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Question Number: 34802

Mechanics 12/9/2022

Chris of Vancouver , Canada asks...

In the Brazil-Croatia game, the ball hit a Croatian player’s hand in the penalty area, the play continued. Perhaps the ref played advantage, perhaps he didn’t see. In the ensuing play, two shots were taken by Brazil. Both blocked by defenders. Played stopped. A check was done, presumably by VAR, and play continued.

My question is this, in such a scenario, if we assume for argument’s sake that it was indeed illegal use of the hands, to use the correct term, does the fact that Brazil realized advantage with two shots directly afterward, mean that the referee (or VAR for that matter) cannot now award the penalty kick, since this would amount to giving a team “two kicks at the can”? Also, it seems a moot point whether the tef awarded advantage or just didn’t see the handball, as an advantage was realized regardless. Also, would this be at the sole discretion of the ref as to what constitutes a “fully realized advantage”? Is this covered in Law 12 or elsewhere??

Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

Hi Chris,
deliberate handling by a defender inside his own penalty area is a PK. 73%-79% chance to score so any advantage best be a goal occurring or a straight in obvious opportunity that an attacker somehow screwed up by some insane action like scooping the ball over the goal from 1 yard out with no one in front of him. We rarely call out advantage and wave the arm signal on incidents within the penalty area instead we bite our tongues, hold that whistle away and wait a few moments of outcome. I think it was not considered a PK foul and thus nothing came of it. If indeed VAR changed the CRs mind that it was in fact should be a PK it would be awarded only if the referee had missed it. Deflections and blocks are likely not clear scoring opportunities as is a PK . Yes it is the sole decision of the CR to recognize if an advantage is fully realized! He can seek neutral advice ARs 4th and VAR for some information but the FINAL decision rests on the referee!

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Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Chris
Thanks for the question.

The first point is that is was unlikely that advantage had been played. Unless there is an immediate goal scoring opportunity with a wait and see approach most times it will result in a penalty kick award. The advice is not to play advantage in a penalty situation yet rather wait and see. Some times it will present that advantage has been played in which case play continues
I recall in a game where a goalkeeper had fouled an attacker just as he was passing the ball to a team mate inside the penalty area. The ball went to the team mate who ran on and shot wide into the side netting. I went with the goal kick and there was no dispute about it. It was a clear advantage and fully realised yet squandered by poor play.

In the situation without VAR the laws tells us that the advantage window before bringing play back is "within a few seconds" and that is a judgement call as to whether advantage is fully realised or not.

So in the scenario where the referee has missed the deliberate handling with multiple chances taken by the attacking team advantage has NOT been played in the VAR managed game so the referee will go back to the DHB and on review award a penalty kick. The only time that the DHB could be ignored is in the case of a goal scored from the follow up play or for that matter the referee has seen the offence, signalled advantage and allowed play to continue. Referees in VAR games will not do that and while the advice is to not use VAR as a crutch by not making a decision I suspect that many have come to rely on VAR to get the call right even by allowing play to continue. Rarely do we see the game being restarted with a DB because the referee made the wrong call.

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