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Question Number: 32017

Law 12 - Fouls and Misconduct 11/12/2017

RE: Competitive Under 15

Christina M of Pleasant Hill, CA United States asks...

My daughter took a knee after blocking a shot and having the wind knocked out of her. She is down on the ground trying to breathe, center referee blows the whistle to stop play and starts moving toward her to see if she is ok. A few moments after the whistle is blown, a player on the other team shoots the ball hard at close range and it hits my daughter right in the head. What, if any, call should be made? Our team plays in the National Premier League of NorCal Premier Soccer League.

Answer provided by Referee Peter Grove

Hi Christina,
It all depends on how the referee judges the circumstance of the incident. If the referee decides a player has deliberately kicked the ball at an opponent, the player could receive a yellow or even a red card. If the referee considers that the whole thing was totally accidental, no action might be necessary.

I am reminded of an incident in the MLS a few years ago when David Beckham kicked the ball at an opponent after the referee had stopped play. Beckham was yellow-carded. As I recall, some thought the card was slightly harsh but on the other hand, if he had kicked it with sufficient force and from close enough, the referee might have decided to send him off.

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Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

Hi Christina,
first off I hope your daughter is ok and suffers no long term damage from the unfortunate events.
Lets give credit to the CR for stopping play in the interest of safety. While being winded is no fun doubtful any serious complication should follow. Once the whistle goes to stop play no one should be kicking the ball anywhere unless they were already in the process and it was difficult to stop.
You ask what call if any?
The referee will need to be aware of three things.
First off play was stopped for an injury thus the restart will be a drop ball. All actions after are only MISCONDUCT but are cardable depending on the findings of the referee
Second will be WHY the ball was being kicked. Frustration? Opponent thinks your daughters injury is stopping the attack and blasts the ball aimlessly accidently hitting your daughter or was it purposefully directed towards your daughter.
Thirdly how hard or dangerous was the impact? While we are considering the USB of the act itself we also look to the careless recklessness or excessive force utilized within the situation.

A caution for show a yellow card for a unsporting act might seem sufficient because I doubt an apology and considering it as a careless act effectively deals with the aftermath of retribution and anger at the act itself.

Because play was blown dead these few moments in between the whistle & the kick of the ball into the head will weigh in heavily as to how easy was it to abort the action? A defender on the dead run trying to clear a ball could easily pound a ball just after whistle into an opponent with no malice. It is also conceivable the whistle was not heard or the action to kick was already in progress.

I will say this if I see the act as a frustrated attempt to vent or delay the restart and the ball is kicked at an opponent given play is not active this is a strike and easily could be a red card for a violent act even if the aim was not to hit the player in the head.

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Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Christina
It all depends on how the referee saw the incident.
For me there are many questions to decide what action if any should be taken
Did everyone hear that whistle? Was the kick a second or so after the whistle or much longer?
Where was the players positioned?.
Did the player deliberately kick the ball at your daughter and that the direction of the kick was not playing related that is in the direction of play?
Was she unfortunate in that she was in the way of a kick towards goal?
Was there ill feeling in the game? Was the kicker taking exception to the injury like in the video of David Beckham?
So the answers can range from nothing if the action was accidental and unintentional, to a caution for reckless plus deliberate and a red card if excessive force was used from short distance.
The restart here we know is a dropped ball as the incident happened while ball was out of play. The card sanction if any depends on the referee and his answering in his head the questions posed.
Have a look at this video
Yellow player gets a red card for striking an opponent with the ball in the head.
Clearly it was an intentional uses of the ball to strike and the referee saw it as violent conduct

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