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Question Number: 31523

Law 12 - Fouls and Misconduct 5/10/2017

RE: Rec Adult

Barry Stewart of Chilliwack, BC Canada asks...

'Had an odd situation recently. A defender was shielding the ball with an attacker right on her heels. Both players were basically stationary, in a stand-off.

When the defender decided to pass back to the keeper, she pulled back her foot, which contacted the attacker's shin, causing the defender to missfire on her kick.

I didn't want the attackers to gain an advantage from what I deemed as a 'sort of trip,' so I gave the defenders a dfk.

There was no protest and the game went on.

I've called kickers for carelessly (or maliciously) back-heeling into challenger's shins and defenders for putting their foot in the way of the kicker's foot, just as the kicker's foot is coming down on the ball - but this was a first for me.

Your thoughts? (I'm thinking I got it wrong, LOL!)

Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

Hi Barry,
certain things occur and give us a hmmm moment. In post review you are contemplating whether your match decision was correct? I question your thoughts as a neutral official in deciding that the advantage was unfair considering it was not a true foul?

I will ask you this did the attacker foul the defender by doing anything except stand behind her?

I ask this because in a similar situation I had a ball go over the top being pursued by a defender and a fast attacker who was just in behind and stride for stride .The ball had a lob backspin into a bit of a headwind so when it hit the ground out in front the of defender it came back at her rather than run on towards her goal. . She did what she needed to do which is stop and try to play that bounce off her chest. She placed her arms similar as if being told she was in a hold up, palms out arms in a L shape, with elbows away from the body. The running attacker put her face into arm/elbow area and the cries for a foul by her supports were evident but I said NO she ran into the defender I simply checked to see if she was bleeding or badly hurt and made no call. The defender did not throw the elbow back she simply spread the arms in a reasonable effort to chest a ball that had quickly reversed its direction. The attacker CAUSED the contact by running at top speed and failed to account for the fact that the defenders quick stop and reaction she was unprepared for. I can guarantee I received far more flack for making no call there then you would have in realizing there was no call to be made in your match!
Now it could have been common sense to just go with the flow to award the nasty collision as a free kick to sooth the tempers but for the indisputable fact it was NOT a foul no matter what others might have thought!


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Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Barry
These ones are never easy. It is difficult for the referee to determine whether it was a trip by the attacker or a kick by the defender or which is more likely neither just a coming together.
In a game situation it will look more like a foul by the attacker as the defender is doing what is natural which is a pull back of the leg to play the ball. One could argue that the attacker in a way has placed her leg in a way that trips the defender without her actually falling. I have seen these many times where the defenders leg motion has been interfered with and the following though ends up tripping off the other leg which is a foul..
So I would say the *best* call was made and the reaction of the players many times confirms that.

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