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Question Number: 25596

Law 12 - Fouls and Misconduct 10/13/2011

RE: Competive Adult

Trevor of Dundalk, Louth Ireland asks...

Does a player have to use a name when calling for the ball? It is my understanding that there is no such rule in The Laws of the Game. A player who deliberatly shouts at an opponenent to gain an advanage has commited a foul and this incident they should be cautioned and an indirect free kick awarded.
I woul greatly appreciate a response as a number of players have told me that I am wrong as a lot of refereees do insist on the use of a name when calling for the ball.
Thank you

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Trevor
This question has been asked on many occasions in recent times. You are indeed 100% correct that there is no such law in the Laws of the Game.
What the Laws state is that verbal distraction of an opponent during play or at a restart is a cautionable offence. The restart after the caution is an IDFK.
What has happened over the years is that a myth has developed in the game that not using a name in calling for the ball or giving instructions to a team mate without using a name is an indirect free kick. Unfortunately that myth continues with teams insisting that player use a name and referees awarding an IDFK only.
In a game yesterday I was an AR and I noticed a free kick was awarded in the other half with no apparent foul or flag. I asked the referee at half time and he said that the player shouted 'Leave it'. I told him that it had to be a caution before he could award the IDFK and while he agreed he said that he did not caution for this. I told him that if it was not deserving of a caution then there was no offence and play should have continued.
So unfortunatley yet another sitautions that adds to the myth. What would you expect the player & those close to that decision where the IDFK has been awarded against them to say when in a similar situation the referee tells them that it is not an IDFK? Therein lies the problem. To me its a cheap call for an IDFK much like the 'foul throw' call on a throw in that is legal but perhaps different. Referees should allow play to continue.
You might have a look at Question 25490 which shows what does happen in games. Please raise it at your next Branch meeting to inform colleagues that they are getting this wrong.

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Answer provided by Referee Keith Contarino

A player that deceives an opponent by any kind of verbal action has committed misconduct, not a foul, and the punishment is a yellow card with a caution. It is a popular myth that a player must give his name when calling for the ball.

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