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: 32449

Law 12 - Fouls and Misconduct 5/14/2018

RE: Youth-Adult, rec and competitive

Barry Stewart of Chilliwack, BC Canada asks...

Foul recognition question. Assuming the point of contact to be the blue player's shoulder blade: if the white defender should succeed in nudging the blue player off the ball, would it be a foul? (In this case, the pass got off before light contact.)

That's the way I've been calling it and I too often get groans from the penalized players that it was 'shoulder to shoulder, ref!' Sometimes even, 'That's how we play in this league.'

Thanks again!

Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

Hi Barry based on the picture I can not see it as a shoulder to shoulder but shoulder into the back The shoulder can roll forward slightly or tilt back slightly upon impact but look at this picture of a solid hard but legal tackle .

Read other questions answered by Referee Richard Dawson

View Referee Richard Dawson profile

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Barry
The basis of a legal charge is shoulder to shoulder contact with the ball within playing distance. The contact as well must not be excessive or reckless.
So when I look at your picture the contact is into the players back not his side. As the ball is on its way the contact is also late and a certain foul.
I also believe that many players are mistaken in that they believe that as long as the initiating contact is with the shoulder that it is legal not matter what part of the opponents is contacted. Not so. It must be side to side and as I describe it as easing an opponent off the ball.
Now most referees get complaints from players who have illegally charged an opponent citing shoulder use, opponents losing balance etc. I ignore that as just plain wrong nor would I accept the excuse of how the game is played in that league.
Interestingly both players have no shin pads!

Read other questions answered by Referee Joe McHugh

View Referee Joe McHugh profile

Ask a Follow Up Question to Q# 32449
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.