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Question Number: 29593

Law 12 - Fouls and Misconduct 8/9/2015

RE: Competitive Adult

Jack Smith of Sydney, NSW Australia asks...

Is the 'four Ds' advice binding on referees outside of the USA? I'm referring to the following positional paper:

I understand that in the Laws of the Game, the following quote can be found:
Referees should consider the following circumstances when deciding whether to send off a player for denying a goal or an obvious goalscoring opportunity:
˘ the distance between the offence and the goal
˘ the likelihood of keeping or gaining control of the ball
˘ the direction of the play
˘ the location and number of defenders

However, do all four criteria have to be met for referees outside of the USA? Is it possible for a referee to 'consider' one of the above criteria and decide it is irrelevant, based on the other three factors being overwhelmingly, blatantly present?

The incident that had me thinking about this is here:

The 'direction of play' criterion is not met, as when the foul begins, the attacker is facing away from goal, and even when it ends, he has taken a touch towards the touch line, not towards goal. Obviously, it's certainly obvious that a goal would be scored here (probably better than 50-50), but the fact the direction element is missing has me disagreeing with the decision to send-off the goalkeeper.

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Jack
USSF Advice to its referees through its publications only applies to referees inside the US. That advice changes as the laws are amended. Where current it is however advice that is generally consistent with the IFAB / FIFA advice.
In the case of the denying an obvious goal or goal scoring opportunity advice I can read it as wholly consistent with the IFAB advice.
Yes the wording if taken literally could cause some problems. In the clip you show I would have no difficulty in sending off the player here for denying an obvious goal scoring opportunity because that is what happened. The foul actually prevented the obvious change of direction towards goal so a referee can interpret that all four conditions were present.
Always remember that it is ADVICE to assist the referee make the correct decision. Can the referee answer yes to the sending off offence of denying an obvious goalscoring opportunity to an opponent moving towards the player’s goal by an offence punishable by a free kick or a penalty kick. If the referee in his interpretation can answer yes then it is a sending off.
Case in point was the sending off in the Chelsea V Swansea EPL game. Referee Michael Oliver decided that it was a denial.
In the first televised game in the Championship between Brighton and Nottingham Forest Referee Keith Stroud in a not too dissimilar situation decided that it was not because the player was angled more towards the corner flag.
BTW Chelsea appealed the sending off which was denied.

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Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

Hi Jack
The KEY word in the USSF ATR is ADVICE! It states it is NOT a replacement of the LOTG but provides a substantial base from which one can arrive at credible decision making because of the detail of analysis that has gone into its overall structure.

As a Canadian referee I assume the purpose and function of the USSF ATR is to promote consistency across the spectrum of officials of a very large and very intricate organization that tries to flesh out the meaning and implementation of the LOTG.

Their mechanics and procedures are meant so if an AR from New York was to be paired with an AR out of Texas and a referee out of Washington they have similar training and understanding to work together effectively. I tend to regards it as a very detailed information on the LOTG that in 99.5 % of my opinion are consistent with all the LOTG. National agencies are generally loath to caste aspersions on other nations for how their policies or decisions might differ from their own.

The USA document, indeed most USSF written material reads more as a legal rendering of the LOTG with minimal free interpretation. Unlike the often vague and poorly crafted information FIFA puts out supposedly defining their current interpretations. To their credit they constantly try to rework, fine tune or change items to follow FIFA interpretations if they feel or are specifically told by FIFA/IFAB there is something amiss.

The SUBJECTIVE nature of officiating when rendering a decision on the field that is a JUDGMENT call even if specific criteria are used to evaluate the situation are still an OPINION on a fact of play from whatever angle of view a referee has at a given moment in time!

It is always difficult to argue an opinion as correct or incorrect as it is a personal view of a situation based on what you see from where you are! The bias of using a spectator view or a player view or a parent view colored with emotional needs or a video feed that can be used to slow down and dissect a decision into its component parts it is not unusual to arrive at different conclusions.

In conclusion to the video link you provided that incident is CLEARLY a DOGSO. the attacker stole the ball was making the directional turn to goal and without the foul, he scores or has a MOST OBVIOUS OPPORTUNITY to do so, since it was gifted to him by the unobservant keeper lol

I very much dislike how DOGSO criteria are implemented because of the effect reducing the team by a player, particularly the keeper, for making a challenge that even if only careless results in a send off. Eventually I expect a more lenient approach to the sending offs. I think DOGSO that result in PKs if not VC or SFP, the PK is made, then the player remains on the field, If the keeper was the guilty party , the keeper stays in, he allows goal he stays he stops the shot he goes, no mandatory. suspension for next game. I would like to see only if the incident is within the PA resulting in a PK ,the DOGSO criteria be


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Answer provided by Referee Dennis Wickham

Jack: The USSF has removed that position paper (and most others) from the ussf website. The only current sources of information are contained in the online US Soccer Referee Resource Center and from your local SDI (USSF State Director of Instruction).

That said, the 4 D's are a teaching tool to identify and remember the factors to consider in a send-off for denying an obvious goal scoring opportunity. They mirror the factors listed in the FIFA Additional Instruction and Guidelines for Referees for making the judgment call whether a goal scoring opportunity was obvious. (Note: The word 'DOGSO' is not contained in the laws of the game either, but the acronym is a useful way to identify and remember the sendoff. )

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