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Question Number: 34068

Law 12 - Fouls and Misconduct 12/2/2020

RE: U19 Under 19

JasonC of Lacrosse, WI USA asks...

Did you guys catch the Sounders-FC Dallas game yesterday? I can't find a clip of this incident, but there was a foul called on a challenge by Santos of Dallas. The challenge brought a caution as well. Just after this challenge, perhaps just before or after the whistle I'm not sure, another pretty nasty and clearly reckless came in by Bressan of Dallas, who was already on a caution. The referee did a lot of yapping with the players but ultimately didn't caution the second challenge.

Can you walk us through this scenario. I'm pretty sure a card can be shown for anything after the whistle. The announcers predictably screwed this up by saying that, while it merited a caution, the play had been blown dead.

I suspect the referee didn't want give a second yellow on such an odd play. Hopefully you caught this so you know what I'm talking about. It happened in the 74th minute of the Dallas-Seattle quarterfinal playoff game.

Answer provided by Referee Jason Wright

Hi Jason,

Here's the clip -

So Red (Dallas? - I'm Australian!) committed a foul near the sideline, the referee allowed play to continue, and there was another foul by red immediately after. The whistle was blown immediately, and the referee went back to issue the yellow card for the first challenge.

Here we see the big risk with playing advantage on a YC offence - that you can then end up with a second one. That second tackle is shown best in the final seconds - the red player actually leapt in from behind, making contact with the opponent just as he touches the ball. We can see he lands as he's striking the back of the opponent's foot. This is clearly a reckless tackle. Leaping in from behind like's a clear yellow. I can't see any reason to not issue a card - if there had been more weight landing on the opponent I'd be arguing for a red.

What I find concerning is the referee actually reached into his top pocket as he ran over to deal with this tackle - he made the decision to show the yellow card, then changed this as he ran over. Why? Unless the AR talked him down over comms, I can only wonder if the referee realised the player was already on a card and didn't want to send him off. If so, this is poor refereeing.

Changing the decision like that is obvious and should be strongly discouraged. While there may be some room to not give a card if somebody is already on one, that should only apply to a borderline card (and that's only arguable if you should anyway). For a clear card such as this? No, that player absolutely should have walked.

Then you see the referee did nothing at all to manage that player, to warn them of their actions, instead running off to deal with the card for the first tackle.

In relation to your question - let's say the whistle was blown before the 2nd tackle. The card can still be shown - and I have done this myself. Perhaps the announcers were a bit confused with the fact that a FOUL only occurs when the ball was in play and that the restart doesn't get changed for after-the-whistle events? You'd absolutely show a card if a tackle, moments after the whistle, deserved it (I'm talking about ones just after the whistle when players have committed - of course if it's clearly after the whistle and the other player has already started to pull back, that's going to be treated much more harshly).

So, what the referee really should have done was caution both players, with one being sent off - though back to my first point, you only play advantage on a caution if there is a really, really, really clear advantage. The ball was going to a closely marked attacker running at (and very close to) the touchline. This was not a good situation to consider advantage. Sure, IF the attacker won the ball, and IF he beat the opponent he's got a good run on goal, but all that was pretty unlikely and you need a lot more certainty than this to play advantage on a yellow card. Play should have been stopped immediately for the first one.

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Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

HI Jason,
After watching the video provided by my colleague Ref Wright, I find it very easy to agree with his concluding assessment. That said, this is professional match in a grass roots match nothing incorrect under the LOTG would be in doubt if the DFK restart for that 1st foul the culprit was shown a yellow card and the 2nd tackler already on a caution be shown a yellow card then a red card and sent off reducing his team by a player for the misconduct of ignoring & endangering the safety of the opponent after the whistle. SAFETY!!!!!

The first tackle was a clear DFK foul & as cautionable reckless USB, the player responsible should be show a yellow card!

The failure to act quickly set up the circumstances for the follow up misconduct. (as the whistle had gone prior to actual contact it can not be a foul)
The 2nd tackle was certainly cautionable reckless USB MISCONDUCT

We can not be 100% sure if advantage was possibly being entertained by the CR. It is certainly plausible given referees do like to look and see if there is any sort of promising attack presents itself to outweigh he intent of the foul (which is usually to stop play and permit defenders to recover) for both fairness and to a degree, entertainment purposes ,as a fast moving, exciting flowing match is what we enjoy.

The LOTG do allow us to use our discretion when dealing with reasons to stop play.
Whether the better decision was to think about cautioning at a later time for the 1st foul, the CR did recognized the incident was reckless. Perhaps he was not 100% convinced that it was it gnarly enough to invoke emotional reactions from the teams that needed to be immediately settled?

This is just supposition.

The CR likely had no indication there would be an immediate follow up tackle by the same team with just as much in fact slightly more reckless abandonments than he had just witnessed. Given the whistle was sounding already, BEFORE the 2nd tackle, the CR may well have been trying to halt it? The FACT it was implemented by a player previously cautioned would be unknown UNTIL the incident occurred.

Some things are abundantly clear, unfair and MUST incur the send off. We have no issues when presented with irrefutable, mandatory, non discretionary options. That does not mean we can not USE out discretion to steer clear of reducing the number of players A double caution is indeed a correct reason to send off a player. We may not hold ourselves as responsible for their chosen actions but we do consider the effect it has & the need to do so

Even when considering each send off incident on its own merit we do think about the match overall, in was this a isolated action or a targeted action? Was it a reasonable effort gone wrong through simple miscalculation or wilful indifference? Our concern of the overall match effect when proceeding with individual discipline is there because we recognize that sending off players is a big deal .

That 2nd tackle is misconduct (not a foul) BUT safety is not dismissed just because play was in the process of being stopped! That player already ON a caution is, in my opinion, LUCKY not to be cautioned a 2nd time and sent off.

Perhaps, (pure rampant speculation) the player on the caution had been showing great restraint since called to task earlier and had not been tackling indiscriminately for a long while . Maybe the 1st foul caution had enough empathy that this 2nd one could be ignored given it would result in a send off ?

Or the CR simply felt the 2nd tackle was a careless reckless pale yellow misconduct incident that he had given a pass on similar ones earlier or considered it occurred only because he thought to play advantage. The CR is likely aware that once a whistle goes players slack off, slow down relax a bit but cannot stop on a dime? He may have felt the offending player perhaps tried to pull out slightly at the last moment and the contact was insufficient to follow though with the double caution show a 2nd yellow then a red card and then go back and show a yellow card for the 1st foul with a DFK restart was simply too much interference for the match

If there WAS no whistle and that 2nd tackle had been allowed to occur, in match time, on the FOP as part of advantage considerations being applied to that 1st foul. THEN a DFK from that 2nd foul point with a double caution show a yellow card show a red card send off reducing the red team by a player would be more likely. The need to a caution & show a yellow card to the originator of the 1st foul could possibly be ignored!


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Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Jason
My colleague Referee Wright has provided the video.
A few thoughts here from myself on it.
Going back to the first foul and caution did not exonerate the defender for the second foul while playing advantage. In fact the second foul was somewhat more advantageous in terms of position so the referee could have within the laws cautioned both and restarted at the second foul location. The laws allow play to continue and then to take whatever disciplinary action is required for subsequent play and to back to previous misconduct. There are many examples of double cautions and red cards on players after advantage is played.

The player on the second foul clearly recognises that the foul was a possible card and he jumps up to plead for leniency. It was a reckless challenge and one that a player on a caution should not be making. As a coach I would be none too pleased about this challenge as it could have easily have resulted in a red card.

In the video there is communication between the AR and the CR about the first challenge and the referee can be seen to be turning away / ignoring the second challenge. On review I would say that the first challenge is less deserving of a caution than then second challenge.

Finally in the playoff games there may be *advice* to referee on sendings off. There is a comment made that the referee did not send off a player the previous week so perhaps what would be the decision in a regular game gets somewhat ignored in these end of season playoff games.
I recall in the last World Cup where it was clear that referees had been advised to reduce the number of cards issued as FIFA felt it was having the impact of limiting players participation in later stages of the competition.
What we do know is that games like these are managed very tightly with strong observation and management. This referee I suspect had some reason for doing what he did. It is for that reason I advise referees NOT to take examples from the Pro game into grassroots. At grass roots the second challenge is a caution and as a consequence it is a red card andthat is fully supported in Law.

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