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Question Number: 31758

Law 12 - Fouls and Misconduct 9/4/2017

Barry Stewart of Chilliwack, BC Canada asks...

This question is a follow up to question 31755

I understand giving a DFK foul to an impeder stepping into, or backing into, an opponent's running path line - if contact is made.

But how about an impeder who runs past an opponent (who is chasing a loose ball), steps into his path, then slows down? The opponent doesn't correct his speed and piles into the back of the impeder.

Who's at fault here? In roadway traffic, it would usually be the driver who did the rear-ender (though a dash-cam might help reduce the blame.)

If an attacker (with ball) is being followed closely from behind, then stops abruptly and gets hit from behind by the defender, we call that as a foul on the defender.

If I were quick enough on the whistle, I'd like to call the impeding before the contact is made - but we are encouraged to 'wait and see.'

Thanks in advance for your thoughts on this.

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Barry
As long as the player in front has the ball within playing distance and under control, then the player coming from behind is guilty of illegal charging, pushing should the player rear end the player in front in possession.
Now at the higher levels players have to watch closely for this as it can be used as a ploy as the player that stops is entitled to do so and the challenger has to be aware of that. It does happen that the player looks for the contact and the foul which has to be awarded as the player has the ball at his feet and under control. Typically referees see this at a touchline where a player stops just before the line and a defender obliges with a cheap foul by running into the back of the player knocking him over or to ground. It is a silly foul to give away as the player is going nowhere and the defender gives away a direct free kick restart on the touchline. That one is easy to call as the line determines the playing distance to the ball.
If the ball is not within playing distance of the player in front then that player is guilty of holding even if it looks like the player coming from behind has crashed into the back of the player. There can be a fine line between both and it is a judgement call for the referee to make based on the position of the ball and the players

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Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

Hi Barry,
I disagree slightly UNLESS the ball is WITHIN playing distance then stopping or slowing down is in fact a tactical ploy, a choice and it HAS consequences as I could see it as a holding foul. It is different if the following player has their head down and is unaware the ball is so close as it CAN be played then they bear responsibility for running into the player ahead. I had a incident where a ball over the top with a lot of backspin being chased rebounded back TOWARDS the pursuing player who came to a skidding stop to play the ball on her chest when the pursuing girl ran into her L shaped arm. There was NO thrown elbow it was a reasonable effort to play the ball off her chest with arms out a bit from the body, the screams and howls for the foul of an elbow to the face were simply misguided as it was the single minded pursuit by the player following that CAUSED the collision!

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