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Question Number: 34675

Mechanics 8/24/2022

RE: Adult

Bob of Harrogate, England asks...

Did the Referee miss something?

At Old Trafford on Monday, 22 August, when Rashford scored, his celebration included picking up the corner flag at the stretford end, the ref. waited for VAR but after confirmation he did not give a yellow card for the celebration.
Surely either VAR decision should result in a caution

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Bob
Thanks for the question
The delay in the VAR situation was to check whether Rashford was onside or not before scoring the goal. That process takes time and then as the player was onside the referee confirmed the goal.

Separately the goal celebration by Rashford is a matter for the referee to decide on. Removing a corner flag is not in itself a caution.
Players can celebrate when a goal is scored, but the celebration must not be excessive and choreographed celebrations are not encouraged and must not cause excessive time-wasting.

A player must be cautioned, even if the goal is disallowed, for:

# climbing onto a perimeter fence and/or approaching the spectators in a manner which causes safety and/or security issues
# acting in a provocative, derisory or inflammatory way
# covering the head or face with a mask or other similar item
# removing the shirt or covering the head with the shirt

As Rashford did not do any of the above and play was held up anyway because of the VAR offside review there was no excessive time wasting so no caution was required.

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Answer provided by Referee Jason Wright

Hi Bob,

As my colleagues mentioned, VAR is unable to comment on the goal celebration.

Removing the corner flag is not on the list of mandatory cautions, so it comes down to the referee's discretion. I could see an argument for a caution, but at grassroots, a warning is probably enough.

In saying that, it may also depend on the impact - if he puts the flag back in without an issue, I'm happy with a warning. If he pulls the flag up then runs off, I'll be carding for that - same if the flag is broken as part of this. But, this is all up to the referee on the day.

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