Soccer Referee Resources
Ask a Question
Recent Questions

RSS FEED Subscribe Now!

Q&A Quick Search
The Field of Play
The Ball
The Players
The Players Equipment
The Referee
The Other Match Officials
The Duration of the Match
The Start and Restart of Play
The Ball In and Out of Play
Fouls and Misconduct
Free Kicks
Penalty kick
Throw In
Goal Kick
Corner Kick

Common Sense
Kicks - Penalty Mark
The Technical Area
The Fourth Official
Attitude and Control
League Specific
High School

Common Acronyms
Meet The Ref
Contact AskTheRef
Help Wanted
About AskTheRef
Panel Login

Question Number: 32116

Law 12 - Fouls and Misconduct 12/19/2017

RE: Competitive Adult

Peter Babbage of Hjorring, Denmark asks...

I'm a little puzzled by the phrase more or less of ' endangers the safety of an opponent.I'm thinking of 2 examples here both involving Man City. Said Mane charges in studs first, head height aond catches Ederson. Everyone seemed to agree clear red card.Whether he meant to do any damage is irrelevant. Last week Otamendi kicks at the ball admittedly more side on and catches the Spurs player. Relatively clear no damage was intended and almost universally agreed a yellow card was correct. I would have thought any boot raised that high must endanger the safety of an opponent. Almost as an aside, yesterday in the Everton game the full back again swung at the ball head height, didn't make contact and the incident passed without any cards or indeed comment from the studio. Aren't they all the same?

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Peter
The red card for Sadio Mane on the high boot challenge on Ederson was indeed correct. He certainly endangered Edersons safety with the high boot close to his head and chest area. Some argued that as it was unintentional he should have only have got a caution, That is dated thinking and it goes back to a time when the game was much more physical.
In the Man City one by Otamendi on Kane of Spurs was equally reckless and endangering safety. What saved him was that both players were facing the same direction. For me it was without doubt reckless and every chance it could have been a red card. Players have to learn that such high boots challenges have no place in the game and need to be eliminated. That needs to be done by strong sanction. The Laws embody the unacceptability of unsafe play in their disciplinary phrases, e.g. 'reckless challenge' (caution = yellow card/ YC) and 'endangering the safety of an opponent' or 'using excessive force' (sending-off = red card/RC).
On the Everton one it was playing in a dangerous manner and as there was no contact the referee decided not to take any sanction against the player. It does though point to the fact that players make such reckless challenges believing that limited sanction will be taken against them.
I recall a time when UK teams playing in the Europe complained bitterly about referees penalising the slightest high boot challenge. High boot challenges were frowned on in Spain and other countries.
In a game at the weekend where I was an AR a challenge took place between two players. Both arrived at the ball at almost the same time. Both got injured and both had to leave the game permanently. The referee went with a caution for the 'late' player to the ball and some felt it was a red card challenge endangering the safety of a player. It could have been red and it was certainly a distinct possibility. It was certainly orangey and the contact was a genuine attempt to play the ball that went wrong for both players which caused the referee to give the benefit of doubt. Perhaps another referee might have gone with red and therein lies the ITOOTR concept.

Read other questions answered by Referee Joe McHugh

View Referee Joe McHugh profile

Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

HI Peter,
Merry Christmas,
judgement calls on events within each match are based on context and the needs of THAT match as much as they translate to consistency in how referees interpret the LOTG.

If we see a one off or something that appears out of nowhere out of character where the colour is orangey to us rather than screaming red. If we see the pull out or attempt to not make contact we might downgrade to reckless rather than serious even if it looks a bit ugly. Lets face it we have all seen terrible challenges go unpunished because a referee did not have direct line of sight or chose a wrong colour card for the occasion thinking to minimize its effect. There are almost or could have been moments where a silly challenge is too faraway which might fit a blatant attempt to create a foul but have no impact or retaliatory aspects. The subtle difference of a one legged versus a two legged, a partially bent leg instead of straight out locked, the speed, angle and location of the impact. To paint all challenges with the same red brush is not likely as the artist at work has a slightly different interpretation of the events. Be that good or bad it will be a bone of contention for at least one team suffering the effects.
I think if you place a stud at head height you are asking to be sent off and if you incur contact you are in fact demanding to be sent off!

Read other questions answered by Referee Richard Dawson

View Referee Richard Dawson profile

Answer provided by Referee Peter Grove

Hi Peter,
On the Sadio Mane incident, while I thought the the red card was correct, I wouldn't say that everyone agreed. I heard quite a lot of people saying they thought it was harsh, including even some referees (though not the majority).

I agree with ref McHugh that the Otamendi challenge on Kane was somewhat different and that as both players were moving in the same direction, the danger to Kane was less than that posed to Ederson by Sadio Mane's challenge. In my opinion it should still have been a red card but obviously the referee in that game didn't think so.

Once again though, for me it just goes to show that no two incidents are ever totally identical and so in many cases, the talk about consistency from referees is slightly misleading, since each incident has to be judged on its merits.

Read other questions answered by Referee Peter Grove

View Referee Peter Grove profile

Ask a Follow Up Question to Q# 32116
Read other Q & A regarding Law 12 - Fouls and Misconduct

Soccer Referee Extras

Did you Ask the Ref? Find your answer here.

Enter Question Number

If you received a response regarding a submitted question enter your question number above to find the answer

Offside Question?

Offside Explained by Chuck Fleischer & Richard Dawson, Former & Current Editor of AskTheRef

This web site and the answers to these questions are not sanctioned by or affiliated with any governing body of soccer. The opinions expressed on this site should not be considered official interpretations of the Laws of the Game and are merely opinions of AskTheRef and our panel members. If you need an official ruling you should contact your state or local representative through your club or league. On AskTheRef your questions are answered by a panel of licensed referees. See Meet The Ref for details about our panel members.