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Question Number: 29520

Law 12 - Fouls and Misconduct 7/3/2015

RE: Intermediate Under 13

Phil of Tarzana, CA United States asks...

This question is a follow up to question 29517

Please clarify a couple of comments made. An attacker is dribbling toward the goal. If a defender deliberately moves into the path of the attacker to block her, AND the ball is within playing distance of both players, and they collide, wouldn't that be lawful shielding? Would it matter if the defender attempted to play the ball...but missed?

If it were lawful & the ball continued rolling (as it would), would the blocking then become holding if both players fell after the initial contact (assuming continued contact as they fall)?

Thanks again for all the advice.

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Phil
Once the ball is within playing distance it is legal for a player to place herself between an opponent and the ball and as you rightly point out that is legal shielding. That though suggests that the player has exerted some control over the ball to keep it within playing distance or that the player has moved after the ball to maintain the playing distance. What happens in reality is that the ball goes away from both players and clearly not within playing distance of either. That is when the foul happens and with contact it is usually a holding foul.
Now in the USA penalty incident there is a suggestion that the continuing part of the foul was caused by the USA attacker and that may have been the case. The foul though was committed by the German defender and it is then a matter of interpretation as to the location of the foul and in the case of holding if it continued. Many fouls occur with the players in motion, both the player committing the foul and the opponent being fouled, and it is not unusual for the foul to end far away from where the initial contact occurred. On the single contact ones it is easier to decide. On the holding ones they can and do continue and could be a series of tugs, pulls. In this case the initial contact was outside the penalty area yet there is sufficient doubt about whether there was also continuing foul contact inside the area. I had no difficulty with the penalty award here.
Anyway the defending was poor and it asked a question of the referee. Perhaps on another day the circumstances may have convinced the referee that it was a DFK. I had one of these recently and as I was unsure I went with the DFK. Team scored from the free kick which was a good result for the game in that I was not berated by either side on what would have been seen as a tight call.

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Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

Hi Phil,
The German defender ...NEVER... played the ball because she (a) was only interested in stopping the attacker and (b) she was not moving at the same speed or direction as the ball. One can argue if the intersection was a charging hip check or trip or a holding foul, however, there is NO doubt the German defender KNEW it was a foul just as she knew she tried to do it OUTSIDE her PA. If it was the continued contact as they both fell forward that the match referee decided was continued holding as ITOOTR I can get behind it even if I did not see it as such.
When players are in pursuit of the ball they generally must be moving at a rate of speed and direction to actually be able to get to that ball in about two steps if they are to play it. If they are both moving in a similar direction and speed and one is in front of the other,the one in front can legally shield if that ball is within playing distance, If the one in front slows down so that the ball is NO longer in playing distance or reverses direction by backing up that could be considered holding just a different sort than the following player who actually holds by pulling the jersey or reaches over the shoulder and grabs or pulls back

Shielding the ball is permitted. A player who places himself between an
opponent and the ball for tactical reasons has not committed an offence as
long as the ball is kept within playing distance and the player does not ,,,HOLD OFF... the opponent with his arms or body. If the ball is within playing distance, the player may be fairly charged by an opponent.

Holding an opponent includes the act of preventing him from moving past or
around using the hands, the arms or the body. If a defender starts holding an attacker outside the penalty area and continues holding him inside the penalty area, the referee must award a penalty kick.


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