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Question Number: 22810

Law 12 - Fouls and Misconduct 2/10/2010

RE: Rec Adult

Kevin of Vancouver, BC Canada asks...

So the other day our guy has a breakaway, pushes the ball past the goalie and attempts to run past him. The goalie grabs our player around the legs and drags him down, while the ball rolls into the empty net. The ref applies advantage on the play and calls goal but no yellow or red on the goalie. We like the advantage call, but are livid about no red card. When I look up the rules, it says 'When a ref applies advantage and a goal is scored, the player cannot be sent off but can be cautioned'. So the goalie could have decapitated our player and give him a kick in the nuts for good measure, knowing he couldn't be sent off. What a weird rule.

Answer provided by Referee Jason Wright

As you state, though you appear to have misinterpreted a little, when a referee applies advantage when a foul has denied an obvious goalscoring opportunity (DOGSO) he is effectively stating that the obvious goalscoring opportunity remains, thus has not been denied. As such, the defender will not be sent off for DOGSO, but he should be cautioned for the attempt (personally, it's quite rare that I see this happen unless it's a particularly bad tackle that would normally warrant a caution by itself).

However, if the defender is guilty of serious foul play or violent conduct he will still be sent off - it is incorrect to say that a player cannot be sent off for anything once advantage has been applied.

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Answer provided by Referee Dennis Wickham

As Ref Wright writes, there is a huge difference between not sending off a player who tries, but because of advantage, does not actually deny an obvious goal scoring opportunity and sending off a player who commits violent conduct or serious foul play even when a goal is scored.

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Answer provided by Referee Debbie Hoelscher

It sounds like you were reading that part of the Law under which the definition/application of the misconduct of denies an obvious goal scoring opportunity (DOGSO) to an opponent moving towards the player's goal by an offense punishable by a free kick or a penalty kick. By the description provided in the question, the obvious goal scoring opportunity was in fact, NOT denied because a goal was scored. There is no way a referee could send off and show the red card to a member of the defending team for DOGSO.

But there is nothing to stop the referee from sending the goal keeper off for serious foul play for his clearly excessive force used while 'tackling' for the ball.

As a side, please note exactly what the LOTG note regarding this particular misconduct says: '.... [DOGSO] to an opponent moving towards the player's goal by an offense punishable by a FREE KICK or a penalty kick. ' (emphasis mine). Note that FREE kicks include indirect free kicks as well -- NOT just fouls. So, going back to your scenario, IF the ball did not go into the goal because a member of the defending team committed a misconduct (punishable by a free kick -- an indirect free kick), which by the act of that misconduct denied the attacking team moving towards goal an obvious goal scoring opportunity, then the referee must stop play for that misconduct, and instead of cautioning and showing the offending team member the yellow card, would instead send off and show the red card to that offending player.

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Answer provided by Referee Keith Contarino

Well, you misunderstand being sent off for denying a goal scoring opportunity and being sent off for serious foul play or violent conduct. There's nothing weird about what it says in Law 12. How can you possibly send someone off for denying a goal when, in fact, a goal was scored? If the goalkeeper commits serious foul play or violent conduct, the referee may still wait a second or two to see if the ball goes in the net. If it does, it's a goal AND the keeper is still sent off for his violent action. If the keeper went after your player's head or as you say 'kicked him in the nuts' he would be sent off for violent conduct. If the ball does NOT score, the keeper is sent off and your team gets a penalty kick.

In your example, perhaps a caution could have been awarded but it doesn't sound like either serious foul play or violent conduct.

So exactly why are you 'livid' about no red card? Or are you not, now that the Law has been explained by our panel?

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Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Kevin
Nothing has been denied to the team in fact a goal has been scored so it cannot be a 'Denying an obvious goal scoring opportunity ' (DOGSO) dismissal. Now it can be a red card for serious foul play (SFP) so if the goalkeeper used excessive force against an opponent while challenging for the ball he would be dismissed. This clearly did not happen in your scenario.
As regards a caution the referee has discretion in the matter. If the goalkeeper dove at the feet of a player to grab the ball and it is opinion of the referee that a genuine attempt to win the ball was made even though a foul was committed then it is appropriate not to caution. If the attempt was viewed by the referee as a cynical drag down then a caution should be issued. To quote the Law
'There are different circumstances when a player must be cautioned for unsporting behaviour, e.g. if a player:
? holds an opponent for the tactical purpose of pulling the opponent away from the ball or preventing the opponent from getting to the ball'
I certainly hope that the team did not show any disrespect to the referee for the correct application of the DOGSO law. As regards the caution there is discretion there for the referee and certainly at recreational adult level with a goal being scored.

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