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Question Number: 31127

Law 12 - Fouls and Misconduct 12/24/2016

RE: Adult

BOUALBANI of SAINT CYR, France asks...

asking the ball from the opponent or saying any word that make the opponent giving him the it authorized?

thank you for your response.

Best regards,

Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

Hi Boualbani,
technically the LOTG states we are not to UNFAIRLY deceive the opposition through verbal trickery. So to try and FOOL an opposing player by pretending to be a teammate asking for a pass or to say 'Let the ball run!' is a form of unsporting behaviour and as such is Cautionable Misconduct where the instigator could be shown the yellow card. In the same vein, given there is no verbal impeding call whereby a player who shouts out MINE! or I got it! that causes confusion is also a form of USB even if unintended or a simple scream or Arhhhggg into the ear, which is more deliberate and again cautionable behaviour. The correct restart is an INDFK from the spot of the infraction. Of course the referee must be aware of the circumstances. Simply saying such things as a form of communication for team mates IS NOT illegal , UNLESS, in the opinion of the referee, it unfairly affected the opposition. THe basic problem here is a card MUST accompany the restart by Law. Yet I have seen INDFKs awarded with no caution by very senior referees. Though the match was no worse for wear until the LOTG state there IS a infraction called, verbal impeding, it remains as cautionable misconduct.
Cheers and Merry Christmas

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Answer provided by Referee Peter Grove

What you are describing sounds a lot like the offence known as verbally distracting an opponent. As Ref Dawson says, if the referee judges that this offence has occurred the punishment would be a yellow card. Play would be restarted with an indirect free kick.

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Answer provided by Referee Jason Wright

Hi Boulbani,

I'm not entirely sure if I understand the question.
First off, I want to make it clear that saying 'mine', 'leave it', or anything similar is not an offence unless it is done to distract an opponent - then it is a Yellow Card and an Indirect Free Kick from where the offence occurred (there can be no IFK without the card). Same as providing tactical instructions to a teammate - that's OK. Not what you're asking, but it's related.

In the same way, shouting 'backheel' to a teammate is fine. But if you are behind an opponent and you shout for them to 'backheel' and they do thinking you're a teammate, that's also a Yellow Card and IFK.

But your question was also about asking an opponent for the ball. Are you asking about a player, in front of an opponent with the ball, saying 'hey, give me the ball, you know you want to!'? If so, I can imagine when it would be possible. No offence would be committed here - sounds like players just being a bit silly or trying to play mindgames, but even if the opponent decides to also be silly and give up the ball I wouldn't be getting involved! It's only the clear verbal deception that is a problem.

Or, as Ref Dawson states, some sort of shout as the opponent is playing the ball simply to distract them is also a caution and IFK.

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Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Verbally distracting an opponent during play or at a restart is not allowed. It is unsporting behaviour which is a caution/ yellow card and the restart is an indirect free kick. Examples would be shouting at an opponent so that he is distracted/ looks away from the ball or asking an opponent to leave the ball so that the player gains control of the ball unchallenged.
It should not be confused with communication between team mates which is part of the game.

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