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Question Number: 26863

Law 12 - Fouls and Misconduct 9/30/2012

RE: Select Under 17

Danny of Plano, Texas United States asks...

Blue attacker breaks free from defense and sprints down the field with the ball toward goal. About half-way down, the keeper begins to run out from goal toward the approaching attacker. Once they almost reach each other, the attacker, seeing the keeper, taps the ball off to his right in attempt to evade the keeper. Just after he does this, the keeper fouls the player anyway as the player was unable to avoid the keeper, even though the keeper never made contact with the ball.

My question is, would the correct card here be red for denying an obvious goal, or would it be yellow, since at the time of the foul the player was not headed directly at goal due to the flick to the right.

My opinion is that a yellow and a stern talking was the correct sanction here since not all four D's of DOGSO were met (since direction was no longer directly at goal), but I would love to get your opinion on the matter also.

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Danny
My opinion is that this foul as described is a dismissal for denying a goal scoring opportunity. Even by moving the ball to the right of the opponent that is a normal part of play and once the player had got past the goalkeeper his next movement would have been either to have a shot at goal or a further dribble goalwards.
The direction element for me is for situations where the player is headed totally away from goal at an oblique angle near to goal. That movement put the player into zones where the goal scoring opportunity is greatly reduced if not eliminated and one where the player may even not attempt the chance.
I am also of the view that many referees look for the 'out clause' when it comes to denying an obvious goal scoring opportunity and direction or control are usually used. My advice is to look at the manner and totality of the offence. A goalkeeper that comes out of the goal and cynically pulls the attacker down in a one on one in a position where had he not done so the player would have taken an opportunity to score then he should be dismissed. The Ds are only to help referees in their assessment and they should not be used as an 'excuse' not to dismiss.
One of the great goal scored by Manchester United was against Barcelona to win the UEFA Cup in 1991. Here is the video
As you can see Hughes is facing the corner flag after a heavy second touch. Had the goalkeeper managed to pull the player down that would have been blatantly unfair and a DOGSO. Yes the 2nd touch by the striker was 'heavy' putting him in a much more difficult position yet it would be difficult for the referee to judge what happened next in a foul situation. We know from the fact that the foul did not happened that with a better 2nd touch he would have been in an even better position with little doubt about the goal scoring opportunity even though he was still moving towards the corner flag.
So the referee has to interpret what would have happened had the foul not been committed. That comes from knowing the game, looking at similar no foul situations, where the ball ends up after players' touch of the ball etc. Reemeber it is about the opportunity for a goal not about whether a goal would have been scored.

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Answer provided by Referee Dennis Wickham

I agree with Ref McHugh completely.

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Answer provided by Referee Michelle Maloney

Assuming that 'breaks free from the defense' means no other defenders are nearby, leaving the goalkeeper as the only obstacle to the goal, the referee should have no hesitation in sending the keeper off for this offense. Direction to the goal is a general description giving the referee wide latitude as to what is not directed at the goal. Common sense would tell us that going thru the keeper is a bad idea, whereas pushing the ball slightly to one side is a great avoidance maneuver, and is simply not intended to be a direction away from the goal.

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