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Question Number: 31626

Law 12 - Fouls and Misconduct 7/1/2017

RE: rec, select Under 19

gary of nashua, nh usa asks...

Is stepping on someone's foot considered kicking? How is this assessed in context of misconduct?

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Gary
Stepping on a players foot is a foul. It is careless contact. There may be times though when it is unseen and uncertain such as two players jumping in the air and one land a foot on the opponents foot. Did he trod on him or did he simply roll his ankle? Other times the contact is questionable as the contact might be minimal and perhaps the player has caused the contact himself such as a poor tackle where the player has put his foot in harms way. The opponent cannot be responsible for that contact.
Many times though it can be a kick, a trip or tackling in a careless manner which is certainly a foul. An example would be in a challenge where a player misses the ball while running along side an opponent and he trods on the opponents foot in an effort to play the ball. If it is deliberate then the player is also cautioned and if excessive force is used then the player is dismissed. An example of excessive force would be a stamp down on the opponents foot. Most times it is just trodding on an opponent which is a foul only.
The referee may take into account other factor in assessing the foul from a disciplinary perspective. It is a tactical foul, is it a player persistently fouling or is it just being careless. An opponent will be none too pleased that his foot has got trod on which is sore yet it can be just part of the contact that happens in games. So look on it like any other foul where the contact goes beyond careless and / or is tactical and unsporting.

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Answer provided by Referee Peter Grove

Hi Gary,
Stepping on an opponent's foot would usually be considered a physical contact foul. I suppose that sometimes it might be seen as part of a simple coming together or incidental contact that is trifling or dubious and could be ignored but if the referee decides it is careless, reckless or involves the use of excessive force it should be penalised as a foul and the relevant sanctions applied.

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Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

Hi Gary,
the potential is there for sure but it can be just an unfortunate coming together as well. I kick the ball away ahead of the opponent and the opponent steps in late and catches my foot with a cleat you bet it can be a foul same as if he kicked my ankle or slide into it. Yet it is easily conceivable that we place our foot to be kicked or stepped on if the opponent is already underway in kicking the ball or striding forward and we slip in under to nip the ball away and we wind up under his foot by being brave and doing our best to challenge fairly. If it is a late attempt though it has the same for careless, reckless or excessive in how fast, how far, how high how realistic was the attempt to win the ball not stomp the foot? .If it is a reach in a bit late or near simultaneous at best careless If it was a leap or jump then likely a caution for reckless, however if it is an excessive stomp or grind it is SFP or VC and show the red card send off they play down a player.

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