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Question Number: 34575

Law 12 - Fouls and Misconduct 4/25/2022

RE: Adult

Ryan of Phoenix, AZ USA asks...

This question is a follow up to question 34565

I wanted to report back that I just had to implement this this past weekend in an adult recreation match. A more skilled player had been fouled four times, the third time was a sloppy challenge from behind. He was clearly frustrated, I announced on the field that I am watching for fouls against this guy, please be mindful. A minute later, the same guy who did the third foul did a similar sloppy challenge from behind. Fouled player got up immediately started bumping chests with him. YC to both, fouler for PO, fouled for the UB-respect.

After game fouled player thanked me for showing concern for him getting fouled and apologized for the retaliation he did, so it all worked out.

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Ryan
Thanks for the feedback. Glad it worked out well.

As to the sanctions taken I would certainly agree with the caution for the offender. As to a caution for the fouled player in my opinion the action would have to be aggressive before I would card. Obviously I was not there to see how aggressive the chest bump was so it is a matter of judgement on the day. Okay the player should not have reacted yet this was a fourth foul on him.
I would also point out that a sloppy challenge from behind can be reckless in its own right and no need for the persistent infringement caution Too often as referees we deal with situations in a way that forgets about what caused it to happen.

One of the questions I pose to referees is that if say the fouled player was on a caution does the player deserve to be sent off for the action / reaction? That to me is always a good test of a caution rather than just reacting with a card. Indeed some players can have a short fuse and they can be targeted by opponents in a way that can get them sent off.
Too often we see players target a player who is on a caution to draw that player into a confrontation that can result in two cards with the offended against player getting sent off.
I recall an incident in a final where a defender picked an aggressive confrontation at a free kick with an opponent who was already on a caution. Now the conduct by both players used excessive force without actual punches. I sent off both players for violent conduct. I was acutely aware that the tactic by the aggressor was to draw two cautions and therefore a sending off for his opponent. While the player was careful not to go beyond what he felt was the violent conduct bar his conduct in my opinion used excessive force in his grabbing of the opponent including the neck area. The opponent's conduct was equally aggressive by responding to the aggressor so both were dismissed.

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Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

HI Ryan,
glad it was a situation that worked out.
As my colleague Ref McHugh suggested, just how serious was this physical chest bump?
It is plausable that a quicker intervention, a LOUD strong commanding whistle, a strongly directed verbal reprimand and your presence could perhaps quell or stop a chest bump of irritation from costing the attacker a caution for simply being resentful he was being targeted! You sprint right up to them saying! Hey I got this! I already warned you what could happen. Back off the both of you! That said you DID indicate you were watching out for ths attacker so it is a bit on him not to overreact. If you were thinkng about an immediate caution to the defender you could already have it out in the hand by your side as you move in! Again no quarantee the attacker does not retailiate but keep in mind he was just pummeled again in what was likely a painful challenge for the 4th time in a short time. Well done & good luck in the future.

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