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Question Number: 32039

Law 12 - Fouls and Misconduct 11/20/2017

RE: competitive Under 13

rodger williams of croydon, london uk asks...

The attacker has the ball and running at pace straight ahead with two defenders running slightly behind on their left hand side. The goal is also to the left of the attacker.

The attacker then turns diagonally to run towards goal, with the ball fully in their control. The two defenders do not adjust to the attackers change in direction and then collide in to the attacker. The attacker falls over and no attempt has been made by the defenders to play the ball.

Is this a foul?

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Rodger
As described this is certainly a foul. The defenders must adjust to the movement of the attacker who has the ball. To not do so is careless which is a foul.
Another example is if the attacker was to stop with the ball under control and both defenders collide into the back of attacker. That is also a foul.
I suspect the reason you ask is that such a foul was not called. There can be many reasons for that which can be
1. The referee does not see the contact and maybe thinks that the change of direction caused the player to slip first
2. The contact in his opinion was insufficient to cause the player to fall
3. The referee thought that the ball was played first by a defender before the contact.
4. Inexperienced official with poor foul recognition, perhaps looking at the ball rather than upper body contact.

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Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

Hi Rodger,
which ever player has clear possession of the ball the opposition cannot hinder him without challenging fairly as in shoulder to shoulder or a tackle which contacts the ball and takes it away in a fair manner.

Just running into someone sounds rather careless at the LEAST of it depending how fast or hard the challenge might be adjudged as reckless or excessive and cards could come into play. I have seen pursuing players chasing down a through ball run directly into the back of a defender who stopped reacting to the backspin of a ball that hit the ground and rather then bounce forward it came back towards her! She stopped suddenly recognizing the flight of the ball had changed, her opponent head down did not. So when the well positioned player tried to play the ball off her chest she raised her arms kind of like in a hold up palms out and the opponent on the dead run ran into the back of that arm, Screams of she elbowed her and cries of foul but I looked quickly to see if there was blood or if she had truly injured herself but allowed play to continue.
I have seen plenty of widespread arms more like a seagull or scarecrow sweeping action that is used to ward off people coming around or by THIS was not anything like that. Yet the injured player could not grasp it was HER fault she ran into the stationary player. She took no responsibility for running at full tilt head down NOT assessing the situation only trying to PASS the opponent!
There is a difference in owning the space you occupy and occupying the space you move into. A neutral referee observes and judges, our decisions are based on what we see with what we know. Some see better, others know more, but then perception of others does not guarantee truth. As a fact of play we must abide by the referee decision even if we disagree. A referee who tries, puts out effort to stay with play, to train and be mentored, studying the LOTG improving their foul recognition. Most players will respect those who have these characteristics even if they might disagree with the occasional decision.

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