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Question Number: 29136

Law 18 - Common Sense 1/26/2015

RE: NFHS High School

Ron of Kerrville, TX US asks...

An attacking player weaves in and out of the opponent's penalty area with the ball and is pushed down hard while one foot is in the penalty area but the ball is clearly outside. Should a PK be awarded? Likewise, if the player is clearly outside the penalty area and is pushed down while the ball is on the penalty area line, should a PK be awarded? Thanks

Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

Hi Ron,
Ask yourself where is the POINT of the infraction, not where the ball is or where one of his feet are . The ball is important only in a handling infraction or for determining offside or if the ball is inside or outside the boundary lines

If I shove his shoulder on the right which is outside the PA and he falls into the penalty area onto his left shoulder the DFK is outside as THAT was the point of the PUSHING FOUL .

If I push him on his left shoulder which is INSIDE the PA and he falls on his right shoulder OUTSIDE the PA it is a PK INSIDE because THAT was the POINT of the PUSHING infraction.

A Holding foul is looked at slightly different in that it is a continuous foul where the foul is on going as LONG as the hold/grabbing contact is maintained. Which is why a hold started outside can be advantageously allowed to develop into a PK inside.
Fouls like a PUSH or TRIP are direct point of contact decisions.

In decisions which are close always look to the AR to get their input but you as the referee hold ...ahem ... the fate of the player in your hands!
Remember as well DOGSO criteria might apply as well as the careless ,reckless or excessive nature of the FOUL itself.


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Answer provided by Referee Jason Wright

Hi Ron,

A foul against an opponent occurs where the contact on the foul occurs. The location of the ball is irrelevant.

Sometimes you see a situation where an attacker is running into the PA, but as he's crossing the line his back foot (still outside the PA) is clipped. This wouldn't be a penalty (though it can be difficult to judge these accurately).

This is different to handling the ball (either as a foul, or when it's in the keeper's possession), where it's the overall location of the ball that matters, not the point on the ball that's handled.

This is where the AR comes into play. The AR will normally have a clearer view on these 'edge of the PA' scenarios, so if it's outside he should move tos tand in line with the edge of the PA, or if it's in the PA he should move into position for a PK (after eye contact, of course).

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Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Ron
The position of the ball is irrelevant to the award of a foul. In fact the ball can be elsewhere on the field of play and an offence can still be called.
So if a player is positioned outside the penalty area and is pushed into the penalty area the foul is called at the point of the contact which is outside.
Now the challenge will always be for referees to determine the point of contact particularly with dynamic moving players. If a player has a foot inside the penalty area then the contact may look like it is inside and the referee will award a penalty kick.
In my game at the weekend a player made a foul challenge on an opponent who then fell over the penalty area line into the penalty area. I deemed the contact to be outside so I went with a free kick. Had the contact been on the line or inside then I would have gone with the penalty. It was not an easy call and I had a split second to view the call. BTW the attacker had got the ball past the defender into the penalty area before the contact.

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