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Question Number: 26504

Law 12 - Fouls and Misconduct 6/26/2012

RE: Travel (select) Under 12

Margi of Lititz, PA USAPAUSANIAS asks...

This happened at an 8v8 tournament. My son was the goalkeeper and an opposing player shot on goal and my son had come out of the goal to challenge the player. The ball was blocked but continued to roll past him. My son, the goalie, turned on his knees and grabbed the player by his waist (who went past him after the ball) and my son jumped on the ball to prevent the goal. My son was issued a red card and removed from the game. Another goalie was brought in and a pk was given to the other team.

My question is, should he have been given a yellow card first?

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Margi
In this situation your son through his foul on the attacking player has denied and I quote 'an obvious goalscoring opportunity to an opponent moving towards the player's goal by an offence punishable by a free kick or a penalty kick.' That is one of the seven red card sending off offences in Law 12.
In determining if it was an obvious goal scoring opportunity the referee takes into account four factors which are referred to as the 4 Ds and they are
# Distance between the offence and the goal
# Distance between the player and the ball and the likelihood of keeping or gaining control of the ball
# Direction of the play
# Defenders location and numbers
From your description it reads to me that the conditions were present and had the foul not been committed there was every chance that a goal scoring opportunity would have existed and therefore the correct decision was made.
If say the foul had happened close to the corner flag or there were multiple defenders behind the goalkeeper or the player did not have possession of the ball then the goal opportunity was not obvious and that would result in a yellow card caution.
The red card dismissal is there to prevent players including goalkeepers committing fouls to deny a goal or goal scoring opportunity. Before the Law was changed many players happily accepted a yellow card and a free kick. Not so any longer

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Answer provided by Referee Jason Wright

Hi Margi,

Ref McHugh has explained how it appears that a red card offence has occurred. I would like to add, in direct response to your query about a yellow card, that a yellow card is not a prerequiste before giving out a red card - For any red card offence (except a second yellow card) a straight red card can be given without a yellow card being given first. In fact, it could well be the player's first foul of the match - but if he crosses that line, then he crosses that line.

Denying an obvious goalscoring opportunity is a mandatory red card. If the referee determines that an obvious goalscoring opportunity exists, then he has no choice but to issue a red card.

It sounds like a red card was the correct decision here.

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Answer provided by Referee Dennis Wickham

My son was a keeper, and did almost the same thing while in high school.
He was shown a yellow card.

In the car on the drive home, he told me it should have been a red card.
Keepers know when the referee lacks the courage to send off a player who denies an obvious goal scoring opportunity.

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