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Question Number: 21207

Law 12 - Fouls and Misconduct 4/27/2009

RE: College & Competitive Club College

EM Pearson of Medina, TN USA asks...

This question is a follow up to question 21105

You all do such a great job that I am sorry to tell you that you muffed this question.

The query is a very relevant one; indeed, I see it all the time from EPL down to my pitches. The offensive player gets his shot off; the next instant he is blatantly fouled by a defender, or should I say he is blasted by the defender.

Yes, the pros seem to accept it as part of the game. But I am not having it. Getting the shot away does not mean open season on strikers. If the keeper makes the save then we have a penalty. If the ball is into touch then it's a yellow card for USB and restart with a goal kick.
Further comments?

Answer provided by Referee Debbie Hoelscher

It may be a foul. It may not. You may consider advantage -- but then you must be very careful about how much time has passed between the contact and the advantage not materializing. There maybe misconduct, maybe not. It depends on a lot of things: Was it reckless; how many times this has occurred; whether you've set a clear expectation by calling this kind of activity prior to now, or are you suddenly surprising them? (aka consistency). Would a word to the defender bring back to the game what you need, without the caution?

Whether it is a foul or not is based on how the player responds. If the player is accepting it, then for that player in that game, it is trifling, and should not be called. We, as referees have been admonished NOT to call the trifling fouls, but rather to penalize the more egregious ones.

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Answer provided by Referee Gary Voshol

If a player is 'blasted by the defender' we probably have more than just a foul; it is probably also misconduct. That has to be addressed.

If there is some non-blatant, non-blasted contact after the shot has been made, it is likely a trifling foul. That need not, indeed should not, be called.

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Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

I get that you think these referees suffer fom a lack of testicular fortitude. No one said open season and if you reread my response I do say I see it as an issue that late tackles do not get sanctioned often enough. The very least rip a strip verbal outrage if you are keeping cards in the pocket!

Often the ball gets out of play before the misconduct so the stoppage has already occurred! That said to award a pk or free kick if the ball is not yet out of play is certainly doable. We can not reinvent the wheel here, if the players actions are so blatant then the misconduct requires your intervention.

As Ref Hoelcher points out what are the overall feelings in the match? What are the acceptance levels? Advantage does NOT wave misconduct!

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Answer provided by Referee Keith Contarino

Hmmmm. What you say has nothing to do with question 21105 or our answers to it. That question asked why fouls called on other areas of the pitch are not called in the penalty area and we all answered appropriately. No one said or even suggested that 'blasting' the attacker should be allowed and is not called. I agree with you that such challenges are allowed more frequently at the professional level but I disagree that such blatant fouls are universally allowed elsewhere. I can guarantee no one on this panel would allow such behavior. I watch a lot of youth games in my area as part of a mentoring program for my local assignor and I agree to some degree that some referees, especially young ones, are hesitant to award a penalty kick, except wrongly for deliberately handling the ball. That said, blatant fouls like you describe rarely are let go.

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Answer provided by Referee Michelle Maloney

It sounds as if you are determining in your greater wisdom what the players need to accept or not ('I'm not having it.'). While that may be appropriate in younger or less skilled play, at the college, professional and competitive youth and adult levels, the players are pretty good at letting you know what they will and will not accept. Woe to the referee who doesn't know how to listen and read the players.

As my colleagues note, none of us would allow 'open season' on strikers. That would be abdicating our responsibility to the game and to the players. What we are watching is where the ball is going (is it into the net?), what is going on in the game, how are the players reacting, etc. in order to do the least amount necessary to keep the game fair, fun and safe.

By the way, how do you get a penalty kick out of the goalkeeper making a save in your question? The striker could have been anywhere on the field, and the location of the kick should be where the striker is taken down, right? I assume you must have meant the striker was within the penalty area when she was taken down.

It is impossible to categorize all such incidents as worthy of being called as an offense, and/or only UB. Some will not rise to the level of an offense, others will be simply a foul, some will be a foul with a caution and some are worthy of a sending off.

This is why it is often hard to helpfully answer some of the questions we get. The writer knows what they saw, but not all the details make it into the scenario that helped them arrive at their decision, and we are left to guess at what occurred so we can attempt to help or direct them to the appropriate authorities.

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