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Question Number: 32561

Law 12 - Fouls and Misconduct 7/1/2018

RE: Other

John Lubeck of Livermore, CA United States asks...

Croatia Denmark Round of 16
An absolutely clear and unequivocal DOGSO. YC given. Statements abound that the rules have changed. I read the 2018/19 Law of the Game. The only change I see is that IF ADVANTAGE is played a YC is given whether a goal is scored or not. Otherwise it's a send-off.

Grade 1 ref gives a YC. How does that make sense. If there is an update to the rules (that I don't see) that made this particular DOGSO a YC, how can the rule change make sense?

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi John
See 32560 as well
This was a particularly unusual foul in that without it the goal would have been scored. Many times it is the opportunity that is denied which has an uncertainty about a goal or not. In that regard the law makers decided that in cases involving a genuine attempt to play the ball with the award of a penalty kick that the player is cautioned rather than sent off. That works for most of the situations that referees encounter yet it will throw up an outlier such as this.
So the decision hinged on whether it was a genuine attempt to play the ball or not and on balance, with probably a VAR review, I would say it was an attempt in that the player gets very close to the ball in the challenge. Some on the field thought the ball was played which VAR confirmed that it was not.
So the Law as amended does not cover every single situation and on balance there has been little complaint about yellows instead of reds in denying obvious goal scoring opportunities resulting in penalty kicks since the change. It is the first I can think of that has caused real concern so maybe it needs to be looked at again by the law makers.
On balance 99.9% of the time it has been seen as working as intended.

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Answer provided by Referee Peter Grove

Hi John,
I think you have missed the wording in Law 12 which states as follows:

''Where a player commits an offence against an opponent within their own penalty area which denies an opponent an obvious goal-scoring opportunity and the referee awards a penalty kick, the offender is cautioned if the offence was an attempt to play the ball''

This was an amendment first introduced in 2016, albeit with slightly different wording at that time. The basic principle has remained the same, with the current wording being described by the IFAB as a 'simplification' of the previously more convoluted phraseology.

As for this making sense, it was justified at the time as a way to avoid what had become known as the 'triple punishment' whereby a player would be red-carded, a penalty awarded and the player would serve a suspension. Since in most cases (not here, obviously) penalties are scored, thus restoring the goal that had been initially denied, the argument was that it was overly harsh to subject the player to the immediate dismissal and subsequent suspension as well as awarding a penalty.

While I think most people would agree that this combination of punishments is not too harsh for the kinds of 'professional foul' that led to the adoption of the original DOGSO wording, there had been a growing voice of opinion against the so-called triple punishment being applied equally to the 'genuine but just slightly mistimed attempt to play the ball' type of DOGSO offences.

These sentiments led to the IFAB downgrading the card colour to yellow when the offence is an attempt to play the ball and a penalty is awarded.

DOGSO offences that lead to a penalty still result in a red card, according to the law ''in all other circumstances (e.g. holding, pulling,pushing, no possibility to play the ball etc.'' In addition, any DOGSO offence which takes place outside the penalty or involves handling remains as a red card.

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Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

HI John,
There is reason to see this as a red card if you hold there was no actual attempt to play the ball and this was cynical tactical foul designed to stop the player not an attempt play the ball.
Defenders defend, they try to stop attackers from scoring, sometimes they foul them while doing so. FIFA and the IFAB decided that the idea of sending off a player and the resulting missed games and a PK were a tough sanction for a guy only trying to do his job. That of course was not to excuse the fouls that had nothing to do with trying to play the ball legally , like a shirt pull or a deliberate handling . Nor does it excuse the SFP or VC but they are even more serious than the DOGSO.

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