Sometimes during the run of play in a soccer match, a player commits a blatant foul. But for some reason, the game continues on without the official calling a foul. We just learned that there are free kicks after fouls, but sometimes, officials will rule acknowledge the foul without stopping the game. Why is that the case?
This is because of the advantage rule. An advantage is given when a foul and stoppage in play would actually be harmful to the offended team, as determined by the discretion of the official.If the team that committed the foul would receive an advantage if the gameplay stopped, the official is permitted to disregard the foul and let the game continue. This helps to not punish the team that was fouled.
Examples of advantages include fouling a player at midfield, fouling a player inside the defensive's penalty box, include the team being able to reset on defense, the ball being may include include a team committing a foul so the other team has to perform a kick, which allows the defense to have extra time to regroup.
A foul is an infraction that a team commits against an opposing team. Fouls are signaled by the official. In this instance, we are dealing with fouls committed by a defending team to a team with possession of the ball.
The advantage rule is when the team that is fouled is given an "advantage" from the official to play on. The official will usually yell "Play on!" to the players signalling that the foul will not stop play.
This means that for as long as the official signals an advantage play (which is done with both arms out horizontally in front of him), the defending team is not allowed to touch the ball or the play will be stopped and a free kick given.
Sometimes the official may call a foul when the advantage rule should have been awarded. In this case, the official will give a warning to the fouler and award the fouled team a free kick. Play continues on.
How long does an advantage last?
The advantage is to last only a few seconds, or until the fouled player successfully passes the ball to another member of their team. The next time that the ball is dead, or gameplay is stopped, the official may go back and give the player who committed the foul a yellow or red card.
Pros and Cons of the Advantage Rule
There are both positives and negatives to the advantage rule for both teams.
Some of the positives of the advantage rule is that gameplay is continued which allows the offended team to remain in possession of the ball and continue to move it down the field. A stoppage in play would cause the player to lose the stamina and leverage he gained, which could mean less of a chance of scoring a goal.
A disadvantage of the advantage rule is that the player fouled could be seriously injured from a blatant foul. The purpose of these fouls are to stop play, so the injuries that result can be very serious and harmful.