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Question Number: 31983

Law 12 - Fouls and Misconduct 11/3/2017

RE: Competitive Under 10

George of Parangarecutirimicuaro, CA Sacratomato asks...

There was a specific play during a game that took place a couple of weeks ago that keeps bugging me. A defender, who is a poor slide tackler given the age, continues sliding throughout the game. On one particular play, this defender sprints to meet an attacker head on. The defender gets to the ball a split second before the attacker and does a slide tackle. Dedender kicks the ball cleanly but causes the attacker to trip over him a bit too rough for my taste. I call a foul against the defender since I felt he had no need to slide and I instruct player to be careful when sliding. I then get an earfull from the coach who feels his player is innocent since he got to the ball first. My question, is there a rule of thumb for judging slide tackles, this one specifically? I am not used to seeing them head on with both players so close to the ball. Most of the slide tackles I see are from the side or from behind an attacker.

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi George
The coach does not know the Laws. It is a foul to tackle in a careless or reckless manner. So getting the ball first is irrelevant and it is not a free pass at being careless or reckless. In your opinion the tackle was careless so it was a foul.
So there is no rule of thumb although I feel the following factors are relevant
# Does the player have his boot up, cleats showing towards an opponent even without contact before playing the ball and then follows through
# The angle of the challenge in that the player knows he is going to *gather* the opponent recklessly on the follow through
# Is the challenge overly aggressive with no regard for what happens next
Now I had the opposite of this at the weekend where a player sliding on the ground plays the ball and the opponent makes contact with the slide tackler in a way that hurt himself. The coach was of the view that the slide challenge was a foul and perhaps a caution whereas it was not anything in my opinion. If there was a foul it was against the opponent of the slide tackler. I spoke to the player at half time about his injury and he was good about it in that he knew it was his own fault. He told me that he did not complain then nor about to now about the challenge.
I did think quite a bit about it after the game as I was somewhat doubting my call even with the players comment and perhaps how I could have handled it differently. I had a good view and I did not see an obvious foul so I just stopped for the injury. The coach moaned to me about it at the time, he moaned to the slider tackler, who he knew, when he was being substituted. It just goes with the territory that some will never be satisfied no matter what happens.

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Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

HI George ,
it is most always a beaten defender who slide tackles, going to ground is a bad idea . Yet a well timed lunge can get a foot in to knock a ball away can save the team on occasion .

The principle concern is HOW it is done? How much force is used? How much the action was ALWAY going to result in a collision of sorts?

We can accept some interaction when a attacker who shows a bit too much of the ball the defender knocks the ball away with a reasonable timed effort of a foot swept in at angle and the attacker tumbles, jumps or falls over the outstretched leg. What we cannot permit is if the direction of the slide was always INTO the attacker not moving the ball away. If the force used or the other leg scissors in behind is so reckless or excessive it endangers the safety of that attacker. A head on slide tackle has EVERY chance of studs up going over top of the ball and going through the player .

I do not say every slide tackle is a foul they all have potential to be foul unless CAREFULLY timed & executed.

I have seen a perfectly executed tackle that destroys the opponent simply because the size difference created a immovable force against an irresistible object whose momentum was completely halted causing him to bounce off the ball into the ait and break his arm on the way down.

I have seen a well timed leg poke through the back of the legs knock a ball free with the attacker stumbling crying for foul when he moved his leg into the defender's leg that had just poke the ball away. The defender did not slide through at excessive speed nor was it reckless in fact it was deliberate stealthy and not even careless.

I have seen the ball stopped dead and the attacker fall over the ball screaming for foul that he was tripped. NO. he fell over the ball that the foot leg of the defender was in behind it with solid mass to not permit the ball to move forward.

We make decisions based on our knowledge & experienced based on our angle of view. We might alter our outlook or reconsider certain things, the LOTG do change, our foul recognition always has room for improvement video can reveal certain hidden values ,monitoring mentoring can give us feedback .
We can be fair, we can give effort, we can take seriously our mandate to protect the player's safety However, as my esteemed colleague Ref McHugh stated we can not please everyone.

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Answer provided by Referee Peter Grove

Hi George,
When you say the defender met the attacker 'head on' with a slide tackle I'm a little unsure of the exact scenario. Do you mean that the defender slid feet first towards the opponent? If so, that would be difficult to do without the studs showing which would be a dangerous way to tackle and most likely a foul. If however, the player slid in with their body 'sideways on' to the opponent, it might possibly be OK, if it was done in a manner that was not careless, reckless or using excessive force (CRUEF). Getting the ball first has nothing to do with it, you just have to judge the nature of the tackle according to the CRUEF criteria.

The way you describe it, as being a bit too rough and saying that the defender needed to be more careful, it does sound as if the challenge was at a minimum, careless (if not more).

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