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Question Number: 33980

Law 12 - Fouls and Misconduct 8/29/2020

RE: Competitive Under 16

Andy Keen of Hull, East Yorkshire Wngland asks...

A forward player whistles as a defender is about to go for the ball, causing several players to stop believing it to be the referee’s whistle. The forward then nips in to score. Should the goal stand or should a free kick be given and the player cautioned for unsportsmanlike conduct?

Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

Hi Andy ,
decent set of lungs on the blighter to imitate the blast of a fox 40 lol. Players can indeed yell instructions or communicate without it being unsporting but this could be a clear unsporting gesture where a free kick and a caution show the yellow card would be in order as it was designed to create a false situation by inferring it as a referee stoppage not a hey I am open pass it here! . I have cautioned & shown the yellow card for an aggressive young player while chasing another milder opposing player for ball possession simply screamed Arghh!! into his ear as an intimidation attempt.

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Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Andy
Without doubt the goal should be disallowed and the offending player cautioned for unsporting behaviour. The player should be asked to remove the whistle so that it cannot cause any further disruption to the game.
Now what the player thought he was doing or that it would not be sanctioned is beyond me.

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Answer provided by Referee Peter Grove

Hi Andy,
The goal should be disallowed and the player should be cautioned. Play would restart with an indirect free kick to the opponents.

While this is not a classic case of verbal distraction (especially if a physical whistle was used) it clearly falls under the same guiding principle as the law covering verbal distraction - which says that a player must be cautioned for (verbally) distracting an opponent.

The Laws of the Game document says the following:

"The Laws cannot deal with every possible situation, so where there is no direct provision in the Laws, The IFAB expects the referee to make a decision within the ‘spirit’ of the game – this often involves asking the question, “what would football want/expect?”"

In this instance, if we apply the above principle, where there has been an unsporting action used to distract the opponents, it is crystal clear this should be penalized in exactly the same way as a verbal distraction would.

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