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Soccer Rules Changes 1580-2000

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Question Number: 33934

Law 12 - Fouls and Misconduct 4/26/2020

RE: Competitive Under 15

Luis-David Maya of San Mateo, CA USA asks...

UB Caution or VC Send-off? An attacker trips a defender who does not have the ball, about three seconds after the defender cleanly took the ball from the attacker and cleared it.

Additional context:
* Under-14 girls competitive tournament game
* About 10% of time to go (5min), attacker's team is down 2 goals.
* The defender needed about a minute to recover from the fall

Answer provided by Referee Peter Grove

Hi Luis-David,
This does sound like a YHTBT (you had to be there) moment. Without seeing the actual incident, it's difficult to judge. Based on your description this was an off-the-ball incident in the nature of a deliberate kick out, not simply a mistimed but genuine attempt to play the ball.

Normally, a deliberate trip with no attempt to play the ball is a minimum of a yellow card even when the tripped player is still in possession of the ball or had just released it a split second earlier. Given the nature of this offence, I think most referees would see this as a more reprehensible act.

So while I would not be at all surprised to see a red card given for an offence like this, it does still depend on how the referee sees it. A trip with a very minor amount of force might only deserve a yellow card.

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Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Luis-David
Thank you for your question
Generally the force used to trip a player can be negligible so in my opinion a trip would not normally constitute excessive force and therefore not a sending off offence.
It is most certainly a caution and also a stern talking to that any further misconduct will result in a red card.
In your example I would need to see it as it is very much opinion based. Two of the three factors you cite would not normally have a bearing such as age and time in the game and the possible injury would be a consideration although there is a risk that the team is using up time in the last few minutes for what was just a cynical trip rather than an *injury* per se.
Maybe ask yourself the question as to what would your call have been if the ball was there to be played? I have on numerous occasions gave the benefit of doubt to players in trip like situations where I felt the force used was negligible more just petty jostling between players. I recall on one occasion sending a player off for a second yellow on such a tripping incident after a goal. At that stage I had enough of his behaviour and I gave him a second yellow followed by a red and he had little complaint as he thought he would not have been seen.
Now there have been examples of trips that have resulted in straight red cards.
In this example the player is at pace and the trip is a cynical kick to trip up the player.The Arsenal player has no intention whatsoever to play the ball as it is not there to play and his sole intention is to bring the opponent down. The White player took no further part in the game after the challenge so the player was in my opinion correctly sent off for serious foul play as it endangered the safety of an opponent. I know some who would have gone with a yellow here and it would not be a *wrong* decision. It is one of those *orange* card decisions that can go either way based on the opinion of the referee on the day.
So generally a trip would not be a sending off for the reasons I have already mentioned yet if in the opinion of the referee it endangered the safety of an opponent or / and excessive force was used then it would be a red card.

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