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Question Number: 25872

Law 12 - Fouls and Misconduct 1/5/2012

RE: competitive Under 15

H. Moore of Houston, TX USA asks...

Situation: Indirect kick is awarded to the Blue team, 40 yards from the Red goal. The referee properly announces and signals the indirect kick; the kick is taken and is headed into the upper corner of the goal. There was no Blue attacker with even a remote chance of playing the ball as it approached the goal. With the refs arm still up, a Red defender (not the GK) at the goal line raises his hand and deflects the ball over the goal line but prevents the ball from entering the goal. A PK was awarded (and stopped by the GK).
Question: Should the CR (a)caution the Red defender for unsporting behavior for the intentionial handling, (b) send off the defender for DOGSO, or (c) proceed with the PK with no misconduct occurring. My choice on the field was 'a' reasoning that because the kick was indirect there was no scoring opportunity but the handling was intentional and blatant even if it only hurt the defender's own team.

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi
As a goal cannot be scored directly from an indirect free kick so there is no possibility of denying an obvious goal or goal scoring opportunity. The correct decision is to award a penalty kick.
As there was no possibility of anything other than a goal kick being awarded to the defending team IMO a caution is not required.
However if there was a possibility of another outcome such as a rebound, deflection etc to an attacker then a caution would be appropriate for a foul committed for the tactical purpose of interfering with or breaking up a promising attack.
As regards your issue of a caution to the player that is the decision you made on the day in the circumstances. For those that did not know the Law they might expect a dismissal for such a blatant handling on the goal line. The player and team may have been relieved that it was only a caution. The caution I suspect did remind players of the unsporting nature of the action albeit that a goal could not be scored.



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Answer provided by Referee Jason Wright

I agree wholeheartedly with Ref McHugh.

Though, I would like to pick up on your reasoning for your decision.

You said that you chose a because 'the handling was intentional and blatant'

As for 'intentional' - we only ever penalise cases of deliberate handling. And in regards to blatant - a lot of people seem to think that really blatant cases of deliberate handling should result in a caution, but this is not so. As such cases only hurt that player's own team and no opponent has been put at risk (as would be the case for other blatant fouls), there's really no need to caution a player for blatantly and deliberately handling the ball.

The only times when we should look at cautioning a player are when he's looking to gain a big tactical advantage by doing so - such as deliberately handling to break up an attack, deliberately handling the ball to score a goal, or attempting to deny an obvious goal or goalscoring opportunity by deliberately handling the ball (but not succeeding in doing so - but use your judgement; the card is not mandatory here)



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Answer provided by Referee Dennis Wickham

The question for a sendoff by handling is simple: but for the handling would a goal have been scored. In this case, the answer is no. A goal cannot be scored directly on a direct free kick. Had there been no handling, the restart would have been a goal kick.

This does not mean, however that the defender should not be cautioned for the deliberate, tactical handling of the ball. (Although his coach likely will have his own punishment in mind because the defender gave away a penalty kick.) It does not mean that the defender shouldn't receive a lecture, with a reminder that the defender is very lucky not to be sent off.



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Answer provided by Referee Keith Contarino

Since an indirect free kick was directly going into the goal, there can be no DOGSO.
Did the Red defender gain a tactical advantage or break up an attack? No. You may still caution for USB but IMO just a lecture and a PK will do.



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