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Question Number: 22877

Law 12 - Fouls and Misconduct 2/27/2010

RE: AYSO REC Under 13

Mike of Chino Hills, CA USA asks...

I was just watching the Arsenal vs Stoke City game. Stoke City's Ryan Shawcross was red carded for a foul that broke the leg of Arsenal's Aaron Ramsey. It was reported as a 'horrific tackle' by Shawcross. I'm an Arsenal fan, but to me it looked more like the unfortunate result of a 50/50 collison. Shawcross was dribbling the ball first. Ramsey came in fast to challenge the ball. For the purpose of game management, I can see why the referee red carded Shawcross given the severity of the injury to Ramsey. But I feel like my foul recognition must be way off, because I just don't see the foul. That said, the referee probably handled correctly. Side with the injured player, and red card for its severity.

Here is a link:

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Referee Mike
The Stoke player used excessive force in this challenge. It was not malicious but it was certainly dangerous and it ended up in what could be a career threatening injury.
As you know the Law states
"A player is guilty of serious foul play if he uses excessive force or brutality against an opponent when challenging for the ball when it is in play.
A tackle that endangers the safety of an opponent must be sanctioned as serious foul play.
"Using excessive force" means that the player has far exceeded the necessary use of force and is in danger of injuring his opponent."
So absolutely correct decision by Mr Walton and it is a stonewall red. The player will also face a longer ban than the standard 3 games. Players have to realise that when they challenge for the ball that they cannot risk this type of injury through the use of this level of force. Yes it was not intentional but nonetheless the result shows the result of using excessive force in the challenge.
We all wish Aaron Ramsey a speedy recovery

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Answer provided by Referee Dennis Wickham

Tackles become fouls when they are performed in a manner that is careless; reckless (foul and caution); or with excessive force (foul and send-off).

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Answer provided by Referee Nathan Lacy

This tackle speaks well to the responsibility of the players to carefully judge the type of challenge they are about to execute and the potential results of said challenge. We have all seen hard challenges that just end up sending somebody butt-over teakettle for which a yellow gets awarded because the players get up, brush themselves off and get on with the game. Because of the way both players came into the tackle, Shawcross and Ramsey both ended up with their legs in the 'line of fire' - both took a significant hit. But, as we know is sometimes the case, even though the tackle had the potential for seriously injuring both players it was Ramsey who came out second best on this event because it was his leg that was at the wrong angle and ended up getting broken. Looking at the replay, it appeared to me that the ball was midway between the two players and they BOTH attacked the ball without regard for the other player. However, we as referees must now act on the event with which we have been presented and based on the evidence we see on the field the unquestionable conclusion must be that Shawcross executed a tackle that endangered the safety of the opponent - DUH - and the red card MUST be awarded. Might game management issues have been a matter of consideration for the referee? Sure. I know I would have given that aspect serious consideration. But if you consider the factors of speed, distance, and the intensity of the tackle made by Shawcross I think you would be very hard pressed, if not downright irresponsible, to not sanction it as SFP. All the best,

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