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Question Number: 28364

Law 12 - Fouls and Misconduct 4/24/2014

RE: any

John Carter of Calgary , Canada asks...

This question is a follow up to question 28083

Scoring a goal with the head is a legal method! For a referee to define or infer it as a cautionable act perhaps could be tempting given a specific set of circumstances primarily the behaviour of the individual scoring the goal, the antics following and anything he or she might say but it could be a simple act of scoring a goal in a spirit of having fun!

A case in point in a recent match there were 4 goals scored by head including a flick up from foot to head, a diving header on a rolling ball as well as the crawling nudge thusly described earlier. This team clearly outmatched their opponent's so their coach told them only a headed goal would be tolerated in an effort not to run the score plus the ball had to be passed.

In another case a parent offered a reward for a headed goal so one was invented in a manner less likely tried or thought as orthodox but certainly not illegal.

If these goals were disallowed then the culprits cautioned, with indfks out I hold the opinion the referee has exceeded his mandate as an impartial arbitrator of justice. I ask you could the referee be held accountable as misapplying the lotg if such action was protested?

Certainly the defending team could feel less than glee but are these type of actions, deemed unsporting ONLY by some, really enough to disallow legal goals?

What if the player scoring used his back heel or sole of his foot as he nonchalantly turned and walked away or used his knee or flicked it up and he head juggled it over Or stood there on the goal line and yelled 'This is too easy then holler for a team mate who had yet to score then shield the ball until the team mate could get there and score.

OR choose not to take the easy free goal but kick it all the way out as if he was a defender and go against his own team by continually passing up goals then passing it to the opposition.

Slippery slopes I be seeing here

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi John

These type of situation happen in one sided, unbalanced games when the result is well beyond doubt. In the vast majority of games player don't get the opportunity to do this so it rarely arises. When it does so it can cause very real match control problems. Opponents can get frustrated and upset about being humiliated by disrespectful behaviour and can decide to take retribution.

In my opinion the referee has not exceeded his mandate here as he is perfectly entitled to caution for "acts in a manner which shows a lack of respect for the game" So when "fun" starts to interfere with match control then it is incumbent on the referee to take whatever action is necessary to prevent this

In addition I would say it is impossible that the referee will held accountable for his actions should it be protested and there is no misapplication of the Law. It is in the opinion of the referee. Anyway who is going to protest?

The most recent high profile of this type of situation took place in 2011 between UAE and Lebanon when the kicker back heeled a penalty kick. The game ended 7-2. The referee allowed the goal however the player's coach took grave exception to it and promptly substituted him citing ""This should have not happened. I think what happened is disrespectful. We cannot accept anyone in our team who does not respect the opponent.' Would it have happened if it mattered? You can be sure that it would not. As an aside the young player was killed in a car accident some months later. Anyway at this level the referee IMO correctly allowed the goal. Having said that he could have acted differently should he decided to.

So I stand over fully my original answer and I gave the referee three possible options. Personally I don't like it and it shows a lack of respect for the opponents. One of the fundamental tenets of FIFA's Fair Play Code states ""Fair Play means respect. Without opponents there can be no game. They have the same rights as you have, including the right to be respected."" I am aware that in a recent one sided underage game the losing opponents in a very one sided game walked off at the request of their coach when no respect was being shown. That's not much fun for either side. I personally have no problem with teams getting beat heavily provided it is done in way that does not ridicule, undermine or show a lack of respect for opponents.

Referee are in effect the custodians of the Laws of the Game, ensuring that the game is played according to all the sporting, moral and ethical principles of Fair Play and the Laws of the Game.

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Answer provided by Referee Dennis Wickham

Referees are granted discretion under the laws of the game in the belief they will use it wisely in keeping the game fair, safe, and entertaining. Everything that enters the net is not a goal. IMO, there is no place in our game for taunting

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