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Question Number: 34956

Law 12 - Fouls and Misconduct 4/21/2023

RE: Comp Under 12

Doug Crawford of Folsom, CA United States asks...

Hello there - I wanted some advice on how to evaluate and call slide tackles. Unfortunately, or fortunately, you cannot see through my eyes what I saw in my recent match. Nonetheless, I seem to be calling these slide tackles different from the majority of referees. I especially note the many slide tackles in the video from Q 34240 with only one tackle at 4:00 of concern to ref Joe McHugh, the rest ok.

Anyway, in a U12B comp match, 9v9, the attacker was ahead w the ball reaching the edge of the penalty area moving towards goal, and the defender slid in.
The defender came mostly from behind, and from just to the side of the attacker opposite to me.
The defender played the ball w his foot before touching the attacker.
The defenders outstretched leg then pushed the attacker’s foot. I thought it was more the defender’s leg motion and a little less the attacker’s forward foot motion that caused the contact.

The attacker fell over and the ball moved out of the attacker’s reach.
I called a tripping foul, awarded a PK, and issued a caution to the defender for stopping a promising attack. I did not think these teams had the skill for me to call DOGSO at that distance.
In retrospect, that should have been no misconduct as the defender was making a play on the ball and a PK was awarded -heat of the moment!

Of course, the player said “I got the ball” and I explained my reasoning. After the game the coach and I had a brief reasonable discussion about it - it did change the game from a win for the defender’s team to a tie.
He was making diagram w his hands that I have seen before in these discussions, where the defender comes in at a RIGHT ANGLE to the attacker’s motion, and the attacker moves forward after the ball clearance and the attacker creates the contact, tripping over the defender.
This challenge was was at a very ACUTE ANGLE, nearly from directly behind. This angle seemed to make the leg to foot contact much more the fault of the defender.

Obviously, I need to continue to ref games, watch video, talk about the plays and calls, and learn, but - any advice on this issue?
Thanks as always! /Doug

Answer provided by Referee Peter Grove

Hi Doug,
I wonder if perhaps you're doing yourself a disservice by concentrating on the "slide" aspect of slide tackles rather than the "tackle" aspect of things.

In many (if not most) ways I would say you can judge a slide tackle in very much the same way as you would any tackle.

For instance, was the tackle careless, reckless or involving the use of excessive force? If so, then it's a foul and the appropriate sanction applies.

If a player, while staying on their feet, attempts a tackle from behind or from an acute angle to the side, the chances of them committing a foul are much higher. The same is true of a slide tackle.

The one major difference from an "upright" tackle I suppose, is that slide tackles are not (or virtually never anyway) made head on and even if the slide comes in directly from the side, gets the ball and misses the opponent in the first instance, there can still be the aftermath where the opponent then makes contact with the slide tackler's outstretched leg(s) to consider.

From what I can tell, based on your description, you made the correct decision in the incident you describe. But as I mention, the same logic you use there would have applied even if the defender had stayed on their feet.

So I think if you just apply the more or less normal foul recognition techniques to a slide tackle, you will be doing just fine.

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Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Doug
Good to hear from you and thanks for the question
Sliding tackles requires a fair degree of skill to complete in a manner that is not careless or reckless. In my experience many Under 12Bs do not have that absolute skill so it can be risky challenges.

The opinion I have is that from the description when coming more from the rear that it runs the much higher risk of contact on the opponent first rather than just a coming together after the ball is played away. Coming from behind makes it less possible to play the ball cleanly without some contact on the opponent before playing the ball. It does not read like a CLEAN challenge.

So while I cannot say whether the tackle was fair or not I can point you to examples of slide tackles that would be legal albeit by Pros on Pros.

So the game requires that decisions are made many times in the opinion of the referee. You opined that challenge was made from at an angle that you did not like and nearly from directly behind which moved it into the careless category. This angle you opined seemed to make the leg to foot contact much more the fault of the defender.
So I would go with that as you have one view at it in real time.
The only error was the caution which you now note that as the tackle was a genuine attempt to play the ball with no DOGSO that the penalty was sufficient.
Having said that there is no harm in sending out a message that sliding lunges from the rear in foul challenges can be reckless and while you do not allude to a reckless manner there is no harm in sending out the message to players that ropey challenges will get punished.

Keep up the good work. We are all learning and every games bring new challenges. I was at an U 12 game during the week and a new referee missed a couple of obvious tackle offences. The key at Underage is safety and I would have no hesitation in urging referees to err on the side of caution when calling games.

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