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Question Number: 20403

Character, Attitude and Control 10/29/2008

RE: Competitive Under 19

Kley Parkhurst of McLean, VA USA asks...

I've observed that many referees avoid calling fouls inside the penalty box that they would call outside the box, for fear of making a bad call and allowing a penalty kick which would unfairly change the outcome of the game.

A similar scenario is that you blow your whistle, only to disover (to your dismay) that the foul occured in the box when you probably wouldn't have called it if you'd realized where it was. In other words, a foul, not trifling, but not penalty-kick-worthy either?

So the question is, are there valid restarts that are between the two extremes (penalty kick or drop-ball)? For example, could you signal an indirect kick for 'impeding the progress of player' if in fact the progress was impeded by a foul? This gives the attacking team an advantage for a minor foul but not the total gain of a penalty kick.

Answer provided by Referee Keith Contarino

You are trying to rationalize being a coward. If you blew your whistle for a direct kick foul that occurred inside the penalty area, you award a penalty kick. You cannot simply invent an indirect free kick foul because you don't have the cajones to call what you saw. No, you cannot change the foul to impeding the progress of an opponent. 'the progress was impeded by a foul'? What on earth does that mean? While I agree with you that many referees simply won't call fouls inside the penalty area, that doesn't excuse them nor should you

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Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

Yes the sphincter muscles do tend to tighten in the no blood, no foul region of 18 by 18 by 44.

Any foul for which we would call outside the penalty area is the same standard we must also call inside the penalty area. The concept that unless we see the player creamed into a blood stain on the deck we do not make the call is a false assumption.

What we call match control fouls to set an example or settle a team that could be shrugged off as doubtful or trifling are still the same inside as outside but a subtle difference is the REASONING behind stopping play. We do it at the midfield because we are trying to prevent escalation of tensions and bring the players back to a more acceptable passion and reasonable actions. We do not do it inside the penalty area because we normally play through them as a general rule anyway.

What many referees have is a fear of making a mistake; this fear outweighs the courage of calling the foul because it KNOWINGLY affects the outcome. This is because referees, in not understanding by not calling the foul it has done the EXACT same thing, only in an UNFAIR way.

As a neutral official with integrity you call WHAT you see assuming you actually understand its significance. If you choose to not see it for what it is thinking you are impacting the outcome in fact you are, but for the opposite reason, you are taking away a legitimate scoring opportunity by creating an excuse to not score a goal.

Yes there will be incidents where to some extent both attacker and defender will be fouling each other as in both have a hold of each others jersey. You will have one or the other fall down screaming the other is at fault. You will be blocked from a clear view of contact through bad positioning, an unclear line of sight or a poor angle of view. The player who was fouled might try to exaggerate the foul to bring it to your attention! You will suffer the derision of those watching who see what you might not or only perceive what they thought, it makes no difference, you cannot undo or change the event but you must have the courage to do what is right when you see the opportunity!

Two specific actions that seem to go unchallenged by referees is if a shot is gotten off the following take apart challenge that follows through is often ignored either as a foul or as misconduct. Advantage allows us to see a conclusion of an unfair action but consider the true opportunity of a ball only directed off balance towards the general goal area as insubstantial compared to a PK and a foul with cardable conduct.

Backbone is a characteristic that a referee who has any chance of success must have when it comes to blowing the whistle at a soccer match! You do not make up stuff to ease your conscience or change the laws. We can bend things to accomadate fair play but you can not create fair play if you fail to recognize foul play!

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