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Question Number: 30146

Law 18 - Common Sense 2/26/2016

RE: School Under 15

Rachel of Phoniex, Az US asks...

One of my players keeps getting fouls for grunting when she kicks the ball because she is defenses do ours a lot of power into her kick it is not distracting so please explain why.

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Rachel
The answer probably is because the referees do not like it and perhaps in their opinion there is no need for it.
However the referees that call this as an IDFK only are 100% incorrect in Law. The only way that it can be an IDFK is if there is a caution first for USB . No caution No IDFK as there is no such offence in the Laws. It is either unsporting behaviour for verbally distracting an opponent during play or at a restart which is a cautionable offence or nothing
I am reminded of the debate in tennis about grunting. Some players like Monica Seles were extremely loud and shrill with grunts while playing the game. Some contests had to have the tournament supervisor called because of player complaints even though in tennis the law allow for loss of point should the players actions hinder an opponent.That was rarely if ever used. One tennis player Michelle Larcher de Brito had a reported decibel reading of 109. Funny how it was only an issue when the player is getting beaten.
I doubt in your case whether the opponents are ever bothered about a player grunting as the ball is kicked away or if they are what effect it has other than a dislike.
I once had a senior colleague as an AR in a particular game and he did not like a player shouting constantly to his team mates for a pass etc. He said to me at half time that I should give an IDFK against him on the next shout? I asked him what for and what Law 12 was that under? He had no answer other than it was annoying him and that the IDFK might stop it.

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Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

Hi Rachel,
it sounds similar to what I have seen the woman tennis player do, on a forceful swing of the racket Pray tell what foul are the officials calling it? There is no verbal impeding currently within the LOTG. Personally I think there should be at least then those who are currently doing it incorrectly could get it right! lol

To find a verbal expletive as a unsporting utterance to off-put the opposition can be a form of USB and a caution with a restart INDFK but a grunt as you kick, unless it is a screaming sound that has everyone covering their ears should not qualify in my opinion. If other referees are finding it as aggressive or needless ask then to explain what law is being broken??

I have seen INDFK awarded with no cautions for loud outbursts that technically with no caution is a made up stoppage totally at odds with the LOTG. It is a MYTH and has proven far more difficult to stamp it out then I would have thought, sigh.

It is not what is said but how and why and where and when and who is affected? I awarded an INDFK and cautioned showed the yellow card a player for USB who screamed his OWN name into the ear of an opponent, he actually cupped his hands like a megaphone. Thought it was ok cause we often use the phrase, (Put a name on it! ) to effectively communicate to each other when going up in a crowd for the ball. For there to be a PROBLEM with what is said ,an opponent MUST be obviously disadvantaged by the verbal as in deceived 'Hey pass it here!', by the opponent There is no foul for simply saying I got it! Mine! Leave it! if it not deceit it is not unfair.
I have awarded INDFKs and cautioned players for screaming to intimidate other players Arrrrrghh! as they chased them , usually younger ages, bullies on the soccer pitch of a sort, perhaps those officials are incorrectly interpreting her actions as that?

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