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Question Number: 31274

High School 2/18/2017

RE: Competitive High School

Kenneth of San Diego, CA US asks...

Is there some 'common sense' leniency applied when considering DOGSO for a Keeper? It just seems a little on the extreme side for a red card to be issued for a careless foul especially when it was because of a great play by the attacker to poke the ball past the keeper on a 50/50.

Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

HI Kenneth,
actually under FIFA yes there is now. Under the recent guidelines we are in fact to not send off in the cases where a legit attempt to play the ball occurs. If the challenge is reasonable and only a careless foul that results in a Pk as it was a genuine attempt to play the ball then it can be a caution. If the act is clearly designed to stop the player, a shirt grab pull or shove from behind with absolutely no attempt to play the ball then the red card is in play! Please note the NFHS is enforced differently. I should also note that the recent change of policy by FIFA might yet filter down into the high school officiating once they discuss it, as they try to strike a balance between the game as universal engine and the needs of those playing it at a school level.


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Answer provided by Referee Joe Manjone

In NFHS rules, a disqualification, red card must be given if a player commits a foul while attempting to deny a goal and the goal is not scored (12-8-2d3). This can be any foul: holding, tripping, obstruction, etc. There is no option to give a caution if the goal is not scored. If the player (in your case, the goalkeeper) commits a foul while trying to deny a goal that is not scored, a red card must be given. I hope that you have a successful season.

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Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Kenneth
The referee has to determine if in fact a goal scoring opportunity has been denied. So the referee has to adjudicate the circumstances of each situation. This rule indicates that the following must occur: 1. A foul which, of course, is an infraction for which a free kick is awarded. The foul could result in either a direct or indirect kick being awarded; 2. The player that is fouled must be moving toward his/her offensive goal (or moving forward) at the time of the foul; and 3. The player that is fouled must have an obvious opportunity to score.
An obvious opportunity to score normally means that the player has control of the ball and has gotten past all defenders except the goalkeeper or all defenders including the goalkeeper.
Sometimes the player that is fouled may not have control of the ball and as such there is no goal scoring opportunity. The attacker in the 50 / 50 situation might not have any control of the ball and his first touch has to be evaluated as to what happens next without the foul. If the touch is so heavy that he has no chance of recovering the ball if there was no foul IMO there may not be an obvious opportunity Having said all that there will be pressure to dismiss on a foul committed by the GK in a one on one situation inside the penalty area. It is always difficult to *sell* the what would have happened next without the foul scenario..
If say the player was going towards the corner flag with the GK taking him down there probably was not an OBVIOUS opportunity present and therefore nothing has been denied.
So referees should not be concerned with the extreme of any sanction yet rather whether the conditions to make the sanction were present or not. It is not up to the referee to consider the harshness or otherwise of what is required by the rules as to the sanction. The discretion is on whether there was an obvious opportunity or not.
It is worth noting that in FIFA games the law has been changed to allow for a caution provided a penalty has been awarded and there was a genuine attempt to play the ball.

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Answer provided by Referee Peter Grove

Hi Kenneth,
In a High School game, as Ref Manjone points out, there is no leeway allowed.

However, partly because of the factors you mention and partly because of the perception of the so-called 'triple punishment' of a penalty, red card and subsequent suspension when a DOGSO foul occurs in the penalty area, the IFAB has introduced an amendment in the 2016-17 laws that allows for a yellow card when this scenario results in a penalty, unless:

''The offence is holding, pulling or pushing or
The offending player does not attempt to play the ball or there is no possibility for the player making the challenge to play the ball or
The offence is one which is punishable by a red card wherever it occurs on the field of play (e.g. serious foul play, violent conduct etc.)''

Please note that this is only if the foul is inside the penalty area.

It is also still a red card if the DOGSO offence involves handling the ball.

It is too early to say whether the NFHS might decide to adopt this approach at some later date although they have used wording in relation to some of their more recent amendments that seems to indicate a preference for keeping the NFHS rules relatively close to other, more widely-used codes.

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