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Question Number: 33634

Law 12 - Fouls and Misconduct 9/8/2019

RE: Competetive Under 17

Devery A Harper of NAPLES, FL United States asks...

I gave my first red card today in a U-16 competitive game. I was facing the run of play with one of my AR's to my back and the other to my left up the field about 30 yards. Play was intense so I did not notice that there was a player down on the far side of the field, apparently both AR's had their flags up to get my attention . By the time I noticed the kid on the ground the offensive team was on a breakaway up the field. The player down was on the defending side at this point, but he was on the far side of the field not involved in the play. So I let the play continue. The offensive player got in behind the defense and one of the defenders--the last defender--ran into the attacker with a full head of steam from the side and fouled him. I blew my whistle, went immediately over to consult the AR...was it in the area? no. What about the down player, should I have stopped play? We both agreed he wasn't and couldn't be involved in the play. Was this a DOGSO? The tackle happened at the top corner of the penalty area, the defender tackling him was the last defender, he did not seem to make an attempt for the ball, etc. The AR left it with's my decision he said. So, I gave the offender a red card. This of course changed the game completely.
I'm just wondering with the above information would you judge my decision to be correct? Did I have a choice? Could I have given a yellow? Thanks.

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Devery
Two issues at play here.
On the injury that is a judgement call for the referee to make as to whether to stop play or not. At Underage probably best to err on the side of caution by stopping.
On the red card there are two possibilities.
One is the manner of the foul which if excessive force was used endangering the safety of the attacker was used then it is serious foul play and a red card.
The second option is in this scenario was whether the foul denied an obvious goal scoring opportunity. To assess that the referee uses what is called the 4Ds
# Distance between the offence and the goal
# general Direction of the play
# Distance to the ball that is likelihood of keeping or gaining control of the ball
# location and number of defenders
All four conditions must be present. In this example from your description we are certain that no other defenders was likely to challenge, the distance to the ball is there, the distance to the goal is around 18 yards so the only one at question is general direction of the play.
We can say that with a degree of certainty that 3 out of 4 conditions were met and a strong possibility on the 4th. Throw in a full head of steam challenge probably taking the player out that the red card was justified.
Ultimately though it is the referees call based on his judgement and perhaps a caution could also have been the call.
Had the foul happened inside the penalty area and it was a genuine challenge for the ball with no excessive force then a-caution was required.

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Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

Hi Devery,
It is an evolutionary process for a referee to develop good managerial skills on the pitch.

You are to be commended for reviewing your decision and actions post game, it is a necessary component to advance your understanding.

Anticipation & proactive actions play a large part in helping a referee avoid pitfalls. Are you aware that by anticipating the play and formulating running plans to BE at the best angle or positions to view the action by proceeding play instead of following the ball?

Are you aware of shoulder checks? Knowing there are issues all about the pitch and while eye contact with the ARs with mirror flagging help the communication so does a look back at the trouble spots where resentment or player retaliation is a possibility away from play.

If we examine the dynamics of the play let address the fact that BOTH ARs had raised flags and the excuse, 'play was intense', as the reason you missed this downed player.

It is easy to be distracted and lose focus just as easily as it is to become too focused on following the ball. Your job is managing the game, SAFELY, NOT following the ball, even if chasing that goofy round thing is a large part of what people think is important.

It is certainly possible for players to collapse, a simple cramp, tired, dizzy but USUALLY the opposition have something to add to that fact.
It is also salable a defender could fake or exaggerate an injury to stop play or perhaps pressure you to seeing yellow or a foul even if the event was a staged one?

When you noticed the downed defender the opposition was attacking and you arbitrarily decided the attack was NOT going to be hampered by the defender lying on the ground? Did you wonder then why both flags were up and were they waving to get your attention? Was there not the slightest tinge that maybe the downed player had been fouled? Was there ANY opportunity to assess the condition of that defender or ask, 'you alright? Can you continue?' to be satisfied there was no serious injury? Had you witnessed the reason earlier why that player might be down? It is within your decision framework to ignore flags from the ARs but in pregame I would suggest that flags should never be raised unless those raising them felt compelled play NEEDED to be stopped!

Be what it may you deemed the downed player as NOT a reason to stop play.
You watched another defender charge the attacker at the top of the PA .
You deemed THAT charge as the reason to stop play.

Did you see to the injury potential of the downed defender ASAP?
Did consult the ARs as to how defending player on the ground arrived at that position? Together you determined there was no foul on that defender that caused him to be there so your decision to carry on and award the DFK for the charge barge at the top of the PA, not a PK because it was OUTSIDE the PA will now stand as the reason to restart play.

The foul had the potential to be deemed careless , reckless (an act endangering safety or USB to break up the attackT rthis results in a caution, show a yellow card or excessive force as a SFP (serious foul play) show the red card & send the culprit off reducing their playing numbers by 1

Your 'FULL HEAD OF STREAM' analogy has me thinking at MINIMUM reckless if not a direct send off for SFP? Based on that the tackle itself has cardable attachments. YET you are asking DOGSO not if the action was VC or SFP so I suspect you would have cautioned shown the yellow card for the tackle itself?

If you review what the LOTG say about the considerations for determining a foul punishable by a free kick that denies a goal or goal scoring opportunity.

In YOUR opinion were ALL the criteria met?? We can be approximation of the distance at 25 yards so
Was the attacker moving towards the goal not just the goal line?
Was he in great control of the ball.
Was the last defender the keeper? Were other defenders running in as interceptors that might affect the opportunity?

You do not give cards, you show them to players so they can reflect on their actions! Yes playing short can be tough and the affected team could think you were unfair in how that decision was reached. If you had stopped to address the injury maybe no card at all? A referee with integrity calls what he sees A referee bases his or her decisions on their understanding of the LOTG . Your match your decision your reputation!

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Answer provided by Referee Peter Grove

Hi Devery,
I think the first question is, should you have stopped play for the injured player? You say the player wasn't and couldn't be involved in play but that's not the correct criteria for deciding whether to stop play. The only thing you should be considering is whether the player was seriously injured and needed urgent attention. The fact that both AR's had their flags up to get your attention seems to indicate that they thought it fairly serious. I'm not sure what is normal practice where you are or what you said to the AR's (if anything) on the subject prior to the game but in my experience, both AR's don't flag simultaneously and maintain the flag for an injury unless it's really serious and they believe play should be stopped.

It's a little tricky to say whether there was a DOGSO offence here - again you don't seem to be looking at the correct considerations for making that determination.

The law says a couple of things - firstly, that the foul must be against a player whose ''overall movement is towards the offender’s goal.''

It also says:

''The following must be considered:

distance between the offence and the goal

general direction of the play

likelihood of keeping or gaining control of the ball

location and number of defenders''

The only one of those we can really take from your description is the distance from goal. We still don't know if there were other covering defenders, what was the player's overall direction of travel and whether the player had and/or looked likely to maintain control of the ball. Unless we know the answers to those questions, we can't really say if this was a DOGSO offence or not. Being at the corner of the penalty area is not necessarily the best position to score from, and calling someone 'the last defender' does not necessarily mean there weren't other defenders who could have got there in time to intervene, again depending on the player's overall direction, speed and level of control of the ball.

If, having considered all the above criteria you come to the conclusion that the player has indeed been denied an obvious goal scoring opportunity and if you judge that the defender's challenge was not an attempt to play the ball, the player is sent off, even though you awarded a penalty. If on the other hand you think the player was attempting to play the ball, then you would downgrade the card to a yellow.

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