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Soccer Rules Changes 1580-2000

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Question Number: 31743

Law 18 - Common Sense 8/30/2017

RE: Rec Adult

Russell of Sudney, Australia asks...

Player has to veer off the FOP as part of chasing down a ball that is rolling quickly and parallel to the sideline on the attacking right side of the field.

The veer off the FOP is due to a defender coming in from the left at a right angle to try and intercept the ball to kick it out. The defender misses the ball and the attackers desire to get to the ball has him quickly veer to his right to avoid the defender.

Seeing this was all happening under his nose the AR had to retreat away from the line while still running (to keep on the line of offside - in this instance the position of the ball) to also avoid a possible collision.

So now both the attacker and AR are running almost next to each other approximately a meter off the FOP - with the attacker still veering away where he uses his arm to push himself off the AR in an attempt to correct his momentum back towards the FOP.

The AR is mildly thrown off balance however recovers but has now dropped a metre or so behind the moving line of offside.

The attacker gets to the ball and the attack continues although ultimately the attack is nullified.

Question is - could there be a justification to pull up the attack for the push on the AR.

We know that if a ball inadvertently hits the CR or an AR (on the FOP) then it is generally simply 'play on'.
Same if a player accidentally collides with the Ref while on the FOP.

Is there something about the attacker in this moment of deliberately 'using' the AR to push himself off - so as to regain balance or position - that could be consider as possibly unsporting conduct?

I doubt anyone noticed the 'push' off the AR as none of the defending team complained of the advantage gained from the move.

I noticed it as I was the AR.

Answer provided by Referee Gary Voshol

I'm sure the player thought it was better to put a hand on the AR (aka push) than to barrel into him.

Yeah, players are not supposed to touch referees. But it happens. And unless it was a deliberate push, for instance when emotions get high and the player loses control of himself, there's probably no reason to do anything about it.

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Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Russell
No issue here. The player has simply had to use his hand to prevent contact with the AR which was completely unintentional.
Have a look at this video.
Attacker barrels towards and into the AR. No issue and thankfully no injuries.

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Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

Hi Russell,
I am sure we only confirmed what you knew already . The fact the player was actually trying to avoid the contact versus a mean spirited get of the way ref shove with malice. One needs no action the other will be self evident that some action is required or so me thinks!

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Answer provided by Referee Peter Grove

Hi Russell,
So long as the action described was simply an attempt by the player to maintain his balance then it would not be an offence (IMHO).

Here's another example of it happening in a high-level match where no action was taken (or needed).

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Answer provided by Referee Jason Wright

Hi Russell,
I've actually been the AR in this scenario. Players right on the touch line, next to me (I had to step back off the line). Player was stumbling, pushed against me to regain his balance. I figured that given he was falling over he wasn't trying to push a referee, as such - just pushing against whoever/whatever was near to keep his balance - and it was probably a better outcome than falling over into me or into the opponent.

In your question I'm not clear if the player pushed the AR because he was going to barrel into him/was off balance, or simply made a choice to push against him for leverage to propel himself in another direction.

The former is understandable - the latter would be unacceptable.

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