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Question Number: 34674

High School 8/23/2022

RE: club High School

John p Burns of loveland, CO United States asks...

Player A is in the box. Defender player B going for the ball body checks player A. Ref gives a PK.

Is this no foul, direct outside the box or the PK?

Play was in the last 3 minutes of finals tournament score 0-0 at the time. The PK was scored and player A's team won the tournament.

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi John
As Player A was inside the penalty area any foul on that player will result in a penalty kick. If Player B body checked Player A in a manner that the referee considered to be an infraction and it happened inside the penalty area then the only possible decision would be a penalty kick.
Without seeing the incident my gut feeling is that it was a penalty kick for what you describe as a body check. It can be difficult to accept if it is the last few minutes of a game yet the flip side of that is that an attacker in perhaps a goal situation cannot be body checked illegally without sanction on the defender. Had the ball been played cleanly and fairly then it would have been play on.
Contact on an opponent’s body first rather than the ball in a challenge always runs the high risk of an infraction being called. It asks a question of the referee where the answer may be disliked.

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Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

HI John,
Body checks implies hockey style hip checks and leveling hits with harsh consequences!

It is certainly possible to legally knock a opponent on his keister with a solid shoulder charge at speed or if an inside leg is raised upon impact for loss of balance and win ball possession with no foul . Charging fouls that go beyond the limits of a shouldering easing off the ball are often T like intersection actions with fast and stationary aspects as opposed to a v shaped gradual coming together at equal opportunity and momentum .

However, there is risk in any contact for the referee to see it as excessive, reckless or careless depending on the circumstances . If this type of physical contact occurs inside a Penalty area and ITOOTR is the fault of the defender then a PK is likely as charging is a DFK offence. There is even the possibility of it being a DOGSO red card send off or of a USB reckless yellow card caution. While we can see shoulders and hips align in a coming together often the hard edge of the incoming shoulder catches the backside or chest side of an opponent in a ramming motion. Also we would look to see a free arm push away or slingshot grab on the upper body as well as a leg bump or kick to click ankles or knees together.

When we speculate on an event unseen we must weigh in that a referee with integrity sees what he sees from their angle of view and makes a decision to stop or allow play based on their knowledge and experience to safeguard FAIRPLAY! Here the referee saw enough in his opinion to warrant a PK. We can only hope that it was not a soft call in a match that had similar contact go unpunished. The consistency issue is one we all struggle with but if a referee has integrity to be neutral, he or she must also have the courage to make a call they believe is correct! Granted one team will be happy the other sad but as long as referees' decisions are made with neutral integrity based on their understanding of the spirit and letter of the LOTG then we must abide by the decision whether or not we like it or agree with it. Competition has winners and losers, life choices and outcomes are filled with possibilities not certainties

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