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Question Number: 34454

High School 12/20/2021

RE: High School

Mark of Eugene, Oregon USA asks...

Player A committed a reckless foul on Player B. Before I had the chance to whistle for the foul, Player B intentionally kicked Player A's legs in retaliation for the foul, to which I gave Player B a RC for VC. I gave him the RC immediately first because from my learning/viewing/experience, I have been told to get RC out ASAP for those offenses.

After a minute where we kept players apart and got Player B off the field, I then issued Player A the YC and gave the restart DFK to Player B's team for the initial foul, because even though I hadn't blown the whistle yet, that was the first foul, and therefore the VC would have been a "dead ball" foul so the restart would not change

Was this the correct procedure? I question the delay in giving Player A the YC.

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Mark
That all reads okay yet if possible the caution should be issued without delay. Circumstances can dictate a delay such as if the player is down injured or other events have taken over preventing the delay. Verbalising can help with a comment that the first offence is going to be dealt with. Something like "Red #9 is gone and don't worry I will deal with with Blue #5"

The violent conduct is the more serious offence and that players needs to be removed from the field of play immediately and to let players now that it has been dealt with and that any action against the player is also going to be sanctioned strongly.

As to the reason for the VC it can be either a once off moment of red mist or it can be brewing for a while with repeated offences against the player. Also players can be provoked subtly by opponents through mean spirited sledging which causes the player to finally react negatively on a heavy foul. I have seen players target opponents who have a *short fuse* or players who are already on a caution so that they react negatively resulting in a red card. It does not sit well with me that a player gets red carded when the opponent has targeted the player either through repeated foul play or by sledging and the final straw is a heavy foul that makes the player react. Many times it is a poor reaction to a foul which is a one off.
I recall a few season ago I opined that a player picked on an opponent at a free kick by getting involved in pushing and shoving. The opponent who was on a yellow was targeted by the player in a way that both might get a caution resulting in one dismissal. To me both were guilty of excessive force through rough grabbing, upper body wrestling and while no punches were thrown both to me stepped beyond the bound of acceptable behaviour. I red carded both of them

Final point in your scenario is that the restart was correct in that the first foul was committed by A even though the whistle had not sounded. The whistle is only the signal of the decision not the decision itself.

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Answer provided by Referee Jason Wright

Hi Mark,

Sounds like you handled it well. I agree with the decision and your process. Personally I'm in favour of getting the red out quickly'll depend a bit on the heat of the moment and normally you want to issue cards in order of offence, but sometimes you need to get the red out, then you can deal with the lesser offence.

No matter which card you give, appearing strong and giving good communication will help a lot - because the other team is guaranteed to be screaming for a card. Sometimes loudly stating "I will deal with him as well! Let me deal with him!" will instantly tell people that you're not finished yet.

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Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

Hi  Mark,  In cases where there is  clear, hard, reckless or  excessive misconduct, EVEN if advantage MIGHT apply, try to get to the spot as quick as you can  and let them know, YOU got this! No need to retaliate as suitable punishment is going to occur. 
Now, you can not always save a hothead from themselves. 
A verbal warning and an advantage signal might not be as definitive as a hard blasting whistle piercing the eardrums as you work hard to intervene quickly.  Having a commanding presence , decisive actions and verbal commands that leave no doubt as to what you are doing,  to who and why. 
Sometimes there will be instant retaliation like a vicious  elbow for a pull or a violent kick or shove to separate and catch you off guard before you can intervene. You  apply the LOTG in a neutral fashion, not weighing in on the reasons of the response,  just wondering WHY in blue blazes are they NOT letting you have a crack at it first instead of getting themselves thrown out for useless retaliation?   
 You are correct that the foul for the restart was instigated  by the cautioned player thus a DFK  and the response was additional  VC (misconduct) by the opponent.  I have no real  issues with your protocols, it is likely the red card  could be needed first  However,  will rarely sit well  for the aggrieved team where  the instigator  only gets cautioned  for a reckless possibly borderline excessive tackle while the responder actually is shown the red & sent off for an act that might not even be of a greater risk or threat.  Emotions are tough things to control but they are indeed controllable.
Telling the one that initiated the tackle,  that was a crap tackle,  you're in the book only to  deflect to the real damage  by the response! That was a terrible response,  because now you are sent off playing a man down after winning the free kick.
While we can be pragmatic and have some leeway in an opinion as to what constitutes VC or SFP.  An open handed push, not that it can not be violent, is not usually AS vicious as a slap or punchNor is  a raised leg tap as serious as a full leg swing with evil intent. .However, players live and die by their own actions & choices. As neutral officials we respond to what they do based on the LOTG and the spirit of fair play!    As my colleagues point out, COMMUNICATION and  reassurance, I got this guys! Let me deal with it as it happens. Give me  a chance to respond BEFORE you do.
Cheers and Merry Christmas

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Answer provided by Referee Joe Manjone


You handled the situation correctly since the retaliation occurred before the whistle was sounded. You correctly gave the red card for the violent conduct, and the caution for the reckless foul. The restart for the first foul was also correct.

Although, you did not mention when you did whistle the play dead, it would, of course, have been optimal to sound the whistle quickly, which might have prevented the retaliation. However, as in this case, the sounding of the whistle before a retaliation is not always possible.

Have a Great Christmas and a successful 2022 officiating year.

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