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Question Number: 29516

Law 12 - Fouls and Misconduct 7/1/2015

RE: Rec / Select Under 15

Brad Heers of Plymouth, Michigan United States asks...

A quote from the AP on FIFA Women's Semi-final between US and Germany.

'Shortly thereafter, Annike Krahn got a yellow card for fouling Morgan in the box, but replays showed it occurred just outside. '

The play in question happens right at 1:00 in this clip:

I have already learned to not take commentators and media writers very seriously when it comes to rules interpretation, so I welcome the referees' views on this incident.

It seems clear that the initial foul started prior to Morgan being in the penalty area. However, Krahn stayed engaged with Morgan well into the penalty area. In my view, that qualifies for a PK. I imagine that a German supporter would argue that the continued contact was 'simply' unintended contact after foul, but my response to such a case is 'if your foul continues into the PA--whether you meant to or not, it is nonetheless deserving of a PK.' It is where the foul ends, correct?

I definitely welcome the thoughts of more senior referees.

Answer provided by Referee Jason Wright

Hi Jay,

Hi Brad,

In cases like this, we need to determine where the 'foul' occurs. One typical scenario is when a player is tripped outside the PA but falls inside the PA. Then we can clearly see the contact may be outside, so it's an easy DFK. Alternatively, a holding foul can begin outside the PA and continue inside it, so a PK (can also happen if a player commits multiple fouls in a brief period of time - eg kicks the player several times). The fact that the players were still in contact into the PA doesn't necessarily mean the foul continued into the PA. In the slow-motion version, you can clearly see the initial point of contact is outside the PA. While contact continues into the PA, what sort of contact is it?
It appears the ongoing contact is purely the players falling over each other from the initial foul - an unavoidable outcome from the initial contact. This contact doesn't mean the foul is 'ongoing'. We need to differentiate between a clearly ongoing foul (eg heavily charging the player several times), and two players falling over each other after a foul. This is definitely the latter. For me, the foul begins and ends with that single, heavy contact outside the PA. The ongoing contact isn't an ongoing foul; it's incidental contact to the initial foul.

As a referee, if you're not certain if it's a PK or a DFK outside, then it's a DFK outside. You need to be able to identify cues on the player in determining location. If you're on a pitch with lines that you can't see from more than 10 yards away, you can stare at the spot of grass and run up, then the line will reveal itself and you'll see the location. Otherwise, look at cues on the player's body. The referee should have been able to see by the location of the red player - who was in front of the white player - that it was outside the PA. Had she noticed the location of the feet at the moment of the foul, she would have seen that the feet were clearly outside the PA, thus due to the nature of the foul, the entire foul was outside the PA.
I'm only guessing as to how she made the decision, but she seems to have missed the critical location of the feet, and only checked the location after the players have started falling down - and by this point momentum had carried them inside the PA.
The AR is usually critical in these cases, although being in line with the 2nd last defender means she may have been unable to tell. This is why brief eye contact momentarily before making the decision will help. If the referee glances to the AR as they're about the blow the whistle, this gives the AR to either run to in line with the edge of the PA to communicate a DFK, or to the position for the PK to communicate it was inside.

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Answer provided by Referee Dennis Wickham

Following a 2007 FIFA Q&A, some interpretations have suggested that the 'continuing foul' notion applies to charging fouls- that is, if the holding begins outside the penalty area and continues inside, the foul is treated as a penalty kick.

I understood that FIFA had since clarified that its 2007 Q&A should be limited to holding fouls. In the current FIFA Additional Instructions and Guidance (appended to the LOFG), and the USSF Advice To Referees, the notion of a continuing foul is addressed only in the section concerning holding.

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Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Brad
Referees do not have the luxury of freeze frame, action replay. In real time this will look like a penalty and there is continuing contact inside the penalty area to consider a penalty kick anyway. It is also difficult for the referee to discern that the follow on contact may have been continued by the USA player
As regards the decision itself the German player once she failed to win the ball placed herself in a position that was always going to run the very high risk of impeding if there was no contact and a holding, possible charging foul with contact. It is certainly a careless challenge and naive defending. Okay the USA player Morgan made the most of the contact yet that is the modern game.
In my playing days and up until 1997 this would have been obstruction which had an IDFK restart and to this day I still think the game is the poorer for removing that from the Laws. An IDFK inside or outside the penalty area at the point of the contact would have been sufficient punishment IMO. Unfortunately that is no longer an option so the only possible call was a DFK or a PK or no call
Have a look at this video. While it is termed impeding it is holding foul punished by a penalty kick. I dont believ the referee gave it.
It would appear from the England v Japan game that the foul contact for the Japanese penalty also happened outside the penalty area. Again there is continuing contact inside the area albeit that the foul element was probably outside. Shows how difficult these upper body contact decisions are.

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Answer provided by Referee Ben Mueller

The big question is where did the foul occur? Say in a different game the referee applies advantage. For example, a player is driving towards goal and is pushed but maintains his balance and then makes his way into the penalty area. Shortly after he is pushed again and falls. Here it is a PK because there was a subsequent foul. In this case, the entire fall of Morgan came from one foul. It was not a subsequent chain of events. She got banged into and she took a fall. The initial contact prior to her fall was outside the penalty area. True her momentum carried her inside the penalty area, but where was the initial contact? About 1 yard outside the penalty area.

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Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

Hi Brad,
When I was watching I have no doubt the German moved to intercept the American player and the collision was premeditated to ensure she did NOT get into the PA with ball control. I was 100% convinced this was a DFK outside the PA. Initially I felt it was a charging/tripping foul outside the PA and was upset it was awarded as a PK! This in part because as a SPECTATOR watching I was still incredulous the Americans were not playing with ten players for the EARLIER PK and I still was rethinking how fortunate the USA was when the COLUMBIAN' s keeper got tossed in their last match.

Yet I am now waffling on the concept of considering the impeding action of intervening in the run path of a player as a blocking action turning an INDFK to a DFK for holding is not without merit. The LOTG permit a referee to consider a holding foul as a continuous foul where all others are considered as a point of contact moment or in the case of DH where the ball is.

Also one separate foul outside the PA does not render a 2nd foul inside the PA as irrelevant if the referee felt the player COULD be recovering from the 1st foul. Advantage played to choose the most BENIFICAL of the two fouls would place it inside the PA when ever ITOOTR decided it could be!

Admittedly I would have awarded only a DFK not a PK but then I would have also sent the American defender off earlier. There were also several tackles in that match that went beyond a lunge to get the ball. There were several tackles that targeted the opposing player only and by players already on a caution who were given a pass by a referee trying to finish with all 22 players.

As an arm chair referee, biased in support, biased with slow motion, multiple angles of replay it is easy to second guess a match referee but then as the ESSE incident in the1998 WC shows a referee with integrity sees what they see. No matter what part the referee had to play USA was the better team on the day than the Germans.


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