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Question Number: 34265

Law 12 - Fouls and Misconduct 7/11/2021

RE: High School

Jeremy of houston, tx usa asks...

An attacker with ball running up their attacking third sideline, puts a touch a bit (maybe 5 yards) in front of themselves. Defender lunges in late after the touch and doesn't make contact, but the attacking player has to jump over the lunging defender's extended leg, throwing himself off balance and clearly affecting their attack.

Would this still be able to give a foul, and along with a foul, a caution for SPA? And if you can still call a foul, would it be an indirect free kick for "impeding" since no contact was made, or would this fall under the "attempts to trip" direct free kick stipulation?

Answer provided by Referee Joe Manjone


This could be a foul. As indicated in NFHS rule 12.1.2, a player shall not trip or attempt to trip an opponent. This includes tripping to attempting to trip an opponent with the use of the legs.

If the attempted trip did affect the attack and the attacking player was not able to gain control of the ball and continue the attack, it is a foul and should thus be penalized with a direct kick from the spot of the attempted trip.

However, if the attacker was able to gain control of the ball and move forward, the play-on signal should be given.

I would not consider this to be a caution offense unless the player committing the attempted trip also: displayed reckless play, was guilty of persistent infringement, or the attempted trip denied an obvious goal scoring opportunity.

I hope you have a very successful 2021-22 high school season.

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Answer provided by Referee Jason Wright

Hi Jeremy,

While an IFK such as PIADM becomes a DFK with contact, that doesn't mean that contact is required for a DFK.

This would normally fall under 'attempts to trip', thus a DFK. The only way I'd still consider it an IFK for PIADM would be if, for instance, the leg itself wasn't in the way but he came in with raised studs near the opponent and the opponent reacted to that. If we're talking about a typical case of an attacker having to jump over a leg in front, that's an attempt to trip.

As to whether it's worth being called - it depends on a few things, including the severity of the foul and the impact. A key element is, as you say, whether it affected the attack. If the ball was clearly being intercepted anyway, that's one thing - but if you think that, say, they lost possession because of the time it took to avoid the lunge, then that's a foul.

Even if it doesn't affect the outcome, if it's a particularly blatant or hard attempt then it'd be one of those things that needs to be called anyway - and you'll know if that happens.

As to whether it'll be a card - certainly possible, and it'll have all the same considerations. Severity for one, and the attacking situation.

But I wil ask - in what way did it affect their attack? If they were tackled/intercepted when perhaps they otherwise wouldn't have been, then I'd say that means there's another defender there and SPA becomes questionable. Of course, you'll take into consideration what the situation would have been without the foul - sometimes that extra few moments to avoid the leg means a defender who had no chance of intercepting is now able to intercept.

Maybe there could be scenarios where SPA would still apply, but I'm honestly having a hard time picturing one.

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Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Two options here for the referee.
He can call an obstruction offence or impeding as it is in FIFA which is has an IDFK restart. In those situations there is no contact and it is a very rare offence in FIFA games
The other option is to call the direct free kick offence of tripping or attempting to trip. That is the more likely call.

It really only makes a difference in the penalty area situation as many times the free kick will result in it being played again so the IDFK can be mute.

As to any card sanction it is a matter for the referee to decide if the attempt was reckless or if the attempt stopped a promising attack. It is entirely a judgement call based on the circumstances. Stumbling and continuing with an attack would probably require a strong word whereas falling to ground in a promising position would be a card as would be a lunge that had contact been made could be dangerous to the player

I like to refer to this video
The challenge was reckless so the referee issued a caution and it was a direct free kick restart.

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Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

Hi Jeremy,

highschool pretty sticky on the safety issues when it comes to kids playing sports for fun. A slide tackle is generally a last-ditch move by a beaten defender and while it is true a well-timed one can make you look like a hero almost always a poor or bad one has you looking like a criminal or a thug if not in the severity of the contact then in the unsporting manner in which it is performed to stop the attack.

The advantage could be considered if the outcome turned favorable. Yet should this illegal act create a loss of ball possession surely some sort of compensation for the team losing ball possession seems only fair?

Be it an INDFK for PIADM or a DFK for an attempt to trip generally no contact will only result in a free-kick but as my colleague's Ref, McHugh's video inclusion is excellent in its demonstration of excitable players doing STUPID stuff while in highly agitated or emotional states without any concern for what COULD occur to the opponent.

Cards are the picture. A caution show yellow for its reckless nature and unsporting attempt to break up the attack

SFP seems unlikely unless it was a physically directed attack where it was an attempted strike, kick or jump! Like an "I'll get you!" type of thing that misses! That is VC more than a challenge to win the ball.

DOGSO if the criteria were met but given the location & circumstances seems unlikely as well


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