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Soccer Rules Changes 1580-2000

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Question Number: 32643

Law 18 - Common Sense 8/13/2018

RE: REC Adult

Mitch of Ottawa, Ontario Canada asks...

I encountered a situation which I had not seen in 17 years of officiating.

A striker kept suggesting to players in the opposing team's defence to pass him the ball when they had possession.

He would say something like: 'Pass here, Come on, I'm open!'

I thought his conduct was just on the border of being obstructive, but he was more annoying than anything.

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Mitch
This behaviour is a caution for unsporting behaviour and an indirect free kick restart.
Law 12 tells us that it is unsporting behaviour to ** verbally distracts an opponent during play or at a restart **. As play has been stopped to issue a caution then the restart is an IDFK.
I would probably warn him the first time that he did it if he was unsuccessful in his effort. If he did get a result of a pass from an opponent it would be a caution straightaway.
I know a few referees in the game that would take a very dim view of this behaviour and it would be a caution immediately for USB. I would be speaking to the player at the first available stoppage to make it very clear that his conduct is not acceptable. A repeat will result in a yellow card caution.
As an aside thanks for your long service to the game. Many times it is not acknowledged and those of us in officiating know what it requires.

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Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

HI Mitch,
it is stated within the LOTG that it is an unsporting action should an opponent verbally distract an opponent during restart or active play. Like yelling Argh to intimidate, asking for a pass is trickery & not part of the acceptable way of avoiding a challenge or unfairly winning ball possession.. It is considered as USB but you could call it verbal impeding in there is no contact but it interrupts their progress and in if we stop play to sanction it is a mandatory caution show the yellow card.thus is not treated like regular impeding where no caution is required. The INDFK is from where the distraction occurs, subject to law 13 special circumstances within the goal area and the fact the new LOTG permit a foul to be off the FOP at the nearest boundary line!

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Answer provided by Referee Peter Grove

Hi Mitch,
As my colleagues have pointed out, it is not permitted to verbally distract an opponent during play (or at a restart). I would say that this is not the typical form of verbal distraction that we normally encounter and almost sounds as if it is being done as a joke but if you consider that this is being done to distract the opponent then it is a cautionable offence. As ref McHugh says, you could warn the player first before taking action if the behaviour persists.

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