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Question Number: 31768

Law 12 - Fouls and Misconduct 9/8/2017

RE: All Levels Other

Larry of Danville, CA USA asks...

This question is a follow up to question 31760

Peter and Joe, I am surprised by your answers, but respecting your opinion, perhaps I am wrong. The video referenced by Richard is very clear to me. A defender who goes to the ground must accept the risk, and it is therefore deliberate handling if the ball makes contact with his arm.

The video is being provided by USSF, and perhaps this is an example of them overstepping their bounds, and providing clarification of an issue that IFAB might disagree with - similar to some points they made in the now outdated Advice To Referee manual. However, while I typically would not have made a handling call in the past for a slide tackling defender, as a USSF referee I feel I must now change. I do not see this video of Referee Baharmasts as information 'to a limited select group and therefore his advice will not be widely disseminated'. This video was referenced in one of USSF's monthly emails that must be sent to thousands of referees. Aren't we now obligated to follow it?

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Larry
Thanks for the follow up and it is good to discuss such topics. So by all means take from the video what you will and if USSF wishes its referees to follow the advice then so be it. I think if a straw poll was done on USSF referees who have seen this video and are acting on it I would be very surprised if the numbers was very high. I personally am giving a wider view.
Now the mystery that Referee Baharmast wanted to solve was the sliding tackle and the philosophical question of taking the benefit away from the attacking team by going to ground on a slide. That sounds like coaching rather than law. To say that the decision hinges on taking a chance by sliding with the ball hitting an arm for me is not always tenable as DHB under the Laws. Sure if that is the case then on every sliding tackle in the penalty area the attacker should target the defenders arm/s with the ball rather than anything else. Would we as referees be happy with a rule that said that every time the ball hits an arm of a player on the ground it is an offence? For me the referee has to make a decision based on each set of circumstance and if it means differing calls from week to week then so be it. Not every situation is the same. In hockey it is an offence if the ball hits a players foot with the one exception of when it is done to draw a foul. Should soccer go that way?
On the two sliding videos shown the defenders clearly raise their legs to try to play the ball. Yes they may be late but sure that is part of the game. The ball then comes from short distance and hits the arms. I would safely say that if I went to 100 games even in the US I will still see these being / not being called in the percentage shown depending on the referees view, circumstances etc. In one video the White player has his arm behind him on the ground breaking the fall and the ball comes under him. He has no idea that was going to happen nor any means of avoiding it other than perhaps not making a challenge. Is the solution for defenders to make no effort to challenge for fear the ball hits an arm because they cannot slide? That is not going to happen nor should it. I cannot see that challenge by White as making oneself bigger or a deliberate action to handle the ball and I agree with one of the answers given from the floor as to why it was not handling.
Put it another way. Let us say that the defender gets there early, stands the attacker up and the attacker pulls the ball back at waist height hitting the players arm by his side. Is that really any different other than one is stood up and the other is lying down?
Or as the question that was originally posed of the ball deflects off another player in the mix or perhaps off the player himself. Is that deliberate handling in all cases on a slide. The CR and the AR in the question got into a spat about the call and perhaps maybe fuelled by the ball hits hand on a slide advice? I know this much that if I was a defender and I make a slide tackle with the intention of playing the ball with my foot and an attacker kicks, miskicks the ball and it hits my arm which is under me or by my side from one to two yards away, the unexpected ball I am going to be pretty aggrieved. Players are going to be pretty sore about such handling calls. Players can live with the DHB where as they slide by the attacker and gather the ball with an arm away from the body or the defender haa an arm above the body in a way that makes the player bigger in an unusual position aka the very first video in the Germany game. That was an unanimous DHB call.
If we go back to the LotG this is what it tells us
Handling the ball involves a deliberate act of a player making contact with the ball with the hand or arm. The following must be considered:
# the movement of the hand towards the ball (not the ball towards the hand)
# the distance between the opponent and the ball (unexpected ball)
# the position of the hand does not necessarily mean that there is an offence
# touching the ball with an object held in the hand (clothing, shinguard, etc.) is an offence
# hitting the ball with a thrown object (boot, shinguard, etc.) is an offence
The goalkeeper has the same restrictions on handling the ball as any other player outside the penalty area. Inside their penalty area, the goalkeeper cannot be guilty of a handling offence incurring a direct free kick or any related sanction but can be guilty of handling offences that incur an indirect free kick.

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Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

HI Larry ,
as suggested by the video PRIOR to Esse's presentation you saw referees in attendance at ODDS with interpretation within his class. I have tried to ascertain if the information Esse is teaching is the same in Italy, Spain, England Etc. I can only attest with MY own FIFA referee contacts and IFAB discussion groups that the trend is less forgiving if a defender challenges on the ground and as a result it creates the contact arm/ball along the ground keeping in mind that when we STAND UP and defend normally there is NO possibility of the ball hitting the arm when it is rolling or along the ground. Yes the ball can accidentally deflect and change direction to strike a players arm after he has gone to ground but in the deliberate action of sliding to intercept or challenge and your arm are away from the body it stops the ball from being successfully passed a much different kettle of fish in my opinion . IF a player trips & is picking them selves up and a ball comes in out of nowhere I lean accidental but if you actually challenge and it prevents a pass or shot I am ok with considering the RISK factor as reasonable and if you follow my past postings you will see I do NOT casually award the foul unless 100% sure
. Cheers
AS I often say Your Match Your Decision Your Reputation

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Answer provided by Referee Peter Grove

Hi Larry,
As you may well have gathered by now if you've been following the site for a while (not sure if you have or not but anyway) I am not a USSF referee and so I take my views on the Laws of the Game directly from the IFAB (and/or FIFA insofar as they used to issue pronouncements on the Laws that were valid at the time and have not been superseded). I cannot see anything in the Laws of the Game and have not seen anything issued by the IFAB currently or FIFA in the past to support the view that a defender who slides along the ground must necessarily be penalised for deliberate handling if there is contact between ball and hand.

I can understand if you as a USSF referee think you should adhere to the advice in the video but personally, I think you are right when you suggest that ''this is an example of them overstepping their bounds, and providing clarification of an issue that IFAB might disagree with ...''

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Answer provided by Referee MrRef

ESSE is one of only a handful of approved FIFA instructor who teaches other WC qualified referees this was NOT just a USSF program overstepping

March 2016 The IFAB's Annual General Meeting (AGM) Amsterdam

Note the topic on the screen picture Handball CAN A SOLUTION BE FOUND?
The instructional video is direct result of those meetings.

The trickle down theory is to refine the approach at the top and EVENTUALLY it will be taught at the lower levels. I will be curious to see if it is included into the next IFAB/FIFA LOTG as a worded factor to consider.

from our pitch to your pitch in the spirit of fair play

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