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Question Number: 35341

Mechanics 1/27/2024

Crebs Crem of Zagreb, Croatia asks...


Am I correct with the following scenario?

Team A attacks but in the beginning of the attack, there is an infringement committed by team A and the referee misses it. During the attack, one of the players of team B deliberately handles the ball in their own penalty area, which is also missed by the officials on the pitch. Team A retains possession for a while but then team B starts a counter attack and scores a goal.

In this case, VAR needs to intervene and call the central referee for an OFR for both the infringement by team A and the potential penalty kick. Although there is no infringement by team B in the attacking phase of play which lead to the goal for team B, the referee still needs to disallow the goal for team B and restart the play with a free kick for team B where team A infringed the laws of the game.

Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

Hi Creb,
with such poor officiating and communication it is hard to imagine this as plausible. Granted there was NO stoppage prior to the goal and it is true a referee can act on neutral information he was unaware or had made no decision on. VAR is not to intervene unless it is a clear error but they can not conceivably take that long to request a referee intervene successfully. The time lapse is simply too great. I would suspect we restart kick off and there is some post game fireworks at what actually occurred! If we were to revert to the original foul by the A team that B was not screaming about and the entire on field officiating crew had MISSED so B team's handling that the A team was not screaming about yet was again MISSED by the entire on field officiating team is not in the mix and the B team's goal is annulled because we are just now listening to a VAR communication I would be embarrassed to be the official in such circumstances trying to explain what just occurred!

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Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Crebs
Thanks for the question.
The advice is that play needs to be stopped in a neutral zone to prevent the possibility of say a goal being scored which may need to be ruled out.

Whether play gets stopped promptly in the application of VAR can be a difficulty as I have only seen a few where that happens with referees preferring to wait until the ball goes out of play and then delays the restart. Having said that I have not seen very many goals being ruled out based on the type of scénario you mention.

So the period of time after an incident occurs when a review can be initiated must be limited to avoid other significant events taking place and then being overturned.
The referee must stop play as soon as it is in a neutral zone/situation i.e.neither team is in a good attacking position.

So what should happen in your scenario is that once play gets to half way the game should be stopped and the first incidents reviewed. As there was an offence by Team A in the build up to the penalty decision then the only possible decision is a free kick to Team B at that location. Advantage cannot be played as the penalty offence by Team B rules that out.

In a recent game in Scotland there was a debate about the non award of a penalty kick for deliberate handling in a game. VAR opined that it was not a clear and obvious error so no onfield review was requested. What did emerge though in the furore afterwards was that there was a probable offside just before that handling incident so the word was that a penalty could not have been awarded in any event as any on field review had it happened would have resulted in an IDFK for offside.
In this incident there was a formal complaint made after the game about the no review of the handling situation. In hindsight it should have been reviewed and then there could have been no grounds for any complaint as play would have gone back to the offside.


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