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Question Number: 34793

Law 12 - Fouls and Misconduct 12/5/2022

RE: World Cup - Brazil Vs Korea High School

Peter of Stockton, CA USA asks...

Firstly, thanks for all that you do. It is really great to have a way of confirming one's thoughts.

Richarlson's foul / penalty, was that really a foul?

To me, Richarlson came from behind the defender and so the defender was not aware of his presence. The defender kicked at the ball and had no intention of kicking at the player.

I feel that giving this as a foul is not fair to defenders.

Answer provided by Referee Jason Wright

Hi Peter,

This was the wrong decision for me.

A kicking foul needs to be careless at minimum - when a player is showing a lack of attention or consideration when making a challenge or acts without precaution.

Can we really say the defender has done this?

They've already started their swing when the opponent's foot suddenly appeared in the way. The attacker came from behind so the defender wouldn't have seen it and had no expectation for a foot to suddenly appear. I don't think we can fault the defender's awareness here.
They're looking up at the goal as they take a shot so had no chance to see it, and not chance to react.

It's different to a normal front-on tackle where the opponent gets the ball first, as then the situational awareness and timing is the player's fault.

One thing to be aware of as a referee is that if the attacker stuck their leg in between the opponent's swing and the ball, this would actually be a foul by the attacker (again, coming in from behind it significantly reduces the opponent's responsibility to react here). Attacker won the ball so no foul there, but I don't believe the defender is at fault either.

No foul at all.

I suspect VAR didn't intervene because they normally don't when a PK is awaraded and there is contact. It's a subjective decision then.

Remember - VAR not overturning a decision isn't VAR agreeing with the decision. VAR might even think it was the wrong decision - but not Clear and Obvious.

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Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

HI Peter,
thanks my good man, we all enjoy sharing the beautiful game with those looking to expand their outlook
it is interesting to speculate as to who kicked who here and to think fault, cast blame and consider if it was careless or an instinctive clearance that could not be stopped? ? But the facts are, the attacker clearly kicked the ball, the defender apparently kicked the attacker's foot after. The fact Richarlson slid past in PURSUIT of that ball without initiating any physical contact with the defender is likely why the CR awarded the free kick for that incident. A bit different then if he pushed by, cut across or under or through into the leg of the defender but he nicked the ball by and was in hot pursuit. INTENT is not considered in penal fouls? It did occur or it did not! VAR would intervene if they saw zero contact but as my esteemed colleague Ref Wright points out a decision of yes or no to the amount, effect and force of contact rests only within the CRs authority. I think we can agree it is a tepid foul at best but let us not forget ANY defender should be very aware that attackers are always close at hand in pursuit and defenders need to communicate to one another whilst they play the ball. . MAN ON!
Cheers & Merry Christmas!

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Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Peter
This penalty was awarded in real time by Referee Turpin. It would have looked like a heavy kick to Ricarlson's boot as he played the ball and he went down as if his leg was broke after the Korea defender made contact on the boot.

You may or may not have seen the penalty award in the Arsenal v Liverpool game back in October when exactly the same situation occurred with Gabriel Jesus of Arsenal got his foot to the ball a split second before the Liverpool defender Thiago. Jesus went down in a similar manner and Referee Oliver awarded the penalty.

Now that decision caused great debate in the UK as Jurgen Klopp of Liverpool accused Jesus of a *made up* foul suggesting that there was insufficient contact for the player to be brought down to ground. Many referees agreed with that yet in real time with exaggeration by the attacker it would have looked more like serious contact.
As there was contact VAR is unlikely to get involved as they would have seen contact by the defenders on the forwards. The level of contact is a matter for the referee to decide based on his feel for the challenge close to the action.

FIFA used to use a German phrase called "Fingerspitzengefühl" in old Law books to describe how certain situations should be dealt with by referees. The literal translation of this expression – often used to connote someone who deftly handles all manner of tricky social situations, accurately assesses various signs of the times, or cleverly strategizes solutions in a range of contexts – is “finger tip feeling.”
I think the non award of the penalty award in the Uruguay game was a perfect example where the referee felt that Cavani had tried to engineer a penalty by pulling up slightly and the defender then crashing into him. Given the time, circumstances etc I would say the referee was on high alert of a possible penalty situation. He opined it was not a penalty and the jury can debate that for a long time. I'm sure all in Uruguay will say it was a penalty while others will say otherwise. I personally thought it was not a penalty based on the total context of the situation.

Interestingly there was not much complaint from the Korean players as they fully expected the penalty award.

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