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Question Number: 19208

Law 12 - Fouls and Misconduct 5/26/2008

RE: Competive Under 17

Micheal of Superior, Colorado USA asks...

Tell me what you consider to be the proper call.

Player A in pursuit of Player B (with ball) closes in from 5 yards away and hits B. shoulder to shoulder to knock him off the ball. B. falls down and A. takes control. Contact is hard and shoulder to shoulder.

I gave a no call as I considered this a fair shoulder to shoulder challenge even though A. moved into position to execute this move from some distance. What's the correct call?

Answer provided by Referee Gary Voshol

If you thought it was a fair charge, then that's what it was. No doubt you got some grief from the player who tumbled, his teammates, or his sideline? That's to be expected. But U17 players and coaches at least should have learned that it isn't necessarily a foul just because a player goes down. I was an AR in a game when a play like this was made. I heard a outraged voice behind me, "What was THAT!?" I wanted so badly to turn around and reply, "Only the best charge we've seen all afternoon." I wisely kept the comment to myself.

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Answer provided by Referee Gil Weber

In your opinion did the challenging player go simultaneously to the ball and the opponent with both in close proximity and with reasonable force/strength even if that force was enough to knock the opponent off balance and off his feet? Or did the challenging player instead go **at** the opponent with intent to blast that opponent out of his socks and only secondarily to gain possession of the ball?

You're there. You observe. Your opinion. Those players, in that game, at that moment given the "temperature" of the match and the demeanor of the players to that point. Hard contact won't necessarily give the same result in a top flight amateur adult game as it will for hormone-enraged U-16s even though the LOTG would tell us otherwise. Won't necessarily be the same for boys and girls, or boys vs girls in a co-ed game.

Basically was the force of the challenge appropriate for the skill level of the players, and was it directed fairly at the opponent?

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Answer provided by Referee Chuck Fleischer

One thing the referee may do is BEFORE there is contact check to see if the players are step for step. Should that be the case AND the contact is initiated by the player with an outside foot on the ground his opponent will fall instantly and there is nothing he can do about it. Further, the force necessary to accomplish this is minimal! All the referee need do is ensure the ball is almost instantly played by the player remaining upright. Given those variables being true what happened is fair.

If the players both have outside feet on the ground it is near impossible to knock some one to the floor unless unreasonable force is used. In the standing player takes more than a second step to reach the ball what happened is charging and foul play. Again, to repeat what Ref. Weber mentions, you were there and it is ultimately your decision.


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Answer provided by Referee Steve Montanino

Sounds like you made a decision based on what you saw. There was nothing you wrote to indicate that you had any problem understanding the law, thus this sounds like the right call to me. But only 50% of the people at your game will think that your call is correct. That's part of being a referee.

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