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Question Number: 31465

Law 12 - Fouls and Misconduct 4/19/2017

RE: Competitive Under 19

Salvador Flores of Indianapolis, Indiana USA asks...

There was a play between neymar and sami khedira in the second leg of the barcelona vs juvenuts. As khedira was clearing the ball, neymar try blocking the ball, but was a little deflection from neymar's cleats but his studs hit khedira's foot. Is it a foul or not? Would you caution him or send him off?

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Salvador
At speed and in a game a referee will not see all contact between players. Indeed some contact will be a coming together say after a slide tackle, momentum etc which is not reckless. A referee has to distinguish between what is incidental and what constitutes foul play. A kick, late on an opponent, who is playing the ball away is usually a foul.
This incident as described was a foul as Neymar made contact on an opponent after the ball was played away. At least careless contact and depending on the type of contact it can be deemed reckless expending on the opinion of the referee. I felt that the referee dealt with what he saw correctly on the night which was a difficult game to officiate.
You might recall another incident where Neymar was also caught late just outside the penalty area as he tried to go past Juve defenders in the second half just outside the oenalty area.
It was shown that the Juve defender made heavy contact on Neymars foot. That was also a foul and in that case it was a caution as it was reckless. It was not seen by the referee and Neymar could be seen remonstrating afterwards with the referee showing him his leg with his sock rolled down.
Another incident was late contact by Pique on Chiellini near the end of the game. Despite Chiellinis rolling around after the foul no card was shown and it was shown by video replay that while a late challenge for the ball it was not reckless.
BTW there were 42 fouls in the game 29 committed by Juventus and four yellow cards, two for each side. The number of fouls in my opinion was too high and certainly too many by Juventus. While one can appreciate the desire for players not to miss the next game or have a caution recorded nonetheless sanction needs to be taken when the game is not played as intended.

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