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Question Number: 32480

Law 12 - Fouls and Misconduct 5/29/2018

RE: Rec Adult

Russell of Sydney, Australia asks...

This question is a follow up to question 32476

Am disappointed the Ref McHugh chose not to provide a thought on the proposed variation on the benzema / Karius monument.

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Russell
Being away from home for a few days and pressure of work prevented me from giving an detailed response to your question. Apologies for that.
I tried to cover it in my short response where I opined that had Karius baulked at release I would have given the goalkeeper more time in possession of the ball. I probably would not act until the action escalated into a foul that needed sanction. More on that below.
My experience is that type of situation does happen reasonably regularly where an attacker tries to interfere with the goalkeepers release who then baulks at doing what they were committed to either by stopping or changing direction. I then feel it is up to the referee to decide whether to ignore it as trifling, play advantage or to penalise based on the circumstances. Game condition will dictate the response.
Where the advantage / trifling options are played the referee has to reconsider the 6 second rule and as I said almost reset the time taken giving more leeway for the baulked possession. I would certainly wave away any complaints of the goalkeeper holding the ball for a longer time than normal. The referee could if so inclined go with the IDFK and delay the game further. Circumstances will dictate the best decision for the referee.
Another consideration is that the referee has to consider is whether the baulking eliminates totally what the goalkeeper was trying to do. Sometimes the GK wants to get the ball forward quickly and even with baulking it can still be the best outcome for the game to allow play to continue with the baulk having limited impact of perhaps a second or so delay.
I recall last season a player clearly baulked / impeded a goalkeeper from a quick throw which caused the GK to stop yet very quickly the option continued to be present which the GK availed of. Bringing it back for an IDFK there was not the best option. I shouted advantage an gave the signal and sprinted after the throw to the unmarked winger.
So let us say that Karius was baulked by Benzema with an underarm throw but then regrouped with an overhead throw to the right back the best decision might be to allow the game to proceed as intended. Only if the action was prevented or the goalkeeper's kick or throw is negatively impacted would it be necessary for the referee to intervene which may also necessitate a card for USB.
Final point on the Benzema situation is that had the player caused Karius to baulk which includes stopping or changing direction / intent it then gets into the foul space and if that had happened I would have no hesitation in calling the offence once the action is successful in stopping the ball. It is then a different scenarios altogether with a silent advantage in play and contact on the ball / GK then brings the play back to the original foul. We see these quite a bit where the attacker does clearly interfere, the GK stops, does something else, more interference and then the ball is released many times with little impact. We allow those to proceed. When it does end in a result for the attacker it should be called. That did not happen here, not even remotely as Benzema not once did he go near the GK or baulk the release but went to close down the channel which got a result through poor choice and execution.
This was an outlier event and some referees see it as the opening of interfering floodgates which I do not. Most if not all illegal actions on the GK are punished correctly and this event even it was remotely a foul Is out on the trifling scale albeit a goal was scored. It is for me an interception which caused not even a scintilla of a baulk or interference . I believe there would have been a furore if it was disallowed.

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Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

HI Russell,
I see my esteemed colleague has responded.

One point many have failed to account for is the timing of this event and the close proximity as natural momentum versus the opponent deliberately changing direction or altering his run to interfere with the release.

The decision to release is the KEEPERS.

Our challenge as the referee?
Do we see the attacker as deliberately or inadvertently trying to block his effort to do so?

Most fouls we only act on what we see but if the keeper releases the ball into the opponent's path or direction, is the opponent not permitted to react to the presence of the ball? If the ball was to strike him or he is able to stretch out and stop it from going by is this somehow wrong?

Looking closely, if the keeper has decided, hey wait a minute this guy is still right in front of me lets wait and he stopped his run or reversed his direction or significantly altered the path . If the attacker also stops and dawdles in front or choses to follow/ shadow him then we see clearly this guy is messing with the keeper.

The keeper regroups to overhand toss or he decides to punt the ball. There is every possibility he thinks, I going to pound this right into this clown who is bugging me just as he could decide to point his finger and say hey ref, or choose to take step around him and try to release the ball.

We do not want to award an INDFK versus a punt out as generally the punt is more advantageous so we likely do not stop play until we see the interference is a done deal and to prevent further escalation of irritation. If we saw the opponent's actions as an attempt to hassle we award the keeper greater leeway in possession time to allow the release to proceed. If the opponent is false charging or switching up to move/jump in front not only an INDFK but a card for USB is now in the running.

Some key points! An opponent is:
NOT allowed to interfere with the release process!
NOT permitted to challenge for ball possession until after release
NOT obligated to move out of the way of a release.
Can intercept the ball if his actions were not interfering with the release.

It is here where I think those who see this an INDFK offence have climbed onboard that the attacker's run was designed to interfere with the release. That the leg was in a position TO intercept ONLY because he was shadowing the keeper. I respect that opinion even if I hold it is incorrect.

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Ask a Follow Up Question to Q# 32480
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