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Question Number: 31493

Law 12 - Fouls and Misconduct 4/27/2017

RE: Competitive Under 13

Aaron Speca of Virginia Beach, VA United States asks...

Can a 'high kick' dangerous play violation be considered if it is the knee instead of the foot that gets to the head level (like on this play)?

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Aaron
This was actual contact so it is not playing in a dangerous manner. It is a careless foul. Law 12 has been amended to add challenge to tackles as tackles only implies a challenge with the foot but some challenges can be with other parts of the body (e.g. knee) and technically were not covered.
So in this instance it is a challenge in a careless manner, provided of course that is what the referee saw.

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Answer provided by Referee Jason Wright

Hi Aaron,
There's no such offence as a high kick, believe it or not!
The offence is Playing in a Dangerous Manner - PIADM. For want of a better way of putting it, we have to sort of consider where the ball is and what part of the body kind of has more 'right' to play it there.
When the ball is up around head/chest height, the foot shouldn't really be up there - so if it's high and presents a danger to an opponent, that's a foul.
On the other hand, when the ball is around knee height and a player does a low header around another player's legs, the player doing the header has created the dangerous situation so it's PIADM against that player.
In the video you presented there's the unfortunate situation where one player is significantly taller than the other - the blue player doesn't have to lift his leg high at all to get it up to head/chest height of his opponent. But, all players need to have consideration for the safety of the opponents - so the onus is on blue to consider the position of his opponent's head when kicking the ball.
This was a foul by blue - but I agree with Ref McHugh in that this particular instance was only careless. We do consider that the leg didn't come up that high, even though it was at the opponent's head height, and that there was minimal force used.
Basically, by Blue lifting his leg this high, there was no possible way that White could safely challenge for the ball. That's the essence of PIADM which is why it's a foul on blue - but with contact, PIADM escalates to a DFK - kicks an opponent.
HOWEVER, this also isn't a great angle to view the foul. While it looks like there is contact by blue, what's curious is that blue's knee doesn't appear to make contact with the head of the opponent yet the opponent goes down holding their face. I wonder if blue didn't touch white at all but it was a ball to the face that white reacted from? In that case I'd be inclined to say no foul in this instance, though at times that's still borderline PIADM.

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Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

Hi Aaron,
another great video this one also highlighting an interesting fact I discussed in a previous question. SIZE differences in players.
I have in fact sent off players including keepers who come into challenges with raised knees. Not just an INDFK for possible PIADM but a DFK and cautioned show yellow card for the unsafe or reckless aspect or shown a red card & sent off for the excessive aspect. My most famous example is the German keeper in the last world cup driving his knee into the Argentinian striker which was incorrectly seen as a free kick against Argentina.

I agree the significant height difference here plays a large part but one still must be aware of the safety issues when challenging. I find this clip interesting because I am not certain it was the knee or the ball that struck his face? The best thing might be play on or a drop ball if the play was stopped to deal with the nose plant injury? Then again if the referee did see the knee impact the face a DFK but no caution as it was only careless.
It MIGHT be a stretch to see it as PIADM for the knee up into the face and the white player tried to avoid it catching the ball instead. I did not see the white player duck into the knee as going in low. All in all hard to say what the best decision MUST be. Out of curiosity what was called if anything?

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Answer provided by Referee Peter Grove

Hi Aaron,
As Ref Wright states, a 'high kick' is not mentioned in the Laws of the Game. There is an offence of 'playing in a dangerous manner' and this is defined as:

''any action that, while trying to play the ball, threatens injury to someone (including the player themself) and includes preventing a nearby opponent from playing the ball for fear of injury.''

As you can see, no specific action or body part is mentioned so in theory yes, use of a knee could potentially constitute PIADM, if the criteria above are met.

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