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Question Number: 32151

Law 12 - Fouls and Misconduct 1/7/2018

RE: Adult

Douglas Wix of Liverpool, Merseyside United Kingdom asks...

2 questions please. Firstly why wasnt Evertons Holgate given a straight red card for violent conduct against Firmino-awful decision to not give anything! Premier refs are far too weak & hope the f.a.will see fit to ban Holgate for 3 matches.
2nd point re Fleetwood v Leicester-why didnt the referee blow for an indirect free kick when the Leicestwr goalkeeper handled a backpass

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Douglas
On the Holgate incident the heavy push by Holgate on Firmino which saw Firmino go over the pitch hoardings into the crowd certainly merited sanction for misconduct. It was at least a yellow card and perhaps a red although probably the Liverpool players momentum caused the push to have a great effect than expected.
I also believe that Holgate's accusation of verbal abuse by Firmino in his heated reaction to the push, which caused the referee to speak to the 4th official (not sure why) may have got the referee thinking that if there is something serious in this incident that cards could diminish any retrospective action that the FA might take. In a perverse way no cards allows retrospective action to be taken by the FA. Perhaps if one card issued then a second card was also required. It is reported in the media that Referee Madley has reported the incident to the FA and it is under investigation. So on the face of it the incident merited sanctions yet that may still happen.
On the backpass many referees have been in the situation of deciding whether a 'save' knocking the ball away from goal on a deliberate kick is an offence under the spirit of the law. Dragovi of Leicester nearly beat the goalkeeper Jakupovic, with his kick bouncing towards the bottom right goalpost. The keeper scrambled back and tipped the ball around the post. The referee awarded a corner. Now technically it could have been called yet the referee decided to give the defender the benefit of any doubt. I once had a defender make a wild kick of the ball which I think he intended to clear from half way up-field and it ended up being tipped over his own bar for a corner. I was not sure what was intended which could have been a backpass that went badly astray.
I saw a doubtful IDFK awarded by a referee in a Women's game (on the web) with an IDFK on the 6 yard line. To say that it caused a right furore was an understatement and even trying to get the IDFK taken correctly with players on the line, 10 yards away took forever with all sorts of shenanigans, encroachment, pushing, failing to retreat etc. It was eventually taken with the shot being blocked. The free kick IMO should have been retaken yet I suspect the referee had enough of what transpired to allow play to continue. I suspect she will not be in a hurry to award another doubtful one again!!
Here is the reason we have the Law
The Law has eliminated such action from the game.

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Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

HI Douglas,
There is no logical explanation why the OBVIOUS, HARD push OUTSIDE the FOP was tolerated by the referee as acceptable? Firmino sure saw it different. I have no idea what the 4th saw looking down the touchline but obviously nothing that swayed the non decision to do anything?
We can only speculate if words prior on the FOP were exchanged before this incident. Personally I felt Holgate was just feeling prickly after giving up the PK and just lousy at losing possession again so easily so he overreacted like a big baby.

I did NOT notice any animation by Holgate at the initial PUTA dialogue by Firmino it was almost, yah I know I was an idiot, but as Firmino pulled away I could not see if he mouthed further expletives given the referee's head blocked me from seeing his mouth. But it was NOT until Firmino was pulled back did the exaggerated animation suddenly appear on Holgate's face as if taking DIRECT offence to what was said as something beyond the, you are an SOB!

I want to point out that these pushes, well perhaps not so OBVIOUS as this one, occur ALL the time when balls are being sheparded out or controlled near a touchline and the bump is to knock them off the ball or out of the way . I see the occasional throw ins go to, in my opinion, the wrong team, as I think the push PRIOR to the ball going out should be called. Given THIS push was well outside and well after the ball was already over the touchline it is MISCONDUCT only.

I do not think Holgate d received a caution for the PK foul that Milner scored so this was not I think an ease up on Holgate by the referee ,knowing he was agitated already. In elite football they do NOT substitute players after giving up a needless PK to cool down and regain composure, they just expect them to get on with it!

I think the FA will look into this and while the conduct of the players will be looked at I think too the conduct of the officials at the handling of this will be given plenty of attention.

The awarding of a technical offence like an INDFK for illegal handling by the keeper on a deliberately kicked ball by a team mate to the keeper is overshadowed by the fact a referee will look to see if the intention of the passer was really to do that DESPITE intent not being a true indicator.

We certainly do not want to award a scoring opportunity for a miskick or a desperate redirect in saving a goal or intercepting a pass. Yet if it was simply a poorly weighted or slightly off course directed pass one can certainly make the call within the LOTG and be 100% correct The fact the keeper reacted to SAVE the ball from entering the goal pushed the ball wide for a corner satisfied his decision making even if yours was to award the INDFK for the illegal use of hands. I do not think it was a lack of guts, more so a feeling the corner was in keeping with the circumstances ITOOTR!.

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