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Soccer Rules Changes 1580-2000

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Question Number: 34127

Law 12 - Fouls and Misconduct 2/19/2021

RE: Rec and High School Other

DEVERY A HARPER of Naples, FL United States asks...

Serious Foul Play

I was watching this video today and it made me think. I am wondering what your interpretation is of a situation found in this video:

:52 into video
A defender goes into a tackle. Studs up. No contact is made. The foul is called and a yellow is issued. The pundit thinks it should have been a red because it endangered the safety of his opponent.

I ask because at the beginning of the year I had a situation similar to this and it has been bugging me ever since. A defender just outside the penalty area did a two footed tackle on the attacker. The attacker jumped and avoided the contact and because of this the defender also kicked the ball away. If the attacker didn't jump he would have been in a world of hurt I'm sure. Being rusty I didn't do a thing. I guess my brain calculated the defender got the ball so I moved on. It wasn't till after I questioned everything. I came to the conclusion that I should have called Dangerous Play. But after watching this video I wonder if it could have, should have been more? It was not only dangerous, it endangered his opponent. I was hung up on the no contact part.

So then, Serious Foul Play...
"A tackle or challenge that endangers the safety of an opponent or uses excessive force or brutality must be sanctioned as serious foul play.
Any player who lunges at an opponent in challenging for the ball from the front, from the side or from behind using one or both legs, with excessive force or endangers the safety of an opponent is guilty of serious foul play."

Could a tackle that endangers the safety of an opponent, even if it is lacking the contact (excessive force of brutality) be red card worthy? I never really noticed the "or" in this part of the law. I always focused on the excessive force part, not the endangering the safety of an opponent. Any insights to this?

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Devery
Thanks for the question.
A referee could have sent the player off for the challenge yet it would be viewed as a very harsh red card when no contact had been made in a challenge.
In the Laws there is a phrase which states that “what would football want/expect?"" Without contact it would be deemed reckless in that a player has acted with disregard to the danger to, or consequences for, an opponent and must be cautioned.
A red card would not be expected when there is no contact in a challenge. Later on in the video there is a challenge @ 2.12 by Blue 16 on Green 22. The contact is the Blue landing on the player after the challenge which certainly makes it red. The real danger had passed on the first part of the challenge yet contact makes it a red.
Here is another video that I show in these instances
Had there been contact it would have been a red card. The referee correctly in my opinions goes with a caution and a direct free kick restart.
In your situation based on your description I would opine that it was an offence and that the defender should have been cautioned and a direct free kick awarded. The player in the manner of the challenge was reckless while tackling / challenging an opponent. He will say "But I got the ball" to which I always say "What has it to do with the ball. Had you made contact you were looking at a more serious offence. I dont want to see that type of challenge again."

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Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

Hi Devery,
You are asking a legitimate question that we often wrestle with as referees. On a STRICT interpretation, it would not be against the LOTG to show a red card for a tackle that ITOOTR COULD have resulted in an injury but it would still have to be evaluated as excessive or dangerous to the degree it pushes the reckless yellow-orange into the clear red.

In watching the tackle it had only a single leg extended going into the challenge, which certainly was late but also easily avoided by the jumping attacker. The 2nd leg really came in only after the player was well away so, in my opinion, the yellow card WAS sufficient in THIS case! We also consider the tackle in an overall review WAS this a one-off in a decent game? The ONLY bad yellow-orangey tackle in the context of the game or this player?

Let me add to what my colleague inferred on a DFK incident without contact usually gets a pass as yellow! ! That ACTION must be SO blatant that it simply could not be looked at as anything less than violent conduct to be classified as red. Like for example, a punch swung at the head and he ducks or a jump or kick that is not really a challenge for the ball but an attempt to injure yet avoided by the attacker

Your PIADM for that missed contact with the player who moved to get out and lost the ball possession which is an INDFK restart can be promoted to DFK status if you recall that attempting to trip or attempting to kick is a DFK restart.

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