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Question Number: 34959

Law 12 - Fouls and Misconduct 4/26/2023

RE: Adult

AEK Fan Club Of NY of ASTORIA, NY USA asks...


Ref: Masa from Italy (FIFA Elite)

1. 2' 5" is it a penalty for the team in red? None given

2. 3' 22" is it a red card or yellow card against the defender in yello?

3. 4' 1" there is a gap in the video. The team in yellow had a player down in the opposite penalty box. The yellow player had received an elbow in the throat by a player in red. The referee did not stop the gaming although the player in yellow was clearly holding his neck. In the counter attack, the team in red scores... you can see the player who suffered the throat hit, slowly appearing in the screen (#28) just before the goal. meaning 20" later. Should the VAR have examined first the elbowing or not? It was in the penalty box, will try to see if I can find the video elsewhere

4. 5' 35" is it a penalty?

5. 7'5" is it an offensive foul by the yellow player before the goal is scored?

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Thanks for the video and the questions
1. For me the attacker goes down far too easily in a way where the player feels contact and goes to ground. The referee is close by with a good view and with VAR in the mix the attacker puts "pressure" on the officials to award a penalty kick. As a referee at the Pro level there has to be assessment on the level of contact and there is not enough here for a foul. The ball is away over his head anyway so I think he just tries his luck by going down after feeling the contact as he backed in. The referee no doubt sensed the level of contact from his proximity to the incident.

2. It is certainly at minimum a caution for a reckless challenge. The referee does not react negatively to this which is somewhat surprising. If the referee missed the manner of the contact then VAR should have intervened as to sanction this as a foul only without a card is an error in my opinion.
I'm around the game long enough to recall that at one time a player's reaction was an indication of the manner of the foul. Now players feign the level of injury on contact fouls and some calls are unclear as to the level of contact based on players reactions.
I was at a game recently and a player was cautioned for a foul where a player went down with a loud shout of injury. In real time I thought it was a foul only. Some 20 minutes later the same fouled player went down in dramatic fashion again with a loud roar. The referee saw it was simulation and promptly cautioned the player and restarted with an IDFK. On reflection it sort of confirmed my opinion that the first real foul was just that and the injury theatrics was perhaps to draw a card.
In the video incident it was a clear foul deserving of a card and the player was contacted on the ankle by an opponent.

3. If an intentional elbow into a player's head is seen by the referee or an assistant referee or VAR it is a red card and a direct free kick or penalty restart. I have no idea what went on here and VAR reviews every single incident in a game in what is called a "silent check". Anyway even with VAR match officials should be getting violent conduct incidents in real time if they truly exist
Now one of the downsides of VAR is that players act on the slightest contact even accidental to try to gain an advantage. Again like Q1 and Q5 the contact is a coming together and minimal at most then it is not going to get called.

4. Yes this is a penalty kick for me and the defenders knows its by his reaction. It is a silly challenge with the attacker well covered and not going anywhere really. It is in the soft category yet the referee is well placed to see it. If it was a clear error VAR would have intervened. No card is required

5. Same as the answer in 1. While there is contact there is not enough here for a foul for me. The assistant referee is stood some 2 metres from it and he has no "feel" of a push that should be called.

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Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

when the armchair referee is evaluating match decisions, they are not the same in real time as it could appear on video! What we perceive can be compromised just as easily as it might reinforce the original decision. The bias's of slow motion, replay, reverse and freeze frame creates a time/sight/perception distortion. It magnifies the resulting actions to the video viewer in way that was not available to the referee from where they were with their angle of view on the pitch.

There will be times when the clarity is indeed 100% yup definitely a yes, foul, great decision thumbs up, to WTF kind of a call was that you blind SOB!

I often point to my mentor Referee Esfandiar "Esse" Baharmast trial by video review in the 1998 world cup
as one of the best officials I was fortunate to meet in my lifetime.

All we can hope for is the referee on the pitch does their job not just recognizing what is fair or foul by understanding the letter of the LOTG but with integrity, courage balancing it in with what the players expect within the spirit of the LOTG

(1)Your first example, examine the referee position? PERFECT look in angle
The red attacker is back walking into the defender, arms out trying to move the defender back ahead of he throw in coming in he gains several yards of pitch until the throw in is on its way into the PA on a long arcing trajectory! The attacker still leaning with elbows back, upon realizing the throw in is too far to reach as he has not backed up the defender far enough. The defender has stood their ground uses his hands flat on the attackers back extending outwards, creating separation, and claiming his spot of grass as it were. Upon feeling the contact, embellishes it as something worthy of a foul hoping to draw the PK inside the penalty areas. The keeper takes down the easy cross throw and the attacker, does the double raise arm of helpless resignation, apparently bewildered by the fact the referee rolls the eyes and play continues. No foul, no earned PK!

(2) Ok if you look at this video moment in normal time, note the referee at about 18 yds away. A clear view that it was a foul but I do question his reaction to that foul? No running over to show a card? In my opinion that was a very much deserved caution show the yellow and in fact I see it as an orangey near red if say this was one of a series of tackles that yellow player had made I might pull red! Tell me in a run through, watching in slow motion you did not cringe just a wee bit? VAR should be on this, that tackle was most definitely endangering the safety of an opponent in at minimum a reckless manner, the only saving aspect of not jumping to a direct red was the distance he was upon initiating the tackle. Yet the reaction of the downed player and likely the shout out of agony the referee might have better served the match with more than just a free kick. Again though the referee in real time maybe screened slightly on the follow through ankle crunch by the other interceding 2 players.

(3) It is plausible the player was in fact injured by an unseen foul or perhaps the officials thought him to be milking the incident they had seen and determined it as no foul, not serious injury. With nothing to see its only speculation but IF a VC incident went unnoticed VAR would have communicated it to the referee. But if your question was should the elbow 30 seconds back if it was missed and VAR did bring it to the attention of the referee and upon review decided it should be a PK ? Then their goal would not count and whatever misconduct attached to the elbow would occur with the restart PK for the opposition. This assumes there was NO other stoppage in-between the elbow incident and the goal!

(4) I will disagree with my colleague. I looked at it carefully, so no doubt my confirmation bias is in play from rewatching and slowing it down. I saw no obvious point of foul contact I saw iffy bits only! Not at all certain it was a 100% PK . Yet also I never get to look at it from the right side which may show greater contact. In my opinion only, I saw this as a weak PK because it was for me, very minor contact. The careless action occurs when? The extended arm warding off the defender was it pulled? I saw the defender get a slight tic of the ball off the toe just after the attacker had 1 as well. What was weird for me is look how both the attackers feet suddenly leave the ground? He seemed well in control of his body until that point? Where was the contact? Thigh on thigh? Was it the slight grab of the upper chest when their arms linked ? The attacker was not going to score an easy one moving away at that angle so no DOGSO. Given the decision reached by the infield official a PK is the correct restart. Sigh its why watching video's can be frustration you see things different in real time!

(5) My opinion? The red player was caught wrong footed and the yellow player leaning in caused him to fall . The AR was right there so perfect position to look in. The CR likely saw nothing got no heads up from the AR there was anything amiss thus play on good goal.

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