NOTE: Information found in this article was cited from the official “Laws of the Game” which can be found on

Has there been a time when your player has been fouled yet the referee did not make the call? Do you remember if your team kept possession during that time? The referee may have applied the rule of advantage. Let’s take a closer look at the advantage rule.

Referee Signal Advantage

The referee may play advantage whenever an infringement or offence occurs. The referee should consider the following circumstances in deciding whether to apply the advantage or stop play:

  • the severity of the offence: if the infringement warrants an expulsion, the referee must stop play and send off the player unless there is a subsequent opportunity to score a goal
  • the position where the offence was committed: the closer to the opponent’s goal, the more effective it can be
  • the chances of an immediate, dangerous attack on the opponents’ goal
  • the atmosphere of the match

The decision to penalize the original offence must be taken within a few seconds.

If the offence warrants a caution, it must be issued at the next stoppage. However, unless there is a clear advantage, it is recommended that the referee stops play and cautions the player immediately. If the caution is NOT issued at the next stoppage, it cannot be shown later.

The referee will point both arms forward and say “Advantage” or “Play on” to signify advantage has been given.