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Question Number: 32222

Law 12 - Fouls and Misconduct 2/9/2018

RE: Rec Adult

Russell of Sydney, Australia asks...

Keen to hear the panels thoughts on the following challenge.

Who is at fault?

The player who is makes a clean kick on the ball, yet his follow through collects an opponent coming in at equal speed.
Doubtless there is the argument that the kicker might have been able to foresee the outcome, and therefore not have played the ball in such a manner. Fair argument.

But then, what of the opponents responsibility?
Could they too have foreseen what might occur and take some action to avoid the outcome. Could they have realised that they were on a physical 'hiding to nothing' and not put themselves in a dangerous position of someone making a fair and legal kick at the ball.
By legal, I'm talking about the actions leading to the kick as fair and legal - the follow through contact with the actual ball is another story.

So a question is which player played endangered an opponent or themselves.

The rules allow for us to determine that someone played in a dangerous manner that is as as much a danger to themselves as an opponent.

Everyone is entitled to make a play at the ball, or to make a defensive challenge " in a way that does not endanger a fellow player, opponent, official, or, outside agent.

I'm not saying the card was wrong, but simply promoting debate on an action that in another form, might not attract such a card result. Maybe my objective of the post is to hear about where the line is drawn on what becomes a card for one, as opposed to the other - or no card at all - just a 'coming together'.

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Russell
This has been asked a number of times over the years. Many times referee hear the phrase *But I got the ball ref*.
Playing the ball is not a free pass at being careless or reckless in challenging for the ball.
Yes many times there will be what is described as coming together of the players after the ball is played away which is not a foul yet that is a long way from a player who knowingly and recklessly follows through into an opponent in the challenge.
In recent times there has been an increase of the challenge that plays the ball yet the player aggressively continues onwards into the opponent. That is a foul, a caution for being reckless and if excessive force is used the player is sent off.
Now in this scenario, in the opinion of the referee , the player used excessive force in the challenge. Now I am mindful of looking at single incidents in isolation. Was the player spoken to before the incident? Was there a pattern of aggressive challenges in the game by this player?
I had one of these at the weekend where a goalkeeper came out, played the ball and his follow through caught the player below the knee on the follow through. It did not look like a foul as the attacker moved into the path of the kick from the side and IMO simply players coming together in a challenge. The attacking team were none too happy yet were somewhat unsure. I also recall a recent game where a player got injured on a challenge where his follow through resulted in him sustaining an injury. As I told the referee at half time that the player was likely to get sent off due to the aggressive follow through nature of his challenges. He had already been cautioned.
In the sending off in your question I would say that the referee may have been swayed by
1. How high up the contact was on the opponent
2. The straight leg nature of the follow through
3. There did not appear to be any effort to limit the follow through and no concern for the player.
4. Could the player have avoided the manner of his kick with a pull back after the ball was played.
On balance I would say that the player acted with disregard to the danger to, or consequences for, the opponent and the player endangered the safety of the opponent which moved it from a caution to a dismissal.
I think most referees would go with red here. As I said I have encountered challenges where there has been accidental contact after the ball is played and also seen cautions and dismissals in such circumstances . In my example above with the goalkeeper perhaps another referee would see it differently and angle of view can have a bearing.

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Answer provided by Referee Peter Grove

Hi Russell,
In deciding whether a foul has taken place, I believe the referee should use the guidelines contained in the law to decide whether it was a legal challenge or a foul. If the referee judges that a challenge was, at a minimum, careless they should award a free kick. If the referee opines that the challenge was reckless or used excessive force, they should in addition, issue a caution or dismissal, respectively. The law gives additional information on the definitions of careless, reckless and excessive force.

I have to say that based on your various questions I would say you have a firm grasp of the Laws and a good sense of foul recognition and while videos can be useful in showing an example of an incident that might be difficult to describe in words, I am not convinced that looking at televised games and analysing a referee's decisions in them is always particularly helpful in deciding how you as a referee should call fouls.

For me, so long as you are acting within the confines of the Laws and applying their requirements as written, you should call fouls as you see them, and not be overly mindful of how another referee might have made calls in a game that they were in charge of.

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