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Question Number: 22538

Law 12 - Fouls and Misconduct 11/18/2009

RE: Pro Under 19

Todd of Houston, TX USA asks...

I'm always interested in learning more about what amount and kind of contact is to be tolerated at various levels. Taking a look at the Torres goal shown in the 6th minute in this video, I'm wondering about the potential for awarding a penalty here if the shot doesn't go in the back of the net. I think the best angle for judging that is around 6:45 showing Ferdinand pulling on Torres' shoulder and arm. Thanks in advance! You guys have really helped me a lot in the last year.

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Todd
If you look closely at Torres you will note that the contact from Ferdinand is 'ignored' and he is more intent on playing the ball. At this level there is always this type of contact and at the speed that the game is played at it is rarely seen and as a result ignored. Players don't even look for it. If this goal had not been scored there would have been no complaint from Torres or Liverpool and for me it is trifling even though under a strict interpretation of the law it is a foul. Liverpool would be surprised to get a penalty here.
Actually the tackle that caused most debate was Carragher V Carrick at 4.36. Many referees believed that this was a penalty which I agreed with but it was hotly debated. If that tackle happened at the half way line it would have been a free kick and probably a caution. I think that the lack of reaction from Carrick plus the contact with the ball influenced the referee's decision. The ref did not have the view we had nor the benefit of slow motion and it did not look a foul in real time.
Also another point to take into account is that the English game has a lot more physicality and robustness to the challenges and there is a debate now about this when the player makes contact with the ball first and then the player. IFAB/FIFA want to eliminate these type of challenges.

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Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

If Torres had of gone down there is always a slight possibility the foul could be called. Since a goal resulted it is speculation to say it would or would not have been so! The defender's arm was holding and pulling Torres back. Credit Torres for not falling easily and the shot on the goal if scored or saved no foul is going to be called. I think Torres must fall and not get a decent shot if the referee was to be convinced to award a penalty but then a possibility of going down easily and a caution for diving! When we speculate what if or why as in the pull down of Owen being DOGSO or not! or the slide tackle of Carragher being reckless despite a touch of the ball with no call. We are not the match referee blessed with a one time, single angle view, in a micro second of pressure and tension! The fact the Carrick got up made no fuss yet Owen, Sir Alec were shall I be polite and say animated, is a reflection of the player/coach character more so than a referee choice!

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Answer provided by Referee Steve Montanino

I don't think you should be asking, 'if the ball hadn't gone in the back of the net.' You don't decide a foul based on that factor. Instead, you would decide it was a foul and give advantage to allow play on to score the goal.

In this case, you see this kind of contact from the players who are playing for the ball all over the pitch at this level. In my opinion, giving a penalty for this contact would be extraordinarily SOFT! Goal or not, this is never a penalty at this level.

Perhaps knocking it down many levels to the young youth game, you could make a case that this is holding and should be called a foul. But again, in the context of this level of play, this was not a foul.

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