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Question Number: 35578

Law 12 - Fouls and Misconduct 6/16/2024

RE: Select Adult

Tony of Whitehorse , Yukon Canada asks...

In the 77 min Croatia v Spain, the referee called a foul in the penalty area against Spain. How is that not DOGSO? Even after VAR....?

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Tony
Law 12 was changed back in 2017 after the ongoing complaints about the triple punishment of a penalty award, a dismissal and a suspension in DOGSO situations where there was genuine attempts to play the ball was deemed too harsh.

Since then when a penalty is now awarded and it is a genuine attempt to play the ball in a DOGSO situation the red card is reduced to a caution.
In this situation it was deemed by the referee that the Spanish player made an attempt to play the ball and while it was a DOGSO situation the player was cautioned rather than dismissed.

Where there is no attempt to play the ball such as a pull, push, handling it is still a dismissal red card offence.
Where there is no penalty award in a DOGSO situation it is still a red card.
It is deemed that the penalty restores the goal scoring opportunity.

So the referee in the game Michael Oliver deemed it a challenge for the ball and therefore a caution as a penalty was awarded. VAR no doubt agreed with that decision and it has become fairly common that any foot / leg challenge close to the ball rather than a pull, push, cynical trip, handling gets sanctioned with a caution. Whether that was a challenge involving an attempt to play the ball is subject to debate.
It did not attract any real scrutiny as it is now common place to go with the caution in these penalty DOGSO situations. A jersey pull, holding, push and handling will still be a dismissal.

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Answer provided by Referee Jason Wright

Hi Tony,

Thanks for your question.

I think I'm in the minority amongst my refereeing colleagues, but I think it should still be a red card.

I know there is dispute over whether it's even a foul, but I'm not addressing that here.

The LOTG states:

Where a player commits an offence against an opponent within their own penalty area which denies an opponent an obvious goal-scoring opportunity and the referee awards a penalty kick, the offender is cautioned if the offence was an attempt to play the ball or a challenge for the ball in all other circumstances (e.g. holding, pulling, pushing, no possibility to play the ball etc.), the offending player must be sent off.

However, I don't think this should be considered an attempt to play the ball or a challenge for the ball. He stuck his leg in the path of the player and was never closer than 1 yard from the ball. I don't see any attempt whatsoever to play the ball - it's a cynical trip from behind. For me, these are the sorts of fouls that should still be a DOGSO-RC, though when the YC came in I knew players would get away with these ones.

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