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Question Number: 28677

Character, Attitude and Control 8/20/2014

RE: Competitive Under 15

Aaron Speca of Virginia Beach, VA USA asks...

This question is a follow up to question 28669

Thanks so much for your response! It is interesting to read the different perspectives and ways of looking at a play. After I submitted the question, based on some feedback from various players who referenced an earlier incident in the same game that I did not recall, I found a clip of something that occurred just a few minutes earlier in the same game, where a forward for Black kicked the keeper in the face in a manner that appears both avoidable and unwarranted. There was no verbal warning or sanction against the forward on that play either.

I can't help but feel that if the CR had made some kind of effort to warn the forward on that play, at the least, that perhaps the later play could have either been avoided, or the keeper might not have felt the such an urge to retaliate.


Answer provided by Referee Dennis Wickham

'I can't help but feel that if the CR had made some kind of effort to warn the forward on that play, at the least, that perhaps the later play could have either been avoided, or the keeper might not have felt the such an urge to retaliate.'

This is the golden thread of the art of proactive refereeing. IMO, everything the referee does (or doesn't do) can affect and influence the players. Sometimes a quiet word by the referee is the most powerful response.

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Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

As Robin might say "HOLY FACE DENT BATMAN!"
Wow no wonder the keeper was in a surly mood! I think more than a word was necessary but certainly some intervention was required in my peeved opinion! This is a prime example of poor foul recognition and a FAILURE to provide the keeper with the safety she deserves at her position. My colleague REF WICKHAM's statement on proactive refereeing is very apt but even more so is FOUL RECOGNITION. Intervention is required because it is indeed a foul, not just a reason to give verbal reprimand of an unsafe, unfair act! I rip a strip off any player who thinks they can causally give the keeper a whack when they make no substantial effort to avoid doing so!

Do not misunderstand, a keeper deserves no more protection than any player on the pitch but the NATURE of her position places her at risk more often because she can in fact use her hands and is willing to go down in front of kicking players to grab the ball. Now both have an equal right to try and play the ball BUT and in my mind it is a big BUT!!! When the keeper has ball possession the opponent may NOT challenge and must make EVERY possible effort to AVOID contact! This dragging a foot across the keepers face is a DFK out and show the yellow card to caution in my opinion. No need to think this was necessary or unavoidable! !

FIFA QUOTES that pertain to this type of incident!

Start Quotes
'A goalkeeper is considered to be in control of the ball:
while the ball is between his hands or between his hand and any surface (e.g. ground, own body)
while holding the ball in his outstretched open hand
while in the act of bouncing it on the ground or tossing it into the air

When a goalkeeper has gained possession of the ball with his hands, he cannot be challenged by an opponent. (AN OBVIOUS, VERY CLEAR STATEMENT!)

Offences committed against goalkeepers
It is an offence for a player to prevent a goalkeeper from releasing the ball from his hands
A player must be penalised for playing in a dangerous manner if he kicks or attempts to kick the ball when the goalkeeper is in the process of releasing it
It is an offence to restrict the movement of the goalkeeper by unfairly impeding him, e.g. at the taking of a corner kick

Playing in a dangerous manner
Playing in a dangerous manner is defined as any action that, while trying to play the ball, threatens injury to someone (including the player himself). It is committed with an opponent nearby and prevents the opponent from playing the ball for fear of injury.'
End Quotes

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Answer provided by Referee Jason Wright

Hi Aaron,

Thanks for posting this scenario. Sometimes a collision will be unavoidable - by the nature of the keeper's position, they're diving on a ball at player's feet, so the keeper will sometimes come off second best through no fault of the attacker. But the inherent nature of the role is what referees need to consider, while being careful we're not so overzealous in protecting the keeper that we automatically foul anybody who comes close.

Was the incident here avoidable? In my view (though slow-motion can sometimes distort things) it was completely avoidable. There was just no reason for the player to drag the foot.

A foul is careless at minimum; it was clearly that much, at least. So a foul should have been awarded. The referee may want to allow play to flow as the keeper has the ball anyway, but sometimes play should be stopped as a clear message to the players.

Should anything more be awarded? Well, the foot drag was either a careless action from a player who didn't know what to do, or a malicious kick from a player who has been taught how to put a cheap shot on a player. The 'foot drag' is a tactic I've seen some players use to kick the keeper in the head, and I've seen very young players - even girls - coached in some very dirty tactics. On the other hand, referees will often give young players (especially females, to be completely honest) the benefit of the doubt; youth football is not benefitted from overzealous refereeing.

Only experience can lead the referee to know if it was completely innocent, or a player making something malicious look innocent. I personally believe the other video you posted was innocent and unintentional, but I'm indecided about this. Regardless, intent isn't required for a card (though a skilled referee can read the intent behind a player's actions and judge them appropriately) ; a yellow card only requires the action be reckless, and a red is using excessive force and endangering the safety of an opponent. Given that there was very little force involved (and it wasn't the studs), I'd say a red would only really be justifiable if the referee felt it was intentional. If not, I believe a yellow would be appropriate, but I could accept a referee awarding a foul (with a stern word) at minimum, though I think that's a bit too weak.

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Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

As I have said many times before there is always 'more to the story' than shown in an isolated incident. The 'moment of truth' in the game can be how a referee handles a situation that on the face of it might seem innocuous earlier in the game.
In this case I believe the referee should have taken action against the forward. It was certainly a foul and IMO a very stern word or a caution. That sends out a very clear message to all the players that this type of conduct is unacceptable. Also the reaction of the forward by not showing any concern for the goalkeeper is a No No for me. Accidental contact can and does happen. The player here though has shown no concern for the goalkeeper which deserve sanction.
That leads me to a point about one of the differences between the men's games and women's. Female players can have very long memories regarding rough treatment by opponents. In the men's game players will very often retaliate for a hard or unfair challenge almost immediately. It is likely that a goalkeeper or his team mates would have reacted immediately to this which would force immediate action by the referee
Women, on the other hand, are much more patient than men to "seek revenge." It is not uncommon for a referee to deal with an incident in a match between opponents only to discover that it is retribution for a clash much earlier in the game.
Therein lies a real danger for the referee and match control. Just because there is no reaction does not mean that it is forgot about or insignificant.
It certainly explains the "retribution" taken later by the goalkeeper which was done in a similar manner. Having said all that players cannot take retribution and not expect sanction. It may be hard to take but players have to rise above that. How many times have we seen retaliation on violent conduct that ends up with both players getting dismissed. Require very strong discipline which many do not possess.

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Answer provided by Referee MrRef

Hi Aaron,
Your contribution to soccer in posing your questions is an education to all who review the material, on how important seeing, not just watching is!
If you read through the responses you can see the common thread which binds us all!

A referee is a MATCH condition! Each sets the table for the next!

Much like the weather, too much sun, where a referee tries to out shine the players by overreacting! Too much rain, we are floundering in the mud, from not enough support! Both are bad.
We want that balmy, casual shirt sleeve weather, where a referee is a duck floating serenely across the water. The feet can be thrashing away in mental consternation and battle, but what we see is calm, cool, collected and happy to be there!

Players must adapt to the referee, to what one can only hope, is a level of consistency they can rely on. No matter the provocations a player, difficult as feeling the pain of injustice might be, must still try to not respond foolishly.

From the u-8 ankle biters to the elite professionals and all recreational matches in between, all require some form of player and match management. Players will retaliate or play accordingly to how a referee pays attention to the events which comprise the entire match!
Every single incident is in effect, a decision the referee has made, to act or not act, setting the tone for a match, to flow or come unglued!

A referee with integrity sees what he sees but does he see well? Are all lines of communication open?

Foul Recognition ( the ability to tell fair from foul )and Foul Tolerance (the ability to ignore foul as fair) formulate the most dynamic conditions of proactive refereeing! Which is understanding player's expectations and their acceptance levels and how that is compatible with their current understanding and knowledge of fair play within the laws and spirit of the game! The ability to scan the playing field and to recognize the content and meaning of what you see, not just watch, amid what reality is actually unfolding!

The REALITY of a match for a referee is we have a fleeting moment of time, NEVER to be repeated, to be in that critical spot, at precisely the right angle to see without ANY doubt and make a decision to stop play or continue.

It takes considerable character to become a good referee. To apply the rules of law within the framework of practical game management is no easy task for the fainthearted. Still refereeing is a job and it helps to do it well!

Players are more willing to forgive a mistake than a lack of effort. A referee earns respect by having a clear understanding of the LOTG with consideration of the Spirit when enforcing them, by staying on top of play with focus and effort, by knowing when to laugh, when to listen and when not to! When a quiet word, works better than ripping a public verbal strip, but still ripping the strip when needed and by diligently assessing each and every performance to do better!

Every association should encourage insightful programs dedicated to providing on going training and support for our future referees. Referee development is inter- dependant on the coaching and player development including public education of parents and spectators. I urge all, conduct seminars, share your concerns and information between all parties. Use the coaches and players for positive referee feedback as well as constructive referee criticism. Supply and follow through with match reports, fair play assessments and evaluations. Give the referee the tools to PREVENT a match from imploding. It is the beautiful game, it is supposed to be fun even at competitive levels

From our pitch to your pitch in the spirit of fair play

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