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Question Number: 34766

Law 12 - Fouls and Misconduct 11/19/2022

RE: Other

John J of NY, New York USA asks...

In the recent USA v GER Women's game at the very end, the opposing goal keeper leaves the penalty area to try and block a long ball. The US striker heads the ball, and after heading the ball, the goalkeeper jumps off her feet and crashes into the striker having never played the ball. See:

The referee awarded no foul. Was this the correct decision?

In my opinion it should be at least SPA, if not DOGSO. The only consideration potentially missing was lack of control of the ball, but the striker had space and time to regain possession.

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi John
Thanks for the question
I have looked at this a few times and there is a question mark for me on whether there was contact on the ball by the goalkeeper with her head after it was played by the attacker? The direction of the ball is somewhat *strange* after the attacker's header. Having said that the goalkeeper when she does not play the ball is guilty of jumping at an opponent or challenging in a careless manner which is a foul either way. Perhaps the referee was influenced by ball direction?
The referee due to the way play unfolded was in a poor straight on position looking through the players so the AR view of side on would be very helpful particularly if miked up.
Another key question here is, assuming the offence, did the referee play advantage as the ball fell kindly for the attacker's team mate who shot wide. Having said that the referee would have been well entitled to go back to the offence and award a direct free kick.

As there was an attempt on goal on the follow up, assuming advantage was played, there was no real denial of a goal scoring opportunity. If the referee plays the advantage for an offence for which a caution/sending-off would have been issued had play been stopped, this caution/sending-off must be issued when the ball is next out of play which in this case the shot that went wide. However, if the offence was denying the opposing team an obvious goal-scoring opportunity, the player is cautioned for unsporting behaviour. If the offence was interfering with or stopping a promising attack, the player is not cautioned.

So to me the DOGSO was not a consideration so there was no card for that and if advantage was played then there is also no caution for SPA

There are a few other factors here that should NOT have a bearing yet may be present
1. The game was a friendly
2. The incident happened in the 2nd minute of three minutes of added time.
3. There was a decent advantage situation in that better execution could have resulted in a goal
4. The goalkeeper shows concern for the opponent.
5. Without seeing the full game it may have been played in a good spirit.
6. I'm not sure if VAR was present which I somewhat doubt
7. Did the referee make what she saw as the easy decision of advantage and no card given that the game was effectively over.

The learning point here for referees is poor angle of view. The referee runs to her right which places her with a straight on view of the challenge and no real angle of view. She needed to head left of the play which would have in a short distance given here a *better* view of the contact.

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Answer provided by Referee Jason Wright

Hi John,

I'm with you on this - looks like a clear foul to me. I think the keeper might have actually tried to avoid contact - but, the fact is, she failed and jumped straight into the opponent. For me, even if she got a glancing header on the ball, that wouldn't be enough to make it a 'no foul'.

My only guess is that either the referee thought the attacker changed direction and ran into the keeper after they had already committed their jump (which I don't agree with, but I'm wondering if that was the thinking live - though then there's the question of VAR, for reasons I'll get to in a moment).

For me, if this foul is given, it's DOGSO. Attacker headed the ball to herself - had she not been fouled, she'd have a good chance of controlling the ball again, she's heading in the general direction of goal, and while she's under pressure, it's only 1 other defender - and usually there needs to be 2 to consider it non-DOGSO (usually 1 is the keeper). Also, that defender is behind her.

Now, I also think there's a good case for advantage here. The astute referee will see this other attacker coming in to retrieve the loose ball and hold the whistle for a moment. If, for instance, they get a shot but it's blocked by one of the defenders, there's a good argument there was no advantage, so back to the FK. As it is, the shot was unobstructed, but she did have to make a 1-touch under pressure. Is that enough to consider it advantage? Remember, a shot doesn't necessarily mean advantage, especially if it's a difficult one. At a lower grade, I'd pull that back - you can hold the whistle to see if they pull off a miracle shot, but you can't reasonably expect most players to 1-touch while stretchin under pressure, coming from the side, at this distance.

Was this considered no-foul? Or was advantage applied, with the signal inexplicably not used? For me, I will never shout the advantage when a player is about to shoot - but I'll still signal, and afterwards I might say 'I saw the foul, you had the advantage, goal kick'.

So, DOGSO with advantage is still a yellow for SPA. Even without that, I think this would warrant a YC for being reckless. So, it looks to me like the referee thought there was no foul.

Finally, I echo Ref McHugh's sentiments on the positioning.

It baffles me how often we see top-tier referees adopt a completely central position, and if you start to look at where they're standing when errors are made, so often they're central (especially on the edge of the Penalty Arc) when moving to the side is usually better.

I believe this was rather poor positioning - if you're chasing a counter like this, never, ever, ever trail directly behind the players. ALWAYS angle off to the side. Sure, it puts you further away, but in almost every case it gives you a better angle - and angle is far more important than distance.

Usually you should angle off to the left, to keep the ball between you and your AR - but occasionally you might only be able to go right. I'd still choose that - even with the overlapping view with the AR - over running straight behind.

What I find especially baffling is that as play moved slightly to the right, the referee also tracked right - though I wonder if she was concerned that the other player on the left could potentially block her view. A valid consideration.

I also think she was reactive, not proactive. She didn't start running until well after the kick from midfield was put through. I had no issues with her not moving until this player was receiving it - but I think sh should have had the awareness to see the quick breakthrough attack was about to be attempted and to start moving. By not running that extra .5-1sec early, she was caught behind and in a poor position.

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Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

Hi John,
there is little to add, the poor positioning by the CR at that crucial moment of impact needed input from the AR to help the CR define the outcome as her angle of view certainly looked compromised. My colleagues have done a bang-up job explaining possibilities and indicating what the (thinking) might have been friendly, extra time, an advantage of a sort. Perhaps the CR was thinking to coast the last little bit as time was almost over, always a dangerous idea in any competitive game. I agree though it was a foul and as such a free kick could have been awarded for DOGSO resulting in a red card send off down a player event! . The potential advantage was at best an outside chance but certainly a delayed whistle to await an outcome was the best option. If one did see it as reasonable shot on the goal thus no DOGSO at minimum a caution , I do think a card could be in order just for the reckless nature of the foul but again in the spirit of friendly competition to what effect?

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