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Question Number: 34028

Law 12 - Fouls and Misconduct 10/17/2020

RE: U18 High School

Jason of Lacrosse, WI USA asks...

Did you guys see the Pickford challenge on Van Dijk after the flag webt up? Two questions: Is that a card for you? Is a card for a reckless or excessive force challenge after a whistle possible?

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Jason
In my opinion it was without doubt a red card for serious foul play. This challenge in normal play by any player would meet all the conditions of SFP. In fact Van Dijk goes off injured as a result of the challenge and takes no further part in the game. He had to go to hospital and may be out for months.
As to the offside call that makes no difference if the flag went up or the ball is out of play or the whistle has sounded. The ball out of play or the whistle sounding does not give any player free reign to commit a SFP challenge.
I can understand why VAR spent so much times putting up lines to show Van Dijk was offside by millimeters, as his shoulder was ahead of the offisde line, as if he was onside it was a penalty. The elephant in the room though was the Pickford challenge? It suggests to me that VAR believed that the referee saw the Pickford challenge and decided to take no action and bring it to his attention. Or he spent so much time on the offside he forgot about the challenge part! The SFP challenge falls within the remit of VAR as a possible red card which should be brought to the referees attention.
In either case neither official dealt with the situation adequately in that Referee Oliver saw nothing wrong with a SFP challenge and the VAR official Referee David Coote failing to inform the referee on a possible serious foul play incident that he needed to look at (if the referee missed it) or he did not see it clearly. I can understand how the referee might not have seen it clearly yet with multiple angles and time to review the challenge it begs the question how the VAR official could not see this as a probable red card? I hope it was not that we are giving an IDFK for offside and so how can we red card the goalkeeper? That would be an error in Law and I would like an understanding of how they got to the decision.
The other key moment in the game now shows that in the VAR era that the technology needs to toned down. Both that Van Dijk incident and the Henderson offside goal were called because the PIOPs shoulder was ahead of the last opponents body part that can legally play the ball. Both PIOPs bodies were level with the defenders and without the minutiae of coloured lines would be see as clearly onside. The video images of the VAR shows both lines touching each other so we are talking millimeters. Take away those lines and to the naked eye they will be level and onside.
Some in the game are suggesting *daylight* between the players yet that just moves the lines. If there is daylight and the PIOPs shoulder is leaning back towards an opponent then that would be onside yet looking clearly offside. And those will happen. Yes the offside called ones will look more like offside yet the tight onside ones will then be the problem!

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Answer provided by Referee Joe Manjone


In high school games, reckless play after the whistle has blown would at the least be a caution (NFHS Rule 12-8-1f10) and the player causing the reckless play would have to leave the game until the next legal opportunity to substitute.

Reckless play after the whistle has sounded would most likely result in a disqualification (red card) for violent conduct or serious foul play (NFHS 12-8-2) depending on the severity and intent of the contact.

When deliberate contact by a player occurs while the ball is out of play because the whistle has been sounded (NFHS Rule 9-1-2c) the referee should take immediate action to caution or disqualify the player. If no action is taken, retaliation by the other team often occurs and the game can turn violent.

In Wisconsin, as you are most likely aware, a disqualified high school soccer player must sit out at least one game after the disqualification. Also, the player's coach must write a letter to the WIAA telling of the behavior that caused the disqualification and what education and steps will be taken to prevent future red cards by that player.

Also, if teams accumulate 24 or more yellow cards or 5 or more straight red cards are prohibited from participating in the WIAA tournament series.

Obviously, the WIAA wants to prevent actions that result in cautions and disqualifications. As a WIAA official, you, therefore, should not hesitate to give a yellow or red card when the action of a player merits it.

I hope that you get to work in the WIAA semi-final or final games on November 7.

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Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

Hi Jason,
ironic I JUST commented on a recent post, the fact that often an attacking player takes a late harsh tackle on a missed scoring opportunity or when the the ball is already into touch almost as a penance for not scoring. Sigh

With regards to your query. The offside is the reason to award the indirect free kick out because it occurs first but the challenge was a horrible one, not because it was late after the fact, the keeper would not be aware of that just yet, it was because it was a running leap into the air with two straight legs cleats showing just below knee height that scissored the attacker in brutal fashion! How was that remotely a challenge to win the ball? It was designed to TAKE that player out . He would be lucky if he ONLY was cautioned and in my opinion the officials got that wrong too! That was in my opinion, a leg breaking challenge it MUST be called! Perhaps because the cleats were not involved it was given a pass but how it escaped scrutiny from the Referee and the VAR with no cards of any color shown baffles me?

I am 101% in agreement with Ref McHugh on this idiocy of micro measurements offside. It has NO place in recreational soccer because there is no way without freeze frame technology you have ANY chance to do the same!

MOST definitely cards are a consideration for ANY misconduct before or after the whistle or ANYTIME while the match is under the control of the referee including before & after the match.

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