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Question Number: 34663

Law 12 - Fouls and Misconduct 8/14/2022

Robert of Phoenix, AZ USA asks...

Tottenham - Chelsea today

4 questions from a Chelsea fan:

1. The Havertz tackle - thoughts? Taylor is on the other side of the challenge, looks like defender might have gotten a toe first before the contact.

2. Tott. first goal - PIOP for sure ... as the ball crosses the player it seems like he blocks GK vision and should have been ruled offside. Agree?

3. Hair pull on the corner. I can forgive Taylor not seeing it but how VAR stops to review and doesn't send down for VC is beyond me. What do you think?

4. Coaches - I would have given Tuchel a RC for the first confrontation (after the Tott goal). He chest bumps Conte. If I had only gone YC there, I would have given 2CT for the touchline sprint past the Tott. technical area.

Curious on the panel's thoughts.

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Robert
The referee Anthony Taylor certainly had his work cut out for him in that game.

On the Havertz tackle it looked like the Spurs defender got a toe poke on the ball. AT certainly motions that the ball was played. I have looked at it a few times and different angles show me different things. It looked like there was slight contact on the ball and the way the defender's leg was extended it was a genuine attempt to play the ball. To me on balance it was a foul from what I seen on video yet in real time I could see why it was not given. To get to the ball there is contact on Havertz which makes it a foul for me. Anyway even if it was a foul it was not enough reason to cost Chelsea a goal. They even got the ball back yet failed to clear their penalty area,
I also think that from looking at the way the game is being officiated in the PL that more contact is being allowed and these are in every game with some given and some not.

On the the offside is not clear enough for me. Mendy has clear line of sight to the ball at the moment of the shot, Richarlison is not close to him and the goalkeeper almost gets to the ball inside the post. So he sees the ball throughout the play. Throw in a Chelsea defender in front of the ball who is in front of Richarlison and its not offside for me ss I don't believe Richarlison prevented Mendy from playing or being able to play the ball by clearly obstructing the opponent’s line of vision. He is within inches of saving it.

On the hair pull incident clearly it could only be dealt with under VAR if it was seen as violent conduct or a goal was scored. Then it becomes a DFK and a card. If it is not VC then VAR does not have the power to deal with it as a caution or a foul on its own (unless a goal was scored). It will be interesting to see if anything further comes of it. The key question is pulling a player down by his arm or whatever part of the body violent conduct? The hair part makes it look particularly nasty and perhaps it was seen as USB rather than VC so if AT did not deal with it in real time VAR could not go back for the caution after review. We know that violent conduct is when a player uses excessive force or brutality against an opponent when not challenging for the ball. Was the hair pull excessive force? Or did the player partly lose his balance as part of the shenanigans. If the player grabbed him by the neck, shoulder and pulled him down in a similar manner would it be any different? Certainly a caution yet is it dismissal.? Rumblings are that if AT had gone to the monitor it would have been red so I suspect there is going to be questions asked as to why VAR did not ask for that to happen. FWIW my opinion was it should have been a red card and a DFK to Chelsea.

On the technical area bust up I think that under the letter of the law Tuchel could have got a 2nd caution for his antics after the 2nd goal. It is listed as a caution for deliberately entering the technical area of the opposing team (non-confrontational). Looking at it in real time Tuchel seems to be react to someone on the FOP perhaps the referee who may have warned him? I doubt many referees will red card for that. Rumblings that the officials saw it as a celebration rather than inflammatory. There was certainly no apparent goading of the Spurs staff by Tuchel either going down the line or coming back.
On the first contact there is not enough in there between the coaches other than cautions. Conte goes towards the Chelsea technical area and while there is contact between them there is not enough to warrant a red card for VC. The 4th official plus staff are there to separate them. In my opinion the 4 cautions were correct.
As to the incident at the end I think the RCs decision was more for the cameras than anything else plus it is something that does not need to be seen after a game at the highest level. I personally would not have red carded for this incident. The game was over and there was no VC involved just some cheap theatrics between two coaches. The incident was over immediately and I could not see any violent acts between anyone.

I think the only really gripe that Chelsea had was the hair pull incident. Both goals that were conceded were poor defending. On the first one the ball should have been cleared rather than being lost in the penalty area and on the 2nd one there were three Spurs players contesting for the ball in the goal area. Either the GK should have come and fisted it away or there should have been defenders goal side making aerial challenges on the Spurs attackers.

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Answer provided by Referee Jason Wright

Hi Robert,

1) This was a tough one. Getting the ball first doesn't necessarily mean no foul, but it can (and I'm pretty sure he got a touch on the ball first). The referee needs to judge incidental contact with the player afterwards, versus an actual careless tackle. For instance, sliding through the legs after the touch on the ball would be a foul - so would a large follow through that results in a tiny touch on the ball but a heavy touch on the player. This one? Looks like he took all reasonable steps to minimise contact on the player and force was minimal. I'm happy with this one, but it was a close call and could have gone either way. It's possible I haven't seen all the angles of it.

2) I've only seen one angle of this, but from that angle, it looks like the ball is always on the GK side of the striker and that he's never directly between the GK and the ball. However, I can see he steps back slightly - if he has to step out of the way of the ball then that would be offside. However, I also wonder if the defender closest to the AR might be keeping him on. The onlyfootage I've seen is at a strong angle so hard to tell

3) This is clear VC for me. Pulling somebody by the hair is much worse than pulling somebody by the jersey, arm, leg or any other body part. For one, there's the sudden jerking of the head. Two, it's a lot more painful than anything else. Three, I would argue this action is inherently violent, and is so far removed from any normal contest or foul that it must be met with a RC - I can't see any possible argument otherwise, so for me, VAR absolutely should have intervened. Of course, this also falls onto the referee. We all know that when you're focused on players further along in your field of view, you can miss something that's completely in front of you - this just highlights the important of situational awareness and of trying to avoid tunnel vision.

4)According to Law 12, It's a RC for an official if for:

"physical or aggressive behaviour (including spitting or biting) towards an opposing player, substitute, team official, match official, spectator or any other person (e.g. ball boy/girl, security or competition official etc.)"

While you wouldn't RC a player for chest-bumping another player, the laws place a higher standard of behaviour on team officials. Looks to me like this was a straightforward, and mandatory, red card - but for me, both managers stepped forward to each other so you'd be sending both off (and really, if you've had 2 managers come out of their TA to scream and chest bump each other, what possible reason do you have for wanting them to stay around?)

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