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Question Number: 34046

High School 11/7/2020

RE: Competive High School

Bruce Moore of SF Bay Area, California USA asks...

First great site.

I'm trying to get a better understanding of defenders reaching in front of attackers to get and or take the ball away. Any insight from your team is Greatly Appreciated !

I have a youtube video that does a better job of explaining my question.

Please see the time at 5 minutes and replay at 6:48 no foul called, and another at 7:15 foul called.

Thanks in advanced for your site !

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Bruce
Having watched the two incidents I am of the opinion that the first challenge was an offence as the defender does not play the ball but clearly brings the attacker down with no contact on the ball.
In the second one it was not an offence as the defender plays the ball away and then there is contact between the players after the ball is played. To me the second one was a genuine play on the ball followed by a coming together of the players. That typically is not a foul unless it is done in a way that is careless or reckless. That did not happen here.
I have shown this video previously
Here is another one
Most are all legal challenges with perhaps one or two questionable ones. You will note that many include contact between the players after the ball is played.
Now it does not mean that playing the ball exonerates a player from committing a foul. If the challenge is done in a way that is careless, reckless etc and showing no regard for an opponent with unnecessary force that is an offence.

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Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

HI Bruce
understanding is not only based on your hard work but by using the experience of others on a shared journey. We all contribute over time as examples of how to interpret fair versus foul be it a correct decision or wrong decision. A referee with integrity, sees what he sees, in that split second from where he is on the pitch, using what he knows, to to make a yes or no decision, to allow play or stop play. Armchair bias is something you must be aware when viewing slow motion, frame by frame dissection. It provides a MUCH different view then real time match conditions.

That said the two incidents, in my opinion are easily determined within the sightlines the video provides. I concur with my colleague Ref McHugh. The officials missed the first foul. Why the AR and CR did not confer at the very least is puzzling as it seems pretty straightforward . I have to wonder how it could be awarded as a Goal kick? (I did not see a corner kick indication thus I am assuming?) It means the attacker LAST touched the ball?? Thus how that challenge was not deemed a foul is hard to reconcile? Even if they incorrectly thought the defender did get a touch, a corner would result as the proper restart? In my opinion there was a charge into the back then a sweep of the legs .It was definitely an ill timed attempt, made with no malice, but it could be cautionable show a yellow card as no DOGSO is in play given the free kick would be a PK. The white coach was certainly unhappy lol That said the CR let the tirade go on rather long! Coaches are required to act with a certain responsibility & decorum even IF they believe the CR messed up. Prolonged dissent is not wise, even if the referee felt he might have missed the call or not, a caution for USB is certainly plausible and depending on the veracity of the abuse ir could even be red.

I got the ball ref! is not a get off a free shot at the opponent, where extracurricular actions , a leg swipe scissoring action or fast forceful crashing together can endanger an opponent even if the ball was originally won fairly. Yet NONE of that was in evidence in the 2nd incident. Simply a reasonable effort to win the ball without any dangerous or carelessness on display . The defender well timed his effort to knock the ball away in a fair manner. There was some contact AFTER but it was not a careless, reckless or excessive under cutting of the legs, it was, as my colleague aptly described, a coming together where the attacker, to put it in a context of a non foul, FELL, over the legs, as opposed to being brutally scythed down without regard for his safety.

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Answer provided by Referee Jason Wright

Hi Bruce,
If it helps, I believe the referee of that match got both of those incidents wrong.

For the first incident, the defender attempts to slide in for the ball - misses it completely and trip the attacker. That's a straightforward foul. While the attacker did move around the ball towards the defender a little, this manoeuvring is allowed and he never moved off the ball - and it doesn't change that it was a desperate lunge.

I'm not sure what the referee's reasoning here was - if he mistakenly thought the defender touched the ball (this doesn't excuse it when the defender had to slide through the attacker), it would be a corner.

I suspect the referee was caught a long way behind play, and in the centre - it's important to have an angle of incidents like this. If you are caught behind play, this is when the AR comes into play. I instruct my AR's that for a penalty, they're to take my lead - and not call it unless I'm looking to them for help (or it's something behind my back) . If I was stuck with poor vision of this incident, I'd look directly at my AR who would look to me - and seeing me looking to them, they'd know I'm asking them for a decision.

I wonder if there was miscommunication here - perhaps the ref left it for the AR and the AR left it for the ref? Or the ref thought there was a defensive touch and the attacker touched it after?

Very, very disappointing conduct from the bench here as well. Of course, the display of the yellow card could do with a bit of work - and I don't like to see these discussions from the referee go on this long. Given the coach received a yellow prior to the referee coming over (I think) and the coach then leaned right into the referee's face to continue to berate him...well, it's difficult to justify no red card there.

The second decision, I suspect the referee was a long way behind play again - I'm basing this on his position at the start of this play - to remain in position, there referee should already be running while they're in the camera view here. The ball was taken cleanly with minimal force and no danger. There was no sweeping leg behind the opponent. The 'trip' only occurred as part of incidental contact after the ball was taken - this was a perfect tackle for me.

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Answer provided by Referee Joe Manjone


I agree with the other refs that the first contact was a foul and that the second contact was not a foul and looked like a legal tackle with contact occurring afterwards. The CF was in a poor position to make the call in both plays.

There were several fouls that should have resulted in cards and were just called fouls. One being white number 8 jumping at the opponent.

Also, the CF spent way too much time explaining the no call. Going to a team bench as was done is a very poor practice. A quick explanation from a distance is all that is needed. Spending so much time talking to a coach results in the belief that the CF was trying to please the coach on the second call.

I hope that you had a successful fall high school season.

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