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Question Number: 21084

League Specific 4/4/2009

RE: Rec Under 7

Joseph of Newberry, FL USA asks...

I am in a league that slide tackles are prohibited under 8U. I just had a 6U game, where several players slid into their own teammates, in an intentional manner. Since this happened at least 6 times in the game. Normally a slide tackle will be a free kick, but when doing it against one own teammate, how should it be handled. I have different views, but if after a strong warning, I believe I should show a yellow card and elevate it for the kids and coach to get the hint. The coach believes I should have done nothing, because you can't foul you own teammate, but I feel it is a foul, becuase, it is done in a dangerous manner, regardless of who it was done to. Also, what is the best way to restart the game.

The other issue is if the coach doesn't feel it is wrong, than without punishment, I believe the coach won't correct the situation in the future?

Answer provided by Referee Michelle Maloney

Joseph, it doesn't matter what you feel is the right thing, what matters is that you follow the Laws of the Game. There can be no offense/foul unless it is against an opponent. Misconduct can occur against a teammate, but not a DFK offense.

The requirements for a DFK offense: done by a player against an opponent, on the field, while the ball is in play. If any of those is missing, it is NOT a DFK restart.

Dangerous play cannot be committed against a teammate, either, nor can impeding.

Should you feel the teammates are exhibiting unsporting behavior toward each other with the slide tackles, you can caution them. If you stop play to do that, it is an IDFK restart for the other team. I can't imagine it being violent conduct at such a young age, but it is theoretically possible. If you stopped play for violent conduct against a teammate, the restart is an IDFK.

If you feel the coach is behaving in an irresponsible manner, you can dismiss him, but at this age, unless he is yelling at YOU, I would not attempt to interfere with his coaching.

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Answer provided by Referee Keith Contarino

Joseph, someone must have done a poor job at your certification course if you believe a player can commit a foul against a teammate. By definition, a foul occurs against an opponent, on the field of play, while the ball is in play. Your League has modified the Laws Of The Game by making slide tackles illegal. They may also have further modified Law 12 by making all free kicks indirect so I don't know what the punishment is for this foul in your league but the free kick can only be awarded if an opponent is fouled. Players may commit misconduct against teammates but never fouls. Ref Maloney covers this well as she also does concerning coaches behavior.

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Answer provided by Referee Steve Montanino

Unless your league has written into their bylaws that any player who slides into their own teammate has committed a direct free kick foul, then it would be impossible for a teammate to commit a foul against his own teammate.

That aside, what do you care what these players and their coach do once you leave that game? It is not your place as a referee to make determinations on how he should be coaching his side. If he already believes you are wrong for cautioning his players, do you think he will change whatever he is doing to adapt to your concerns? Probably not.

Leave the coaching to the coach, trust me, it's a lot easier to ref that way.

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