Refereeing is a mysterious art and sometimes the paying public are not aware of some hidden agendas.

In the recent Carling Cup Semi Final between Cardiff City and Queens Park Rangers the two leg match finished level at 1-1 after 180 minutes of play.

Extra time was required and, after a goalless 30 minute period, kicks from the penalty mark were used to determine the winner.

Referee Howard Webb, when tossing the coin with the captains for the restart of extra time, not only tossed for the team which would restart the match but also decided the end of the stadium at which any kicks from the penalty mark would be taken.

Forward planning in kicks from the penalty mark is important.

If the surface of a particular goal area has been damaged it should be avoided.

If most spectators are at one end of the stadium and there are very few at the other end there is no problem in choosing the goal to be used.

Where there are opposing supporters at each end, the decision of which goal to use becomes more problematic.

The simple way to solve the problem, as Howard Webb did in the Carling Cup, is to toss a coin and so everyone knows which end will be used.

There are also special situations such as safety and security and by alerting the police to the end to be used this problem can be minimised.

The main consideration for the referee is to ensure that everything is fair.

Having refereed a torrid 180 minutes of play successfully, the last thing a referee needs is to be criticised for is the administration of kicks from the penalty mark.

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