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Question Number: 30403

Law 12 - Fouls and Misconduct 5/11/2016

RE: Intermediate Under 13

Phil of Tarzana, CA United States asks...

This question is a follow up to question 30400

I have a question about something that Referee Sowa said. He talked about lowering the shoulder as a factor in illegal charging. Would this only be if it were done as an offensive tactic? It seems to me that if you, as a player, see that someone is charging, it's natural to lower the shoulder as part of balance, because it lowers the center of gravity. That's especially true if it happens at speed. Leaning toward the opponent who is charging is the only way to keep your balance.

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Phil
The act of charging is a challenge for space using physical contact within playing distance of the ball without using arms or elbows. It is an offence to charge an opponent:
in a careless manner
in a reckless manner
using excessive force
Now when one player drops his shoulder that usually results in contact that Is not shoulder to shoulder and usually it is a reckless action. The action of a lowered shoulder also results in the point of the shoulder being used against an opponents side which is bony type contact rather than upper arm to upper arm.
I have described the legal charge as a player easing an opponent off the ball using his upper body.

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Answer provided by Referee James Sowa


Referee McHugh summed it up pretty well. There is a difference between bracing for contact which may generally result in the entire body tensing and getting a bit lower (not just the shoulder) and the act of lowering the shoulder to initiate the contact. What we need to be watching for is the manner of the challenge. Did the player launch themselves (ie at more than the expected level of physicality for that level of play) or act in a reckless manner. In the example I gave, I noted that the player launched himself at the other player which falls under the careless/reckless category.

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