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Question Number: 31794

High School 9/17/2017

RE: Varsity Soccer Coach High School

Jeffrey Cowles of Hilliard, OH United States asks...

In addition to coaching HS, I also ref as well so this was frustratingly puzzling to me.
During halftime of a game last night, the referee warned our captain about going down to easily in the box trying to draw a penalty (he had already awarded us two penalties in the first half).
In the conversation, which included our head coach and myself, the ref angrily told us the next person to try and draw a penalty in the box for either team would be shown a straight red card for Serious Foul Play because they were 'endangering players'.
Have you ever seen this interpretation of simulation? He told us anywhere else on the field it would be a yellow for Unsporting Behavior, but in the box he had the direction to make the simulation SFP

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Jeffrey
The offence of simulating a foul is unsporting conduct which is a yellow card. It cannot be serious foul play and I fail to understand how a player simulating a foul could endanger either himself or an opponent. Serious foul play is committed where a player uses disproportionate and unnecessary force against an opponent while playing for the ball. SFP is also used in the cases of denying a goal or goal scoring opportunity. So I would fail to understand how a referee could classify simulation as SFP except where the referee decides himself to make up the sanction based on his anathema to the offence and believes erroneously that serious foul play is a catch all for offences not covered in other rules and opining that diving is endangering players! That is just making the rules up which is not ethical nor acceptable
While the referee may be none too pleased by simulation in the game the sanction is a yellow card not a red card. While we dislike much in the game it is not up to referees to make up the rules. If any referee is disdainful of simulation then sanction it with a caution and adopt zero tolerance towards such actions or subsequent actions afterwards by that player.
My final word is that perhaps it was a silly threat made the referee to prevent simulation. Maybe the stupid threat has the desired result where those in the game think that here is a referee who will act outside the rules. I suppose that as the threat did not come to pass with a player sent off it would have been interesting had he been confronted with a dive! I do not know if NFHS requires sending off reports yet it would be an interesting reports to read how a player has endangered safety by making no contact on a dive!

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Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

HI Jeffery,
hmm the LOTG allow the referee a wide latitude of options but making stuff up is NOT one of them.
Unfortunately there is no doubt youth learn from the adults the art of simulation or selling a minor or non-existent foul to gain an advantage. If a referee is aware this was the action undertaken by a player he is entitled to caution for simulation and award an INDFK showing the yellow card for USB!
If the referee was unsure the PKs were legit penalties he should NOT have awarded them. You cannot be fuzzy in the PA . This reeks of an official struggling with thinking he was tricked to look foolish and is seeking a more hurtful response than the LOTG allow. In NO WAY is simulation SFP . It is chicken crap, undignified, unsporting and the mark of a cheater but it is a mark on their integrity it is not a red card, yellow is the suitable colour of a coward was it not?

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Answer provided by Referee Joe Manjone

As you are most likely familiar with, the NFHS Rules Book gives the definition of Serious Foul Play in Rule 8-2-d and it includes:
1. Any play in which the player commits one of the offenses punishable with a direct or penalty kick and uses disproportionate and unnecessary force against an opponent while playing the ball.
2. A player other than the goalkeeper in the penalty area deliberately handles the ball, attempting to prevent a goal and the goal is not scored.
3. A player commits a foul, attempting to deny an obvious goal-scoring opportunity and the goal is not scored. Obviously, simulating foul as the referee had warned about is not included in the definition of Serious Foul Play so no Red Card for Serious Foul Play can be given. The penalty for simulating a foul as indicated in NFHS Rule 8-1-f-9 is a caution.
I expect that the referee got confused about the time a Red Card for a Simulated Foul can be given. It could be given for #3 above if the Simulating a Foul was done to prevent an obvious goal scoring opportunity.
Thus, in the situation you describe, the referee was incorrect. Hopefully, this will serve as a learning experience for him. I hope that you have a successful coaching a refereeing season.

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