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Question Number: 31963

Law 12 - Fouls and Misconduct 10/30/2017

RE: Rec Under 14

Rob of Allen, Texas United States asks...

If there is a pass from the offense to a streaking forward and the defender beats the offender to the ball, is the first to strike the ball away and gain position, where no possession has occurred yet...and there is minor incidental contact between players beyond the ball contact - Is that a foul? Know the offensive player went down but appeared to be sliding down after losing position to the defender. The play happened at the top of the box - just before and on the line of the penalty box. If called a foul is that a penalty shot?

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Rob
The Laws of the Game list the various fouls that result in direct and indirect free kicks. Referees look for contact that impact negatively on players. Some contact can be incidental having no impact on play.
Now in the modern game players can go down easily which puts pressure on referees to decide whether the contact was a foul or incidental. Situations where players look for a foul is always a challenge and the referee has to give what he sees and feels. Not all contact is a foul.
Any direct free kick offense inside the penalty area will result in a penalty kick.

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Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

Hi Rob,
based solely on your description it is difficult to imagine a foul. Yet perception is not always the truth. A referee with integrity sees what he sees and calls the foul based on his knowledge, experience and his match line of sight affords him in a split second.
The location of a DFK foul IF it occurs inside the PA automatically becomes a PK. If the incident occurs over the plane of that 5 inch PA boundary line, that is considered as INSIDE the PA and a DFK would be upgraded to PK status. The lines are considered as part of the area they encompass.

Some fouls are awarded for things I can not explain just as some are not awarded for the very same reasoning.
The difficult of constancy from referee to referee is WHAT exactly do they see and what is their standard of tolerance or acceptance as doubtful or trifling, not just the referee but the the players themselves?

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