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Question Number: 33935

Law 12 - Fouls and Misconduct 4/29/2020

RE: Rec and competitive Under 19

Jason of La Crosse, WI USA asks...

Can #27 on Newcastle do this:

If no, what rule is being broken?

Answer provided by Referee Peter Grove

Hi Jason,
While there is no specific reference in the current laws that would cover this exact behaviour, if you were looking for something (anything) that could be applicable I suppose it would be the general 'catch all' provision of unsporting behaviour, most likely under the sub-heading of ''shows a lack of respect for the game.''

I think the player is making an absolute idiot of himself and on reflection should be thoroughly ashamed of his behaviour but in the end, as ref McHugh mentions, it didn't seem to have any much effect on the goalkeeper who was still able to set up his wall relatively unhindered by the ridiculous antics of the opponent.

On a historical note, it's perhaps interesting to note that in the Laws of the Game prior to 1997 there would have been something directly applicable, to wit:

''If, when a free−kick is being taken, any of the players dance about or gesticulate in a way calculated to distract their opponents, it shall be deemed ungentlemanly conduct for which the offender(s) shall be cautioned.''

I'd have to say that personally, in this particular instance I rather wish that this old law were still in place.

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Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Jason
This was allowed by the referee on the day because no law was technically broken. Many will see it as gamesmanship and silly conduct by a professional player yet perhaps not enough to caution for. At one stage there developed a pushing session between the player and a defender who tried to prevent it. Note how another defender came across to his teammate and it looked like he told him to come away and not to get involved which was sensible advice.
The referee did not get involved in the situation and I doubt if the goalkeeper was put off by it as really he was concentrating on the ball and his defenders.
If the incident involving the defender and the attacking player got more heated or contentious / aggressive the referee could and should step in to deal with it. Cautions could be used for unsporting behaviour on that conduct yet the first attempt should be to get players to desist.
As it turned out no cards were required and in my opinion the kick would have been as successful without the silly antics.

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