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Soccer Rules Changes 1580-2000

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Question Number: 30371

Law 12 - Fouls and Misconduct 5/1/2016

RE: Competitive Under 12

Aaron Speca of Virginia Beach, Virginia United States asks...

Two plays that sort of illustrate the concept of 'getting the ball doesn't mean that there was no foul'. Same game and crew.

The first play was called a foul. #11 black goes to tackle #48 white and gets the ball away before #48 tumbles over #11's leg. Restart was a DFK.

The second play was not called a foul (and actually would have been a penalty kick if called). In this one, #32 white manages to get his leg in between #3 black's legs from behind to poke the ball but goes through #3 to do it, tumbling across the back of #3's legs. (I know it is tough to see everything because of the two other defenders in the shot. I slowed it down as much as I could.)

To me, if the first one was a foul, the second which appeared more dangerous was certainly a foul and to be consistent both should have been called.

Answer provided by Referee Gene Nagy


The video is inconclusive, especially the second scenario. In the first I saw #11 kick the ball and the white player tumble over#11's leg. If that is what happened, there is no foul because contact with the ball was made first and the white player went over the foot that kicked the ball.
The second play has players in the line of sight and it is impossible to tell who did what.
But what is your question? The Laws define fouls quite well but good application of the Laws are commensurate with experience of the referee.
I have to say Aaron that soccer is a contact sport and players are supposed to make contact. Many of these contacts are fair, even those that cause the other player to fall.

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Answer provided by Referee Jason Wright

Hi Aaron,

Probably the clearest example is the sort of slide tackle that gets the ball, only collects the player on the follow through but the slide has so much momentum that he continues several yards past the attacker.

Although, hypothetically, a slide tackle from behind where his foot goes between the opponent's legs to knock the ball away then he continues through the player on the slide would be an example that nobody could argue with!

Not the greatest view, but personally I don't think the first was a foul. It's difficult to explain exactly when 'getting the ball first' can still be a foul....but referees will consider, among other things, whether the force used was proportionate and reasonable (the slide tackle example I suggested is a case or there the force is not proportionate and reasonable), whether due care was made to the opponent, and the danger to the opponent.
For the first clip, he kicked the ball away, there wasn't more force than absolutely necessary directed at the opponent, and it was only the result of the white player continuing to run that he collected the black player's leg. I don't think there was a foul here, but it's also not the best angle to view it, so that does have an impact.
If, for instance, the defender kicked the ball away but had quite a wild follow-through that collected the opponent hard or high, then this would be a good candidate for a foul (and possibly a card depending on the force involved, but probably less likely at this age).

As for the second one, really difficult to see what happened. With the view I have I'm not prepared to offer an opinion on that incident. It looks like the white player poked a toe through the black player's legs to kick the ball away, that part is fine, but I can't tell how the white player came to ground. If he happened to lose balance and fall over as part of the tackle then different referees would probably judge that one different. If it was a slide from behind that's collected the black player's legs then that should be a foul. If he has poked the leg through and the legs clashed (perhaps as the black player's leg went behind as part of his stride)'s a difficult one and I think different referees would have a different decision there. Sorry to be a fencesitter on this one!!

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Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Aaron
First one is certainly not a foul. Defender #11 cleanly plays the ball and Attackers # 48 then makes contact with the player. That is simply players coming together. Restart should have been a throw in. There was no action by #11 that was careless, reckless just playing the ball.
In this challenge White reckless follows through after playing the ball. That is most definitely a foul and at the very least a caution.

On the second one while inconclusive it looks to me that White #32 gets to the ball first and plays the ball and then Black # 3 makes careless contact with the opponent knocking him to the ground and then falling over him. Restart could be a free kick out to White. I certainly would not be awarding a penalty kick here. It is either a DFK to White or a goal kick / corner kick depending on who played the ball last. If I was unsure here it looks to me like a goal kick.

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