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Question Number: 32582

Law 12 - Fouls and Misconduct 7/9/2018

RE: Youth to adult, rec and competitive

Barry Stewart of Chilliwack, BC Canada asks...

A few questions from the quarter finals games.

I used my camera to record some replays but they didn't always turn out well. I'll give links where the quality was acceptable.

The first (which didn't record well was from the England-Sweden game. Late in the game, the Swedes make a long pass into the English PA. At 80:44, English keeper Pickford catches the ball, just as a Swedish attacker runs through, trying to grab Pickford.

Pickford takes exception and a scrum gets going. The ref comes in and motions to the keeper to get out of there and get the ball moving.

There has been no stoppage. At 81:09, Pickford finally launches the ball and the game continues.

Basically, it was 24 or 25 seconds in the keeper's hands.

Please discuss, perhaps giving options for what could have or should have been done to allow Pickford to at least get a drop ball or free kick.

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Barry
I watched it in real time.
First point is that it was a foul in that the Swedish player made contact with the English goalkeeper who had the ball. The referee saw the foul and clearly decided to allow play to continue.
The second point is that perhaps by stopping the game the referee might have felt that the incident could have kicked off more misconduct given Pickfords attitude and the presence of defenders who had also taken exception to the challenge. The fact that he told Pickford who had the ball to get on with play took out any delay caused by a free kick plus Pickford was less likely as it transpired to get really involved with the ball still in play.
In the scheme of things allowing Pickford to *hold* the ball for 25 seconds was probably more beneficial to the game rather than stopping play, risking misconduct and perhaps taking a much longer time to get the game restarted.
I advise young referees to keep a game going when there is the potential for confrontation. Over the years when I looked back on games there are incidents that I wished I had not stopped the game. The stoppage allowed player the opportunity to get involved in allsorts including misconduct .
The other advice I give is to get the game going again quickly when it has to be stopped. In the WC there has been incidents that I believe would have benefitted from quicker restarts. The infamous free kick with the *headbutt* incident in the England v Colombia game was one such incident. I felt it took too long to restart 3.30 which allowed all sorts of shenanigans to happen.

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Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

Hi Barry,
The LOTG are there to keep order, prevent chaos, to effectively manage a game!

The fact we use terms or phrases like, doubtful and trifling, within the spirit, and not to interfere unless necessary, allow for some wide latitudes in decision making.

I am 100% in agreement with my colleague's this micro management FIFA directive to separate the players at every free kick is effectively eroding my patience meter.

You are not incorrect the referee could indeed stop the play but decided to allow advantage of the punt out rather than stop for a free kick & the resulting melee of players all seeking retribution or retaliation.

Yes it was risky as both teams seemed reluctance to drift off and away. In as much as I like for play to move along this was a situation that the referee felt he could disperse the tension by continuing play and did so. Not sure If I would do the same but he is a WC referee he does not just do stuff on a whim. Pretty sure he has a clear idea about trying to manage the game. The referee simply overlooked the 6 seconds during the advantage because the dissenting players took a while to disperse without having to stop or show a caution. .

I think quicker restarts, cautions for delaying restarts and dissent NEED to evolve here at the WC in some form of effective management as it is creating a mockery of referee authority and player conduct.

I get it, its the WORLD GAME, the PLAYERS play, People watch, get excited, pay a TON of cash and pin national expectations on the backs of the teams. God forbid an uppity referee thinks to apply the LOTG & hold them accountable for their behavior in a pressure cooker of what SHOULD be the best examples of sportsmanship not the worst!

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