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Question Number: 13661

Law 12 - Fouls and Misconduct 9/4/2006

RE: Select Under 10

R Simkovich of Scarborough, ME USA asks...

Our u-10 league plays all indirect kicks for all fouls. During a game, a well-meaning fullback, helping his out of position goalie, reached up a stopped a shot from going into the goal. He was on the goal line, the ball was definitely going in the goal. Using common sense, what should the official had done?

Answer provided by Referee Chuck Fleischer

Award an indirect free kick at the point the player deliberately handled the ball.

Common sense tells us this player does not understand that denying a goal or an obvious goal scoring opportunity by deliberately handling the ball is a serious offense and in all levels of The Game it is a sending off offense. Common sense also tells us no one has impressed this fact on him. Common sense also tells us that some one must enforce the Laws of the Game. That person is the referee.

The player committing a sending-off offense is sent-off. He takes no further part in the match. His team plays a man short. These are the Laws of the Game. Common sense tells us he won't ignore the Law again if the punishment for doing so far outweighs the perceived pleasure he gets by denying the goal.

The Laws of the Game are written to be enforced, whether at the professional or youth level. If we choose not to send him off what message is sent? If we choose not to send him off, at what age do we begin such harsh punishment?

We are responsible for teaching our youth how to behave, football helps because it teaches him to accept responsibility for his actions. By sending-off this player we teach him a life lesson at an early age. If we wait, because it feels bad to deny participation to this innocent young man, we defer the lesson to a later moment in time and he will not understand why he is being punished this time when he wasn't the other time...

And finally, using common sense, all other participants will see what happens when the Law is ignored. They will learn a valuable lesson that day. They will see the Law is more important than any one player and The Game will continue teaching young men and women, as it has been since the Laws were first committed to paper 150 years odd ago.

Being well intentioned is not an excuse, let them learn that fact early in life.


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Answer provided by Referee Keith Contarino

Since your league has decided to modify a Law that's not allowed to be modified, they may also have disallowed cautions and sending -offs and the showing of any card. The first send off and red card I every pulled out of my pocket was for a U10 game when a player did just what you describe. I walked him over to his coach, explained what the Law was and what I was going to do, showed him the red card and went on with the game. Of course, I was questioned by parents at the end of the game and also, of course, no one including the coach knew of this rule. This only goes to show what a poor job we in this counrty do in educating youth soccer players and coaches. When growing up here in the 50's, I was taught all the rules of every sport I played. I youth soccer today, literally no emphasis is placed on learning the rules. The youngster in your game had to learn the hard way.

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Answer provided by Referee Ben Mueller

If ball does not go in goal, no goal can be awarded. Correct call...IFK for your team on the top of goal area parallel to where foul occurred. This would also probably be a red card for the defender for denying an obvious goal scoring opportunity. If your league disallows cautions/send offs, then you cannot give the card either. I am a little baffled by the fact that at U10 all kicks are indirect. At that age, DFK and PK's should be allowed in my humble opinion.

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