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Question Number: 32588

Law 12 - Fouls and Misconduct 7/12/2018

RE: Rec Adult

Russell of Sydney, Australia asks...

Am puzzled by two similar Penalty are jostling that had only one picked up as an infringement.

The last play of the first half had seen Lovren of Croatia inside the PA grabbed and hindered by Maguire as the ball came into the PA from a left side set play Modric cross. This was a classic 'off-the-ball' bit of dark arts defending.

No call from the ref, and although Lovren did not make much of it, he can be seen on the ground looking back at the ref as if to say 'did you see that'. The ball was still inplay so Lovren was quick to his feet to continue. Apparently, a VAR review looked at the incident and deem not foul.

Fast forward to approx the 54min mark and now almost the same scenario is played out again as a Croatian left side corner from Modric comes in, however, on this occasion the Ref has seen Lovren do much the same off the ball jostling on Magiure and a foul is called on Lovren.

I get puzzled when one off the ball incident is call, yet, another does not. In these tow examples, certainly the second looks more dramatic then the second, yet, with had the same effect - stopped a plater from making a play on the ball. Why not the same outcome.

I do not have an issue with the ref not seeing and calling the first, as we all know, there are some many places to be watching at set plays, that is is very understandable things are missed. However, in this incident, we have VAR, so am puzzled why one was let slide, and not the other.

The first was defender on attacker, the second the opposite. Other then that the effect was the same " one stopped the other form being able to make a play at or to the ball.

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Russell
The first incident did attract a lot of attention plus Lovren and Modric could be seen protesting vehemently to Referee Cakir at half time about the no call. I have no doubt VAR looked at it and decided that there was not enough contact to ask the referee to review the incident. That has been the policy on such decisions using VAR in the WC. The referee had to see it also so between him and VAR they both decided it was not a foul. I would tend to agree with that as both players seemed to be *fouling* although there was a risk that it could have been given.
On the second one it was more obvious in my opinion. Lovren, as do all the players, knew that VAR would look at these situations and given his protest some minutes earlier just before half time may have tried to engineer a grappling situation? Did he try to *wrestle* Maguire in the hope that Maguire might react in kind? For me it was a clear foul by Lovren seen by the referee in real time without the need of VAR.
I think had the first one been given it would have created a very negative atmosphere for the game with what would be seen as a soft penalty. As the way the game turned out there was no possibility of refereeing being the reason the game was won or lost. Neither side would have any gripe with the way the game was officiated including use of VAR.

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Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

HI Russell,
There were numerous fouls allowed to go unscathed several were trip or push types that frankly should be awarded as they STOPPED the attack and took over ball possession. Soft foul or not if it CHANGES the outcome of play I find it not prudent to ignore it? I get the cards were not going come out until the very end but if they put in the sin bin for dissent and failure to respect distance calls I think we could restart a lot quicker and stop this badgering of the officials. I think the allotment and reasoning of yellow cards are not functional in these type of intense WC matches .
Cheers .

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Answer provided by Referee Peter Grove

Hi Russell,
I think the answer to your question is that no two incidents are exactly alike - the conscientious referee judges each incident on its own merits and calls them as he sees them.

Referee Cakir did not see a foul on the first incident (and the VAR check evidently did not see this as a ''clear and obvious error''). On one of the replays, I thought I saw signs that Lovren was holding the front of Maguire's shirt so the referee may have seen it as 6 of one and half a dozen of the other. The second incident, he saw as a foul by Lovren.

For me, there is no inconsistency, just two different incidents that were judged differently by the referee.

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