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Question Number: 34044

Character, Attitude and Control 11/5/2020

RE: Rec Adult

Russell of Sydney, Australia asks...

This question is a follow up to question 34043

Grabbing and holding - as Divyesh of Downside (I grew up not too far from there) mentions happens a lot at set pieces.

And Ref MCHUGH mentioned that they are called as fouls elsewhere (i.e. in general play) on the pitch - and I think why they are called more often elsewhere (in part) is because it is typically only two players involved and is happening 'live'.
It is therefore easier to call it, and harder to not call it as the focus is right there with those few players.

In set pieces, there can be typically anything from 4 or more sets of paired up players trying to get the better of an opponent. It therefore, comes down to as mentioned - if it is a blatant foul. Even then...(Mcguire of MU - I'm looking at you !)

Coaches and players know that the number of times their misconduct is actually called at set plays is very low, and are doubtless prepared to risk it knowing that they will be called for it on a very low percentage of occasions.

At park footy low levels, I feel there is certainly merit in pausing a restart to mention to players that you are watching. It becomes less effective the higher the grade - because the higher the grade the more they know you are less likely to call 'elsewhere' fouls.

It is a bit like a speed camera on the road - if you know it is there and it will get you - you don't speed THERE. Elsewhere, where you know there are no cameras - we drive like lunatics.

Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

Hi Russell
hmmm while I like your observations the drive like lunatics portion has me pause, faster than we should perhaps but not sure I approach lunacy status? lol There is no doubt that a ball, a defender and attacker in a close proximity challenge during liveplay are the objects of greater attention than players milling about waiting for restart. You still see weird occurances where a PK taken right after a whistle or a free kick taken without a whistle that looked rather cerimonial, at least to the defenders, catch a keeper or a team by surprise. Part of the reason so much clutch, grab, impede and push occurs is because the game is STILL going on even when play is stopped. Seeking advantage was NEVER confined to offside just mentioned as a part of it. In fact teams are ALWAYS seeking advantage in one form or another. Because it is reciprocal referees find it difficult to discern who is at fault. Aside from the set a block as in basket ball, use the referee as a screen, surround the keeper with 4 attacking players the jockeying for positional or spatial advantage is more pronounced in slower motion given the ten yards or the offside push up, holds players to relatively benign movements until AFTER the play is restarted then vroom they are off and push, pull, grabby stuff is in flail mode by a whole group of which the referee COULD choose a foul but is likely looking to see if the ball falls strategically to a defender to clear or an attacker to score in a blatantly unfair situation or if the opportunity for either team is simply unaffected by the shenanigans he simply gets on with the match. I often harp on what is necessary to intervene as opposed to what demands we intervene is a balancing act performed by the referee! Walking that laws/spirit distinction as what is best for the game, determining acceptable player expectations coinciding with the referee tolerances is why the mantra of Your match! Your decision! Your reputation! is something all who stand within the centre circle must acknowledge

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Answer provided by Referee Peter Grove

Hi Russell,
I think that's a good analysis - I would agree with your observations. You're right that it is easier to call holding in 'non dead-ball' situations as there are usually only two players involved and the ball is in play, so a foul can be called immediately. A lot of the holding at set pieces starts before the ball is in play, involves multiple players and then continues until the ball is in play but at that point, which of the possibly half a dozen occurrences do you penalise (if any)?

Yes, you can warn the players before the kick is taken (as the laws advise) but unfortunately, experience shows that this usually has only a limited effect.

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