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Question Number: 35191

Law 12 - Fouls and Misconduct 11/1/2023

RE: Competitive Under 16

Jose of Miami, Florida United States asks...

Two defensive players of Team A engage in a fight inside the penalty area, while the ball was in play and in possession of Team B player near the halfway line. The referee stops play and eject both defensive players for violent conduct. What is the proper restart?
1) PK against Team A since offense occurred inside penalty area
2) Dropped ball for Team B near the halfway line where whistle was blown because a PK would only be warranted if there had been a foul which is not the case here because the offense was not committed against an opposing player thus, this is misconduct, not a foul, and no PK can be awarded as a result of misconduct

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Jose
Thanks for the question.

The Law relating to physical offence between team mates now results in a direct free kick or a penalty kick.
So in your example the restart is a penalty kick after the two players are sent off for violent conduct.

Prior to 2016 the restart was an indirect free kick from where the offence took place. The explanation given by IFAB in 2016 was that the punishment for an offence against another participant including match officials reflects the seriousness of such an action e.g. football sends out a weak/poor message if an violent conduct offence is only an indirect free kick.

Its a fairly rare offence and I have only seen it once in the infamous fight between two Newcastle United players back in 2005.
Many in the game would see a penalty kick as being harsh while the free kick out the field would be somewhat accepted much like the indirect free kick for dissent if play is stopped to issue a card for that offence.

Referees are expected to enforce Law 12 fully so ours is not to question or reason just to implement what is the Law.
Thankfully I have never had to enforce this whatever about telling team mates to calm down in excessive verbal spats. Team mate disagreements do happen but rarely end up as violent conduct

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Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

Hi Jose,
as unfair as it might seem, the opposition get to be 2 men up AND a free shot at the goal with the PK. The two miscreants, did their team dirty! The LOTG state a DFK thus PK result!

While I understand the need to remove them, I see no reason to award a PK simply for the fact the rest of their team DID NOTHING . The opposition also DID NOTHING to warrant a free shot Never mind they get to play 2 men up as a result of the idiots being sent off. Assuming they were actually players not subs or substituted players.

I am all for selective address to the two players for extended expulsions to send a message not further punish their team or award a freebie to the opposition.
As a coach if I felt the opposition team was disrespected so badly that two of their own get sent off for squabbling I might just tell my PK kicker to pass it to the keeper rather than take such a tainted goal. I rather leave the fair play dynamics to the teams rather than impose unsuitable punishment

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