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Question Number: 30931

Law 12 - Fouls and Misconduct 10/21/2016

RE: Competitive Adult

Jack of Sydney, NSW Australia asks...

This question is a follow up to question 30918

In the video posted (I actually was watching the match on TV when it happened) my initial gut feeling was yellow, as it appeared to fall just short of a mandatory sending-off for serious foul play. The reason I came to this conclusion, was that I was certain that I had seen an almost identical challenge in a FIFA training video. In the FIFA training video, the similar challenge was classified as reckless (yellow) rather than excessively forceful (red).

It took me a while, but I finally managed to remember where I had seen it. In the FIFA Men's Competitions 2014 referee training material, there is a challenge by Alonso in the Spain vs Chile 2014 World Cup group stage match. It's clip number 57 in the fouls and misconduct section - available for download here: The reason I remembered it, as in the material, there is a quiz option that gives you a random selection of videos and records your answer. That video was presented and I said red, only to find out that the correct answer according to FIFA was yellow.

As the training materials are a 7GB download, I also managed to find the match on Youtube. The tackle is a slightly after 46:10 here: Unfortunately, this doesn't contain the correct decision according to FIFA as it is only a replay, and not an excerpt from the training materials.

In both challenges, the straight and raised leading leg misses the opponent, and the grounded trailing leg collected the opponent. The tackle is made into the side of the opponent while running at almost full pace. The slide is executed with the ball able to be played, but by the time contact is made, the ball is long gone. The result of the challenge is that the opponent is fiercely lifted of the ground with a large amount of force going into their planted leg.

What in your opinion makes the Alonso challenge worthy of only a yellow (as prescribed by FIFA), but the Santalab one worthy of a red?

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Jack
No two challenges are identical and we also have the benefit of video evidence rather than viewing the challenge as a referee which is one go at the call from one angle of view.
On the Alonso one it is certainly in the red category as well as Alonso could easily have broken the opponents leg. He has left the ground and lunged at the ball which IMO had endangered the safety of an opponent. Sometimes FIFA can be slow to go against the onfield decision when it can be doubtful. In this instance the referee IMO has a limited view of the contact
I find it somewhat of double speak when safety is considered to be paramount yet fouls that can cause serious injury are considered to be adequately sanctioned with a caution.
This is what UEFA had advised its referees at one time
** Strong unfair tackles
# Referees are strongly reminded of their duty to protect players from strong unfair physical contact / tackles.
# Whilst the action taken by many referees in UEFA matches was appropriate, there are still occasions when such challenges have not been dealt with in accordance with previous instructions. ///
Particular emphasis should be placed on the elimination of challenges where a player gives no consideration to the safety and welfare of an opponent, including when contact is made with the ball and opponent at speed.
Referees must take firm action when they identify uncontrolled physical challenges made at speed and without thought or consideration for the possible consequences and safety of the opponent.
When judging the element of intent or malice, referees should be especially alert to the
direction of the tackler’s feet and any use of studs.
A tackle may still be considered as reckless (or even involving excessive force) even though the ball is played. Where contact is made with the ball and opponent at speed and without consideration for the potential danger to the opponent, it should be punished appropriately – normally with a yellow card and, in cases of serious foul play, with a red card.
Any challenge involving excessive force, and therefore endangering the safety of an opponent, must be considered as serious foul play and the offender must be sent off. Brutality must always result in a red card.
If a player uses excessive force or endangers the safety of an opponent, it does not matter whether the tackle is from behind, the front or from the side.**
Players deserve the referees protection from unfair dangerous challenges. The only way to do that is to dismiss those that perpetuate these excessive force challenges. Yes accidents and injuries do happen on innocuous challenges yet those that put players at clear risk need to be dealt with sternly.

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Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

Hi Jack ,
it is great to see you so diligent, as it speaks volumes to your commitment to be an effective official so spot on mate. As a private site although we very much support the LOTG and the concepts of Fair Play, respect and Integrity we do not always agree with FIFA decisions or conclusions.

If you study over the years they revamp or do about faces on many aspects of the game because like ANY governmental body they are simply not always correct. The game and times change so to does their outlook and approach.

I often point out the German keeper collision with the Argentinian striker in the 2014 World cup as a blatant foul that would not go unpunished in most any soccer pitch in the world. I was livid with the tepid responses by the match official and FIFA for not coming out and saying THIS is NOT permitted. I was marginally ok it was missed, as we all have angle of view issues where certain aspects of a foul are not always clear. In our age of technology we are susceptible to the shock and awe of high speed events slowed down to a crawl to give us the dramatic effect where we are rattled to make a true and honest evaluation of a real time event.
I echo my colleagues use of the words DOUBLE SPEAK which is this push for safety but then excuses or condemnation when suddenly safety is not the concern but the gate money or match enjoyment level takes precedent.

I referee mainly youth and weekend adult warriors. On my pitches I want the adults to be able to get up and go to work the next day and for them and the kids to enjoy their outing. Where we all go for a milkshake, coffee or a beer and have a laugh. Pro and world cup the intense pressure to conform is one that honestly I could not say I would be able to function in. The idea you referee based on who is in charge of how things are looked at this week is something I find appalling. I have seen very good referees at elite levels get to the world cup and they referee totally different? 50 plus fouls matches, unimaginable cautions ridiculous send offs aka Beckham leg raise, blatant missed red card send offs I have a hard time believing its is the same guy. I watched Mark Geiger a USA referee who had a terrific world cup get utterly lambasted for his performance in a GOLD CUP Mexico Panama where he was literally thrown under the bus and forced to admit he had made mistakes BUT NO ONE STEPPED OUT TO SAY WHAT THOSE MISTAKES WERE!!

I truly think as a referee you are somewhat rattled when a hard tackle comes in, creating that moment of, crap that looks ugly but if the recipient gets up and does not appear to be injured it calms you to think yellow instead of red. I once again refer to my standard response of your match your decision your reputation based on the choices you make.

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