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Question Number: 29072

Law 12 - Fouls and Misconduct 12/26/2014

RE: Select Other

James Scaglione of Miamisburg, Ohio United States asks...

In a game team A targets the best player of team B. After recognizing team A has done so you instruct them to stop. Another different player from team A fouls the same player from team B again and you show them a yellow card. Would you call this for unsporting behavior or persistent infringement? This might have been the players first foul but it was against the same opponent others on their team had targeted.

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi James
It is unsporting behaviour. The accepted understanding of persistently infringing the Laws of the Game is player based rather than team based.
Once the referee considers the foul to be deserving of a caution such as tactical in nature that is sufficient to be unsporting behaviour and it makes no difference if it is the players first foul or not.

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Answer provided by Referee Gene Nagy


Cautions and send offs are given to players,never teams.
Can you imagine if 11 different players fouled the opponents in quick succession the referee cautions the last player on the basis of what his team mates have done? The problem is that it is the player, who carries the caution, not the team. So to answer your question, the player, who fouled the opponent is penalized and disciplined on the basis of what he did. And to clarify, the referee cannot caution the player for a simple foul just because the opponent has been fouled by his teammates.

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Answer provided by Referee Gary Voshol

While recognizing this corporate team behavior is very similar to recognizing behavior by one player for persistent infringement, it actually falls under unsporting behavior. Make an announcement that there are entirely too many fouls and it needs to stop NOW. If it doesn't stop, a caution or two should bring things back to reasonableness. If not, get enough cautions out there and there start to be send-offs for second cautions. If nothing works to get them in line, you can abandon the game, but that would be an extreme case. The key is that you need to be seen to take action, so that the victims don't feel the need to protect themselves by retaliating.

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