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Question Number: 34283

Law 12 - Fouls and Misconduct 8/2/2021

RE: Old-time player, and ref for youth to adult rec an

Barry Stewart of Chilliwack, BC Canada asks...

Canada-USA women's semi-final in the Olympics. VAR awarded a PK for Canada, when Canada's Rose contacted Davidson, the U.S. defender from behind, then stretched through to poke the ball away.

I believe the ref was content to let play continue but VAR called her for a review. There WAS a left hand to the face of Rose, but not with force, and the way Rose was leaning she was going down anyway. Looks like Rose stuck her foot in front of Davidson's, as Davidson was winding up to kick the ball. This was part of what caused Rose to spill.

If it was my game, I'd have called a foul on Rose or let the defence have their goal kick.

Having said that... it was a bit of Karma coming around after the 2012 Olympic semis. I'm okay with that. :)

Your thoughts?

Incident is at about 1 minute. See "Match Highlights" part way down the page.

Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

Hi Barry,
there might be some who would agree with you but I ain't one of them. lol . From my opinionated view, the fast pace caught the American defender off guard. I saw it as a careless trip created by being a bit too nonchalant on the clearance. No real argument in that the ball was NOT contacted by the American she just swept the Canadian off her feet. The defender could have shielded more with her body rather than get sideways. As you say the 2011 fiasco still has a taint. That said Canada WILL have to play the best game of their life if they are to beat Sweden's juggernaut! 5 and zero. I had picked the Dutch And Sweden to clash in the final. I will root for Canada with all my heart & soul but this is their time to bring the A-game. Cheers

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Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Barry
In real time the officials did not see an offence yet on review there was an offence observed of kicking an opponent.

The hand action is not significant so the decision rested on the kick of the Canadian attacker by the US defender. In my opinion the attacker did nothing wrong as she was entitled to place herself to gain possession / control of the ball and she did not do that in an illegal way. The US defender made a careless kick at the ball which she missed and ended up kicking the attacker which brought her to ground. Hence the penalty award which in my opinion was entirely correct.

Now without VAR I believe many referees at grassroots would have gone with a goal kick as did the match officials on the day in real time. There was no appeal by the attacker and at first viewing I thought she slipped while stretching to play the ball. That though was not the cas.

One of the consequences of VAR is that it is unforgiving in matters such as this as it was shown that the US player kicked her opponent who did not commit any offence in trying to play the ball.

For what’s its worth I felt that the US have not played to their high standards in this tournament and lost the game not because of a penalty yet failing to control the game and score. The focus is on this one event yet the game is not about that only.

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