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Question Number: 34529

High School 3/12/2022

RE: HS Norcal CIF championship High School

Mark Krawiec of Rocklin, CA USA asks...

Here's the clip

first in full speed, then full speed zoomed in, and 1/2 speed.

You make the call and what's your reasoning?


Answer provided by Referee Joe Manjone


NFHS Rule 12-1-1 states that a player shall not jump at an opponent. The penalty is a direct free kick. Jumping at an Opponent could also be considered reckless play which in NFHS Rule 12-8-1f10 will result in a caution or violent conduct which in NFHS Rule 12-8-2 will result in the offending player being disqualified.

After viewing the video numerous times, I believe that both players were looking at the ball and did not see each other. I do not believe that Jumping at an Opponent occurred. Therefore neither player should be penalized.

However, viewing a video clip and refereeing on the field and knowing what has occurred previously in the game may result in a different decision.

I hope this helps and that your team won the championship.

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Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

Hi Mark,
I tried to make my analysis based on my 1st gut reaction before watching the slow motion. You do not GET a 2nd chance at that level to review anything. I did not see an AR but if there were other neutral officials who had input to contribute I likely would confer.

Free-kick to white appeared to me to be the immediate correct sellable on-field decision.

It did appear that white contacted the ball first, the impact for white was worse as he was unaware if the red player & was not traveling as fast as the red player. There will be an element of recklessnes that could effect a card for the red player.

For me, it was the visable forward force & body turn used by red that tilted me in favor of a white DFK. Plus, it was the easiest decision to sell given the reactions! Not really an excuse just a way of settling the match emotional context. We all are aware that a match decision in real time and the underlying currents or previous actions bear context on any decision

I did not feel there was a burning need to caution the red player just a word about context, however one could certainly make the case. Slow motion tends to exacerbate our thought level of culpability but in real time even if I would award white the free-kick, I likely point out it's a bad idea to back up without looking. If the red player had been stationary and simply leaped upwards not forwards white could have a greater degree of culpability.

It could be determined as an accidental coming together. 49/51 A neutral referee could make that call no matter how unpopular the white team might reguard it. In real time I do know the decision of the on field referee but he could be partialy blocked from viewing it given the angle he had with players in front.

My 1st gut reaction at warching only the first highspeed moment was one the referee seemed to accept, it was a collision of heads, safety first thus stoppage, and medical treatment. The decision of fault could be placed as 45/55 due to the white player backing up as much as the red player coming forward jumping up and into the back of that white player.

Both players were pretty focused on the ball trajectory itself but the red player moving forward should be more aware of the white player's proximity. The red player was at a higher rate of speed and lunges up & into, then turns knowing the impact is going to occur. The white player is also at fault for not watching where he was going in as much that he was undercutting the red player leaning back into the incoming freight train. Once I reviewed it in slow motion I raised the bar to 40/60 and the yellow card was more in my thinking.


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Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Mark
If I was the referee I would be giving a foul against Red for a reckless challenge. The reason for me is that while Red may be looking at the ball he has a clear view of the White opponent in front of him and he is going for the ball with limited regard for the likely contact on White. I also do not like the way the Red defender moves his body in the aerial challenge. It does not look to me like a player trying to head the ball only yet a player that knows what is going to happen so he prepares for that contact. It is certainly not an offence by White as he is just jumping for the ball with no knowledge of what is behind him. I also suspect, while it is not absolutely clear, that White may have played the ball first yet it looks like he did with Red just making heavy contact on White.
Put it another way. If this happened on the ground with White playing a through ball and Red makes contact into White from behind it would be a foul every single time and a card.

As to a card sanction I'm looking at a yellow card as Red in my opinion has been reckless. Red knows full well that White is there and moving towards the ball yet he goes full tilt from distance into the back of White. The manner of the jump by Red tells me that he knew what was going to happen. It is reckless play and to use the FIFA term the player has disregarded the danger to, or consequences for, the opponent. The whiplash effect can be seen in the video and this could have caused serious injury.

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Answer provided by Referee Jason Wright

Hi Mark,

This is a clear foul by red for me - and the level of force is sufficient to consider it reckless I actually think it's quite clearly a yellow card.

These sorts of scenarios are fairly common - front player backing in, and back player coming forwards.

Sometimes you do get scenarios where both players contribute to an incident - but while both players have contributed, it's clear that the majority of fault lies with the player at the back.

If Red was coming forwards with a similar level of force to white going back, then I'd say it's probably 50-50 (although players always expect a foul here) - but with the level of force from red, they've acted recklessly, defined as Any action (usually a tackle or challenge) by a player which disregards (ignores) the danger to, or consequences for, the opponent.

White moving backwards a little, red moving forwards a lot, so red is more culpable for the foul - and the level of force escalates it to a yellow. Having eyes only for the ball (if that's the case) doesn't mean a card can't be given. In fact, at the point of contact, white had almost completely stopped their rearward movement and red still came in quite hard.

While all players have a responsibility to know where the opponents are for a challenge, we typically place greater responsibility on the player from behind - and when they come in from behind with a large amount of force, they only have themselves to blame. There's also the fact that red came in late and completely missed the ball.

Personally I think this is a clear yellow card - at any grade. The level of danger here warrants stern action from the referee.

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