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Question Number: 34309

Law 12 - Fouls and Misconduct 8/19/2021

RE: Sunday league Adult

Sam smith of London, England asks...

First question:

If you go for a slide tackle and realise you’re late and pull your legs in (mid slide) so you don’t touch the player, is it a foul?

Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

Hi Sam,
No contact bodes well for a *be careful* warming but the referee will be looking at WAS your opponent affected? Did he have to jump or move around to avoid you? It could be seen as a careless act of attempt to Trip. That said, nothing is looked at in a vacuum! Mitigating circumstances are a factor in any decision to some extent. A referee realizing you are about to cause a kerfuffle and you act to stop it or mitigate the collision by attempting to pull out or away SHOULD count for something if we are talking caution, versus no caution required for the misconduct. As in most fouls hard to think about the possibilities without actually seeing the incident.

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Answer provided by Referee Peter Grove

Hi Sam,
The is one of the many, many cases where it's extremely difficult (if not impossible) to give a definitive answer without having seen it take place. It would depend entirely on the circumstances of the individual incident. According to the laws of the game, just attempting to kick or trip an opponent can result in a free kick and so contact is not required for an offence to be given. A referee seeing such an incident would have to make a decision for themselves based on what they judge to have taken place.

Law 12 says that the various categories of offence that it lists need to be at a minimum, careless in order to be an offence.

The law further defines careless as:

"when a player shows a lack of attention or consideration when making a challenge or acts without precaution."

If a referee decides that a player's actions meet that definition then then foul could be given, even without contact.

A slide tackle (again even without contact) could also be seen as reckless and there have been players cautioned for an attempted slide tackle that involved no physical contact.

So to sum up, it might be seen as an offence requiring a free kick or even a caution - or, as my colleague ref Dawson says, a referee might decide that a warning was sufficient, if they judge that the actions of the player did not actually rise to the level of an offence.

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Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Sam
Thanks for the question.
There is no clear answer to this. It could be play on, it could be a free kick and it could also be a caution.

For example say a player launches himself in the air from a distance at the ball, and mid tackle adjust by pulling the legs in to avoid contact the referee will probably view this as reckless which is a foul and a caution. Contact may well be a red card.

In a another situation say on a slippy pitch and the player starts a slide from distance and he realises that he is not getting the ball so he makes every attempt to avoid the opponent which he does with no impact on play then the referee may let that pass with perhaps a word to be careful at the next opportunity.

Also context will be a factor. If say the referee has spoken to a player about the manner of his previous challenges the referee may take exception to another potentially dangerous tackle.
Also where a game has become feisty with tempers raised a referee may adopt zero tolerance on questionable challenges and start calling anything that remotely looks like a foul.

I hope that helps.

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