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Question Number: 34609

Law 12 - Fouls and Misconduct 5/30/2022

RE: Rec Adult

Sal of Chicago , Il Usa asks...

Player on break away with no defenders in front and about to go in the 18. Last defender tries to commit DOGSO by tripping, the attacker stumbles but stays upright and gets a shot that goes wide. What’s the redstart.
A) play advantage and yellow card
B) award a direct kick and red card

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Sal
Thanks for the question.
Those type of situations are never easy and context can be a factor.

I once had one of those in a cup final and the defender made a pull type challenge on an attacker as they ran towards goal yet the attacker stayed up, kept going and got a shot off which was saved. I allowed the advantage which was in my opinion was realised. Now the referee observer on the day did not agree with my decision and he marked me down significantly for it. The lead AR agreed with me yet the observers view was direct free kick and a red card. I still think the best decision was advantage with no card and a judgment call as to whether play should have been called back.

As always with advantage that is a judgment call by the referee as to whether to allow it or not and then to consider if it is fully realised or not. Getting off a shot that was impacted significantly by a foul may not be fully realised. However at all levels of the game rarely do we see good chances that are taken brought back for the foul.

Now what I will say is that it may not be a good idea to play advantage and then go with a caution on its own if the advantage is realised. Many will question that if the defender was deserving of a caution then should there be a free kick. There will be situations where there is a decent amount of time between the offence and the shot in which case it might be a possibility. Or where the challenge was reckless and a caution is demanded in law.

I recall a situation where a goalkeeper fouled an opponent just inside the penalty area as the fouled attacker passed the ball to a team mate who ran on to the ball . He collected it took three to four paces and then shot left footed into the side netting. I went with a goal kick and there was not much complaint about the decision as it was a clear advantage which was squandered by poor play. I could have gone with red card and a penalty kick yet I felt the best decision was the advantage. I really could not see myself cautioning the goalkeeper as it was not reckless, it did not stop a promising attack and the advantage nullified the DOGSO in my opinion.

DOGSO handling that has not prevented a goal with advantage played then a caution would be required.

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Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

Hi Sal,
Advantage is not a guaranteed goal but often a way for an attack to press forward for a chance our thinking being, the stoppage /restart is less beneficial than allowing play to continue. However, at times it can be more of, lets wait and see, because we do not want to take a goal away if one -might- be there to be had.

I believe that in CERTAIN situations only an advantage resulting in a goal is truly fair.

I say it would benefit the defender if the attacker had scored as he would have stayed in the game with a caution, kick off versus a PK and red card opposing team playing short.

Can you say with certainty that a PK with a 75% + chance of success AND a send off reducing the team by a player for a large part of the game depending on when it occurs, is not of greater advantage than perhaps a goal itself?

A stumbling attacker forced to recover? Perhaps forced wide? Keeper changes angle?

I hold the PK send off route is the better choice than the goal kick if clear miss or corer after a save.

Now the further away or the less impact that foul has and only a CLEAR UNFORCED error caused the miss can we say, sorry you HAD the advantage and tossed it not LOST it!

I have a few incidents where the advantage was awarded, the goal missed yet I still sent the defender off for DOGSO .

The easy sell was the defender stuck out his arm and STOPPED a ball from crossing the goal line . In effect denying the goal, the ball deflected back to the opposition with a clear goal from 6 yards away and it was punted overtop the crossbar! What we refer too as an absolute sitter with 99.999% of a goal.

Now the red card for DOGSO was there but should we offer a PK for that foul since the easy chance to put the ball BACK into the goal was there? Here we debate if advantage was realized to the extent that it was not a chance that was denied but a GOAL was denied. Without the handling a GOAL would have occurred! So I held that only a goal was advantageous! and provided a PK as well.

One can, in my opinion successfully argue a foul like a shirt pull or handling is different than a trip or kick or charge in the sense of a legitimate challenge gone wrong to at least try and win the ball in a fair tackle as opposed to blatant USB or the professional foul to prevent a score or opportunity to do so. We already have only a caution for such a foul should the shot miss and we offer a PK as the remedy! Perhaps with not even a caution if a goal did score if we deemed such a foul as only careless.

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Answer provided by Referee Jason Wright

Hi Sal,

Advantage and a shot is an area which is often misunderstood by players and referees.

Getting a shot off does not necessarily mean that advantage has been realised. If the shot is unsuccessful, we need to look at why - and whether it links back to the foul.

For instance, if an attacker is taking a desperate shot while they're still off balance from the foul, then the foul is the explanation for the shot not scoring - we're not going to punish the attacker for doing the right thing and trying to play, so we go back to the foul.

If they've regained balance and control, then the shot probably means advantage is realised - because it's the attacker's fault they squandered it. Same as keeping possession and opportunity in a midfield attacking position, then making a wayward pass.

But, we can still look at what affected the shot. I've had an instance where an attacker was fouled, regained his feet, had full control and balance, then took a shot that was blocked by a defender. Sounds like it's advantage realised, right?

Except, prior to the foul, that defender was nowhere near the goal. That defender was actually sprinting across - and it was only because of the extra second or so it took the attacker to regain their feet that allowed the defender to reach a position to intercept. So, the attacker was still being disadvantaged by the foul, and I pulled it back.

Assuming the attacker in your question has simply messed up the opportunity, the correct decision would be to play advantage and issue a caution.

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