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Question Number: 16154

Law 12 - Fouls and Misconduct 7/28/2007

RE: Under 17

Stephen of Snellville, Georgia USA asks...

Hello, a few months ago, I watched a game at a youth tournament. Near the end of the 1st half, an offensive player came with the ball down the field and made a shot on goal. The kick lacked power, and thus did not have as much power as might have been possible. The player ran forward to follow up the shot. However, the goalkeeper had dived and missed the ball, falling directly in front of the attacking player. The attacker jumped over the keeper to avoid contact(which he did). The keeper reached up and grabbed the attacker, who fell. However the ball still entered the goal. The referee restarted with a kick-off. He talked to the offending keeper, but did not caution (yellow card) him. correct?

Answer provided by Referee Gil Weber

Stephen, the Laws give the referee great latitude when it comes to misconduct discipline. But with that latitude there is a responsibility to use common sense and "smarts."

Most cautions are discretionary. Here, it sounds as if you are describing an obvious goal scoring opportunity, and you indicate that the GK attempted to prevent the goal using unfair tactics. Had he succeeded it clearly would have justified a sending-off. But despite the holding/tripping the goal was scored. So there was no denial of a goal scoring opportunity or denial of a goal. In the end the most important thing, the goal, did occur.

Now, had I been the assessor seeing what you describe I would have asked the referee why despite the goal being scored he chose not to caution the GK for the obvious unsporting behavior. Perhaps the referee in this game felt the holding/tripping was trivial given the outcome. If so, in my opinion that was wrong, but the referee must make the decision.

In my opinion when a player uses clearly unfair tactics to stop an opponent from showing his skill there must be a penalty imposed on that player to discourage him from doing it again. In this case the GK found out that there was no downside risk in trying to hold/trip the opponent. From this experience the GK learned that he could get away with misconduct and that the referee in this game did not have the courage to deal with it -- to send a message encouraging fair play and discouraging those who would attempt to crush it.

Just my opinion, of course.

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Answer provided by Referee Chuck Fleischer

Stephen you might want to take Ref. Weber's advice to heart, especially the part where he speaks as the referee's assessor.

I have my own opinions about the event being trivial to the referee for he is not the one who really makes that decision. Think about what I wrote for a second, to whom is it a trivial thing? Right, the player who stands to score a goal! The referee must look to the player and see if the keeper reaching up and grabbing him was something re reacted to. Be react I mean did he look at the keeper? Was that look all stink-eye or screw-face? If so what happened certainly was NOT trivial to him. At that instant the referee needs to deal with it so it doesn't happen again OR the player will take it upon himself to exact revenge.

Bottom line is we have two things happening at the same time. The ball rolling towards goals AND possible, or probable, misconduct on the part of the goal tender. The referee should see to the first part BEFORE he gets on the whistle. What comes next all depends on what comes next -- the referee's position on the field must be inside the penalty area, too. He is going to, by his simple presence, deter further conflict between the attacker and the grabby keeper. The referee who is not there and who doesn't caution is lacking in courage, fitness and is unable to properly anticipate. These three things are areas in which an assessor grades the referee. Huge blip!


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