball is out of play, the Referee has no convenient way to penalize the second offence. However, the Referee should clearly warn the second offender.
If a player commits two infringements at the same time, the Referee shall punish the more serious offence.

The Referee can base decisions only on facts observed directly or by another official appointed for the same match.  The Referee may reverse any decision the Referee made, until the match has been restarted.