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Question Number: 34875

Law 12 - Fouls and Misconduct 2/13/2023

RE: Saturday League (Part of the Welsh Pyramid) Adult

Jacob of Newport, Newport United Kingdom asks...

Hi there, I have a question about persistent infringements of the laws of the game.

Some context, earlier in the game I received a yellow card for kicking the ball away. Fully accept the yellow, the other team were about to counter and I did what I deemed necessary to help my team.
No more than 5 miniutes later the referee has given me another yellow card for allegedly pushing a player in the back with two hands inside the penalty area. Not only did I not do this as we were side by side, and I used my forearm on the other players side to move him, but I'm also struggling to see how this is a yellow card offence. Apart from kicking the ball away, I did not commit any fouls or freekicks whatsoever. In the referee's report they have stated:
"C3 Persistent infringements of the Laws of the Game"
My question is, is the kicking away of the ball earlier in the game consistant with persistent infringements of the laws of the game? As from what I have read this only applies to goalkeepers. I've also done some reading and it looks like the term "C3" is only applicable to small sided games (I might be wrong here) but am looking for some clarification as I feel quite hard done by considering I was having a pretty good game and seemed to have been punished for a seeminly soft foul(?) that I now face a ban and fine for.

Any feedback/help would be greatly appreciated!

Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

HI Jacob,
unfortunately perception by the CR in YOUR match is not something we can easily explain simply because we were not there to see it. I very much appreciate your candor and respectful demeanor in trying to understand a decision you do not agree with. I can only tell you life is not fair or unfair and you will get the short end of the stick from time to time just as often as you face the consequences of actions taken. You received two cautions (2ct), thus a send off SOTO7 - Receiving a second caution in the same match but I wonder could the misconduct report simply be filled out wrong with C3 PI not C1 USB? C2 is the code for dissent by the way did you rag on the ref on the DFK for the pk? Delaying the Restart of play C4 would be the kick away incident,

Misconduct during a stoppage is certainly an action that could fit with PI given the totality of ALL actions undertaken during the course of the match were indeed considered as persistent, unfair and breaking the LOTG. Keepers are not exclusive to wasting time or delaying restarts, nor is any level of play exempt from PI. A fair challenge is shoulder to shoulder where you lean in at about the same pace and ease/force the opponent off the ball.

An extension of the forearm could be seen as a push and thus a DFK, upgrade to PK in the PA and looked to see if DOGSO criteria were met? Was the foul judged as a realistic challenge (SPA) stopping a promising attack) or reckless on its own merits? Your claim the referee saw a two handed push in the back not a forearm push off is one that if it was his opinion, it is hard to argue because there is no video to show otherwise. All we can hope is a neutral referee with integrity sees what he sees even if he sees it different than you.

A PI infraction is one where you as the player would pop up on the CR radar screen of notice fairly quickly in a short period of time, more than say 3 or 4 fouls in an entire match spaced out evenly over 90 minutes.

It is a bit unusual to award a 2nd caution for PI so quickly to be sure and yet it is also one that COULD be seen as a team tactic against a opposing player where that good player is consistently being fouled by everyone all taking a shot trying to avoid PI but create a problem for that Pele/Messi player on the opposing team. I know that is not what went on here but its just some information that applies to PI in a general sense.

However, it does seems you managed to get the referees attention and hold it!
Perhaps you directed some dissent or mild abuse over other calls not just the ones on you but more team orientated? I tend to think not, given your rational of your grievances here seems to harbor no ill will just confusion but it speaks to what we as officials retain up stairs when considering why we should or should not act? Are you a consistent pain or only occasionally? lol

It could be likely the close timing & proximity of the free kick misconduct with this added pushing or charging foul the referee had judged you as guilty of, you were occupying his thoughts and felt this was a necessary action for match control.

To be sure you could ask him politely why? Referee are often unwilling to engage because we are are not talked to but yelled at. Personally I am approachable if you are calm and not wild eyed upset. I have no issues explaining to those who seek information in a reasonable manner and at an appropriate time. I cannot speak for all officials

If the 2nd caution rated as PI seems obtuse consider if that tackle was in of itself not reckless or DOGSO? If only a first foul coupled with the earlier kicking away misconduct, it does seem a bit off? I can tell you a PUSH in the back in the PA is not considered a realistic challenge where we dismiss the DOGSO as the PK will replace the opportunity and caution for USB as opposed to a careless challenge. Perhaps PI as C3 should be USB C1 ? C2 for dissent?

Were you warned verbally for earlier actions or challenges? Were you chastised for pulling pushing on trifling fouls allowed. Perhaps where advantage was used? That recognize the foul but do not stop play to allow an attack to proceed? Such things might be complicit in edging a referee to consider PI?

As a non perfect referee, and in defense of all my esteemed colleagues out there, I can only tell you that in all my years I have not knowingly compromised my integrity. Its a big deal to us, as neutral officials to not be labeled with unfair accusations. We can acknowledge to have perceived things wrong or different and can admit to the occasional mistake.

In a game consider the referee as a match condition, like the wind, rain, hard or soft pitch you adapt to their tolerance levels! Their foul recognition is based on the experience they have and what they see from their angle of view at a given moment of time. No problem questioning why if you realize that we must agree to disagree for the good of the game at times no matter who is wrong or right to move forward. .

It might be C3 PI should be C1 USB or C2 dissent but unfortunately I do not believe you can protest the red card suspension if it is only two cautions? It is why getting a weak yellow for kicking the ball away is not a good idea. That is my perspective, whereas yours is the supposed weak PK call for your perceived fair challenge in the PA.

I hope one bad experience does not sour you on the beautiful game and encourage you to grab a whistle and referee others. It might help with the point of view we all develop from the various perspectives of all participants

Spectators and parents see what they think
Coaches managers see what they want
Players see what they feel
A referee with integrity sees what he sees!


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Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Jacob
Lets address a few misconceptions first
The offence of Persistent Infringements of the Laws which is covered by the C3 code
1. Applies to all players not just goalkeepers
2. Applies to all levels of the game not only small sided games.

As to the offence mentioned you say you used your forearm on the other player's side and that will present to a referee as a push using an arm. A legal charge is where a player challenges for the ball usually using the shoulder and upper arm which is kept close to the body. Once a forearm is used it is seen as a push punished by a direct free kick.

Now any player on a caution has to be ultra careful in any challenge for the ball or committing any other cautionable offence mentioned in the Laws such as failing to respect distance, dissent etc.
The whole purpose of a caution is to change playing behaviour, I attended a game yesterday and a player was cautioned for a reckless challenge. He continued to put himself about and eventually he fouled an opponent in a way that for me was a 2nd caution. The referee spoke to him and a few minutes later he was substituted. In my opinion he was lucky he was not sent off for the prior challenge. Now some players feel that a referee might not make the hard decision of a 2nd caution and push the tolerance limit of referees. If the question is asked of a referee the answer may not be liked.

Now the caution of PI is at the referee's discretion and there is no specific number or pattern of offences constituting 'persistent'. Obviously the referee took exception to this 2nd offence as it happened inside the penalty area for what I assume a penalty kick was awarded.

On a penalty award a caution will issue when a player commits any other offence which interferes with or stops a promising attack, except where the referee awards a penalty kick for an offence which was an attempt to play the ball. A push is not a challenge for the ball so a caution could issue which is unsporting behaviour covered by C1. Maybe the referee put the wrong code or maybe not. Either way it was a caution for a push on a penalty award

Have a look at this video
Harsh or deserving. First caution for trying to stop the throw in which failed and the second for a forearm push for stopping a promising attack.

For what its worth and from your description I would say that the red card which is an S7 was for Delaying the Restart of play C4 and Unsporting behaviour C1. Your description does not read like a C3 yet maybe it was,

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