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Question Number: 34719

Law 12 - Fouls and Misconduct 10/1/2022

G. Barry Stewart of Chilliwack, BC Canada asks...

In the Vancouver Whitecaps match vs. Austin FC on Oct. 1, Ryan Gauld poked the ball into the PA and was chasing it down when a defender cut off Gauld's path, to give his keeper a safe pick-up of the ball.

I contend that the defender had no interest in the ball and went for obstruction with contact... a holding foul.

A PK would have been a fair outcome, say the fans and I.

I'll thank you for your thoughts.

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Barty
Thanks for the video
That file format you are using requires a CODEC which for some must be purchased from Microsoft. There is free version through VLC player which supports the format.

Anyway not a hope that this is an offence. The attacker has overhit the ball and the defender has placed himself in the path of the ball after it has passed him The attacker runs into the side of the defender so no possibility of an offence for me.

As to the defender's interest in the ball he is well entitled in my opinion to place himself in a shielding position and at the moment of contact the ball is probably within two paces. The chances of the attacker getting to the ball before the goalkeeper is slim.
Also note the reaction of the attackers team mates. Not a hint of a penalty claim and even the player knows that this was not a foul just a coming together.

In every game we see defenders shield the ball over the goal line and nothing is ever given. This is no different and while fans will look for every single appeal possible this is never going to be called as a penalty kick.
For me your reaction is one of a Vancouver fan rather than an impartial observer.
I'm glad you were not in the VAR booth! LOL

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Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

Hi Barry ,
you could be right, the defender may have had no direct interest in the ball, his only interest was to prevent the opponent from getting to it so his keeper could gather it in. Shielding a ball without touching it is something permitted and usually at about 2 steps at the current speed of play is considered within playing distance. This was textbook defending. I can understand if it is a pick, where a step out into the path of a player as impeding/ holding with contact is something to be aware of or a backwards motion of spread-eagled arms mimic the movements of an opponent trying to go around. In this case I concur 100% with my colleague Ref McHugh the ball was hit with too much pace, caused separation, defender interjected into the space provided keeper had easy pick up. Never even close to being a foul!

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