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Question Number: 20988

Law 12 - Fouls and Misconduct 3/16/2009

RE: Classic Under 16

Larry Beguin of Indian Beach, North Carolina USA asks...

Penalty for a fowl committed by a 'last defender.'

Answer provided by Referee Nathan Lacy

This question is much too vague. There are many factors that enter into the decision. Direction of the player taken down and distance that the player is from goal - to name just a couple. So, the answer is not as straightforward as one might think and as your question would imply. Perhaps you could provide a few more specifics to help provide a bit more clarity as to what you are actually wondering about. These specifics would, of course, enable us to address the specific intent of your questioin. All the best,

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Answer provided by Referee Michelle Maloney

I hope it wasn't just a chicken move. If the offense by the defender was a deliberate handling of the ball which prevented a goal, the penalty (direct free kick or PK) would depend on whether it occurred inside or outside of the penalty area.

As for an offense other than a deliberately handled ball, as Ref Lacy notes, USSF has guidelines called the 4 D's (distance to the goal, distance to the ball, number of defenders, and direction of the play) to help referees decide whether it is a red card for a denial of goal scoring opportunity, or simply a normal offense such as tripping, kicking, etc. which can be handled with a free kick and/or a misconduct.

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Answer provided by Referee Chuck Fleischer

The answer could be direct free kick, penalty kick, indirect free kick and, perhaps, some form of discipline accompanying the sanction of a free kick. The discipline could be caution and the showing of the referee's yellow card or a sending-off and the showing of the red card. Remember too, FIFA calls what you ask about an offence and though sometimes the term foul is used. If you were more specific perhaps we could narrow our responses.


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Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

While there are INDFK offences which COULD be committed by a last defender, when you use the word *penalty* and then the word *foul* we often link that as a PK (penalty kick) type event.
That it is one of ten possible DFK (direct free kick) offences listed in law 12 which if it occurs inside the penalty area is upgraded to the free kick from the 12 yard spot known as a penalty kick.

The thing is depending on what type of offence was committed there COULD be misconduct associated with a foul independent of the punishment for the restart. Such actions are judged as careless (simple foul with a restart) reckless (a cautionable foul show a yellow card with restart) or excessive (a send off show the red card with restart) based on the nature or force used in the foul.

In addition there is CRITERIA based misconduct which covers the reason for the foul as in breaking up attacking play which is USB (unsporting behavior) cautionable show the yellow card or DOGSO (denying an obvious goal or scoring opportunity) which is a send off, show the red card!

There is no special LAST DEFENDER type foul that changes the nature of the foul or facts of play. It is NOT AUTOMATIC that a LAST DEFENDER requires a SEND OFF if he does FOUL an opponent.
I will only add that it is IN THE OPINION OF THE REFEREE if there is justification to award a restart with or without a CAUTION or a SEND OFF.


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