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Question Number: 27941

Law 12 - Fouls and Misconduct 10/27/2013

RE: Rec Adult

SK of Salem, NH United States asks...

This question is a follow up to question 25671

I see this happen all the time:

A player has his back to the field and is trying to control the ball, a defender approaches from behind, quickly, unbeknownst (apparently) to the player trying to control the ball. The player trying to control the ball then makes a 'high' kick and strikes or almost strikes the player coming from behind in the face with his foot.

Is this 'dangerous play' on the part of the player raising his leg, or did the defender put himself in harms way? Does it matter if the player trying to control the ball did not know the defender was there?

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Each situation is different. However players must expect opponents to be close and to make a challenge for the ball. A raised boot that is head high is never acceptable and one that makes contact with a player's head.
It is certainly a direct free kick offence and there is a high probability that misconduct has also been committed.

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Answer provided by Referee Jason Wright

Hi SK,

A player is entitled to approach another player to challenge the ball - I can't imagine any scenario where that could be dangerous play from the approaching player.

Players must always try to remain aware of the presence of other players on the field and play in a manner that doesn't put those players at risk.

Lifting the foot to head height isn't an automatic foul - if nobody is nearby there's no problem. Doing it when an opponent is nearby could definitely be playing in a dangerous manner - it's the responsibility of that player to ensure he's not putting anybody at risk, not the responsibility of other players to not approach him just in case he lifts his foot.

If that high kick makes contact then it's a direct free kick for kicking an opponent, and the referee now needs to seriously consider whether the player was acting recklessly or using excessive force, and decide whether he needs to caution or send off that player.

If that player wants to try a bicycle kick or something similar, then it's his responsibility to ensure nobody is immediately behind him who would be put at risk by this.

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Answer provided by Referee Keith Contarino

If no contact is made it's playing in a dangerous manner on the part of the player executing the high kick. If he kicks the opponent in the head, at minimum it's a direct free kick foul and likely to be accompanied by a card of some kind.

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