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Question Number: 29527

Law 12 - Fouls and Misconduct 7/11/2015

RE: Adult

Russell of Sydney, NSW Australia asks...

Hi folks, just a follow on from an incident this afternoon, with a (very) senior men's local comp.
An attacking player ran on to a pass in the penalty area, near the goal line, and was brought down from behind by a defender. SO I dutifully awarded a penalty kick, and showed the yellow card for this 'careless' challenge. THEN I noted my AR had the flag raised for offside. OOPS!
SO I changed to the offside call, awarding the IDF. Now I let the caution stand as it was part of the game and was in my opinion a careless challenge - verging on 'professional'. (It wasn't quite a DOGSO situation).
Is that correct, does the caution stay, or does the offside 'cancel' this offence?
I think not.

Answer provided by Referee Dennis Wickham

It depends on the reason for the caution. If the caution was because the foul was reckless (note: a foul done in a careless manner is simply a foul, and not cautionable), the card should stand. For example, the caution for a nasty tackle or charge informs player, victim, and their teammates that the conduct is unacceptable and may not be repeated. No one should get a 'free pass' for such misconduct as it can lead to loss of game control, retaliations, and brawls.

On the other hand, if the caution was because the foul was tactical - - designed to break up an advantageous attack - - the referee may appropriately decide to rescind the card upon learning that there was no such potential because of the offside infringement.

The better way to avoid this issue is to be slower in showing the card. A penalty kick will never result in a quick free kick. You have time to look at your AR and get information, and it is good to practice always to look at your AR when awarding a penalty kick. (Sometimes the information is that the foul occurred outside the PA or that the attacker committed a first foul and the referee saw the retaliation or that the referee bought a 100% dive).

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Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Russell
I suspect a poor position caused this. Had you been wider with the lead AR in view or at least an easy glance across the offside flag could have been picked up. That would have saved you all the hassle.
Now as to the card. If the challenge was reckless then the caution should remain. If the caution was due to the tactical nature of the foul then it should have been rescinded. I suspect from your description the foul was careless and tactical therefore rescinding it was appropriate. Once play restarted with the IDFK and the card was not rescinded then it stood for the remainder of the game.
As Referee Wickham points out the award of the penalty kick required eye contact with the AR. Also there is no urgency with the card. Take the time to evaluate the situation. Had time been taken here perhaps no one other than yourself would have been aware that the whistle was for the foul and not the offside.

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Answer provided by Referee Jason Wright

Hi Russell,

Whether you want the caution to stand will depend on the reason for it. If it was purely a tactical foul, then the offside means there wasn't actually an attack that was broken up, so you may want to rescind the card (ensure you advise the player). If, however, the tackle was reckless in its own right, then you'll want the caution to stand.

I have cautioned players for tackles that were committed momentarily after I blew the whistle (but committed before I blew, so I wasn't concerned about the fact that the ball was technically already out of play) for another foul because the tackle was reckless.

On a side note, if you talk about a challenge being 'careless' then, by definition, that's purely a free kick. The laws provide for a yellow card for a tackle that's reckless, and a tactical foul is thought to fall into that category.

Echoing my colleagues, try to ensure you're in a position where the ball is roughly between yourself and the AR. While this shouldn't be taken to mean a literal straight line, you want to be in a position where the AR is either in your peripheral vision, or you can very quickly and easily glance to him without having to turn your head away from play. Also, try to get into the habit of glancing over when a ball is played forwards - it's surprising how many passes that you think are 'definitely onside' may actually be offside.

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