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Question Number: 34147

Law 12 - Fouls and Misconduct 3/7/2021

RE: Adult

Engin Ataman of OLYMPIA, WA United States asks...

Hello, at 1 minute 40 seconds into the video there is a contact that got no action from referees. Do you think it was the right decision here?
Thank you for your time as always. here is another link to the video but it might get removed :)

Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

Hi Engin,
did you note the high foot moments before that warranted a yellow card? The player trying to head the ball was in danger because the opponent played a ball with their feet in such a way that was NOT reasonable or responsible it was, in fact, reckless and dangerous.

If we examine the incident you are asking about a few moments later in the clip , note the defender in clearing the ball got to it first and kicked the ball at a realistic height in what we would be comfortable with as a reasonable action to play the ball in a safe uncontentious manner.

The nearby opponent tried to run into the ball and push it past, the defender using his body mass area in hopes of blocking the ball. He arrived late and given the clearance required a leg swing by the defender it was more likely the officials felt the contact was initiated by the late challenge rather than a deliberate follow-through by the defender seeking to impact the opponent. Now in slow motion, we do see a bit of a push-off with the foot clearly in the backside of the opponent. Yet it was not vicious more of a push away to stop the impact. It was a pretty physical game I was impressed with the referee!

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Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Engin
Thanks for the question.
On the incident you mention it was in my opinion a challenge in a careless manner and probably with the benefit of slow motion and action replay it was reckless and it could have been a caution.
If we look at how the incident unfolded and the action taken we need to look at the position of the referee and what did he see from his unique angle of view.
The referee is some 20 yards away looking at it fairly straight on with one Galatasaray player between him and the ball. Did the referee feel that as the ball was kicked by the Sivasspor defender that it was a coming together caused by the movement of the Galatasaray attacker into the path of the kicker?

In general VAR has helped the game yet we have to ensure that it is not refereed by a referee at a monitor. It is to be used to deal with clear obvious errors of unseen incidents such as the handling that resulted in a penalty. Without VAR that handling is not going to get called in the manner that it happened in real time. The tackle incident and follow through would have been reviewed by VAR and that official thought it did not warrant action by the referee. Had he done so it would have been conveyed to the referee for a review . In addition match officials have been advised to be careful about the use of slow motion in VAR. The VAR protocols advises that slow motion replays should only be used for ‘point of contact’ for physical offences and handball and that normal speed should be used for the ‘intensity’ of an offence.
In the game there six cautions and one red card. There were 4 cautions to Galatasaray and two cautions and a dismissal to Sivasspor.

I am unsure what the first caution for Sivasspor#7 Gradel was for. Maybe dissent as he probably felt that the actions of #14 Galatasaray was reckless making contact with the side of his head? It certainly brought the Galatasaray goalkeeper out of his goal area to speak with the referee. Did the GK think that action was going to be taken against his team mate #14 for the manner of the challenge? It is also a questionable no call in my opinion.
As to the sending off caution I felt it was harsh as it is in the 97th minute of a game and it seemed like a challenge that the Galatasaray player #18 was not too bothered about. In fact he goes speeding away looking for a return pass.

The TV channel shows us a challenge by Galatasaray #7 in around the 40 sec mark which was not cautioned. If the second caution for #7 Sivasspor was justified then that should have been a caution as well earlier in the game. For me in the 97th minute it was a harsh red card as it is not reckless by this referees previous opinion and it is not stopping a promising attack. Perhaps it was for persistent infringement yet in the 97th minute of a game what effect does a PI caution have? I suspect the TV channel may have been making that point by showing that particular foul early in the game as no doubt there were many other fouls that were not shown.

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Answer provided by Referee Jason Wright

Hi Engin,
Football is such a subjective sport that I think if you put this incident in a room full of referees, you'd get a fair mix of opinions.

We need to consider what is proportionate and reasonable for a player to do. A ball bouncing at around waist height, with no opponent really in range to challenge the ball - it seems reasonable to kick the ball. Would you say he has acted without due care to the opponent?

I'm not entirely convinced that he did. It looks to me like the opponent has actually come in late.
Imagine a slighly different version of this incident - one which you see quite often defender comes in with the exact same timing, but a foot to his right. Misses the studs but smacks into the leg of the opponent after he's kicked the ball. That would be a foul by the defender and probably a card - and nobody would be talking about it.

The defender came in late - personally, I think being struck by the studs was his fault, not the attackers - I don't think the attacker did anything dangerous or over-the-top.

The only question mark I see here is that apparent last little push. What I can't decide is if that's real, or if it was part o the natural motion of kicking, being off balance and colliding with an opponent. Slow motion can sometimes make things look worse than they are - I can't decide if there was a little push with the foot, or if it's a distortion by slow motion. If it was a push, I think that would change things - it makes it a kick by that player, and given it's on the torso and the manner of kick, I'd then want to see a card.

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