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Soccer Rules Changes 1580-2000

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Question Number: 34747

Law 12 - Fouls and Misconduct 10/25/2022

RE: Select Under 15

Brett Poirier of Long Beach, CA USA asks...

I’ve read every answer I could find regarding U12 & U14).

First is the scenario of an attacker dribbling at pace in a straight line towards the top of the opponents’ penalty area while a defending midfielder running after is able to draw even with the attacker. The defender shoulder to regain their balance) while the ball rolls further away from the attacker and is ultimately played by an awaiting defender. As I understand it, charging does not need to be a simultaneous play at the ball but can be the first step in trying to gain possession. In this case the charging defender was within playing distance of the ball, but their intent was presumably to facilitate a teammate gaining possession of the ball rather than gaining possession of the ball themselves. Is this considered a fair charge or must there be clear intent by the defender to personally win the ball for the charge to be fair?

Assuming the first scenario is a fair so long as not to the middle back or spine area) is fair if the attacker is shielding the ball. The more obvious scenario for shielding is a more stationary ball control scenario as opposed to quickly dribbling in a straight line. It is unclear to me whether the attacker dribbling the ball counts as shielding in this case. So my question is: are staccato shoulder charges from the 8- or 7-o’clock angle fair when running alongside a dribbling attacker?

Thank you!

Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

HI Brett,
as long as the ball is within reasonable playing distance you can step into the side of the opponent with reasonable impunity if the charge is fair. If you upset or knock them off balance making it easier for a team mate to get to that ball instead of you, that is not illegal unless you perform the action as a recognizable foul. Perhaps an excessive or reckless takeout ramming speed charge or into the back or chest. Depending on how it was done, it is even plausible for two players to catch an opponent in a squeeze from either side, allowing a third party to collect the ball.

Impeding with contact would be if the ball is not playable, creating the additional time necessary for a teammate to get to it whilst blocking the opponent from doing it as well. Basically, a form of holding. Possibly if you were stepping into a player going by in the opposite direction with the intent to block his run to the ball but you are not in any position to do so yourself is also likely to be seen as a foul . Like a block in pointy ball football.
The referee should be looking at the causality of ball position ,angles of player intersection, the speed and distance, the use of the arms or legs, as well as the contact points of the body.

If a player is shielding the ball by virtue of a better position in shepparding a ball into touch or allowing their keeper to cover the ball maybe get their hands to it in the PA similar in theory to the situation you are describing. It will be the distance from the ball and in the mechanics of how it is done whether a referee could find fault. Arms spread out like a chicken wing & backing up into the opponent are no no s for me. The opponent is likely to try to sling shot around using their arms across the chest or shoulder to pull back when going around which is a no no on their part.

If the ball is headed into an area on the pitch where more than just the 2 pursuing players can get to it and a teammate step into the running path of the opponent only by altering their own, it could well be seen like a basketball pick and that could be a foul. Keep in mind a player making a turn or is out in front is NOT required to get out of the way of a faster players' lane. You cannot just run over slower players. Just like racing car drivers pull out to stop passing vehicle, players are aware if the faster paced players are capable of zooming by, will make those wide turn and slow down hoping to be run into. A referee and their ARs should watch carefully when players get in tight as today's game is a lot of clutch, push & grab and it can be almighty difficult to say who did what to who first!

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Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Brett
Thanks for the question

As long as the ball is within playing distance of both players then a shoulder to shoulder charge is considered legal. If a 2nd player enters the mix then there is nothing wrong with that player benefitting from an opponent being unsettled by a fair charge.

As to multiple contacts I'm somewhat struggling to see that as legal charges yet may be more akin to pushing. The key there is whether the arm is coming away from the body and if so it is a push rather than a charge.

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