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Question Number: 30570

Law 12 - Fouls and Misconduct 7/5/2016

RE: Rec Adult

russell of Sydney, Australia asks...

A question regarding 'shoulder to shoulder' challenges.

In the recent Colorado v Portland match, there was a shot on goal by Portland late in the first half, that hit the post and went out for a throw in.

As the ball headed for the sideline, an attacker and defender ran for the ball, and while neither of them recovered the ball before it crossed the sideline, they did engage in a 'should to shoulder' challenge, that I am guessing would not have given the ref much concern.

However, it did make me think about 'shoulder to shoulder' challenges, and, specifically, how much sideway action/force etc is acceptable, as the Colorado player did put a reasonable sideways block on the Portland player.

In this instance as the ball was running over the sideline in a rather neutral location, there is probably little need to do anything but go with the applicable TI.

However, if this was in a more attaching and dangerous location, would his sideways movement begin to make a Ref consider just how fair the challenge is.

Maybe it is 'nit picking' as we say down under, but the shoulder to shoulder movement in this instance is not really in the running direction of the balls movement.
Again, in this instance it is possibly nothing to be bothered with, however, if running at goal and near or inside the PA, should we be as lenient?

While not a foul that is often 'called' so as to allow the flow of a match to continue - where/when is the lined crossed that might make the pea in a whistle get a little work out?

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Rusell
Have a look at this question and answers which perhaps answers your question
Ultimately it is up to the referee to decide what he believes is an acceptable level of force in a legal charge that does not get to careless or reckless.
Have a look at this video
At 73 minutes in the game or 29.15 in the second half Gunnarsson of Iceland charges Griezmann and the referee awards a foul. One wise cracking columnist stated that it did not help that Griezmann weighed less than Gunnarssonís beard. That suggested that the contest was one sided and perhaps it was yet I believe the referee was correct as the level of force used was beyond what was acceptable.

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Answer provided by Referee James Sowa


Referee McHugh has some good examples here. A few more things to consider when deciding if a shoulder challenge is legal:

1) Does the player show a lack of attention or consideration?
2) Does the player have a chance of playing the ball in a fair manner?
3) Does the player lunge at the opposing player?
4) Which part of the body was used to make contact
5) Where on the opponent is contact made

I essentially focus on number 3 and number 5. If I see that one player goes out of their way to initiate the contact, then I will tend to call the foul. Similarly, if I see a player launch themselves (ie feet planted and lunge sideways) I will also tend to call the foul.

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