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Question Number: 32642

Mechanics 8/12/2018

RE: Under 16

jeffrey of Portland, Oregon usa asks...

I have some trouble with persistent infringement cautions. Calling it on one player committing fouls or repeated fouls against a skilled player is usually fine, but I will give a short list of my issues and hopefully you can help me with it and help others as well

1. If it is a heated/clumsy match with many players on the field committing fouls, how can you easily track or remember the numbers and teams of the players and how many fouls they have committed to go towards a PI penalty?

2. If a team as a whole is committing a lot of the same type of foul (ex. jumping into players' backs on air balls, doing a lot of jersey pulling, etc) like it's what they were taught to do, can you ultimately give the next player who does so a caution, even if it is only their first offense, more as a 'team persistent infringement' caution?

I just completed a lower level tournament final game where I called what felt like 30 fouls during the match, but never even considered giving a caution during the match because not only were none of the fouls on their own really 'caution-able' (mostly just a shove or pop in the back here and there), but there is just no way I could have singled out any specific players on either team as persistently infringing because so many were committing them. And this sort of thing has happened to me before.

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Jeffrey
The use of cards is to assist the referee control a match and to ensure it's played in a fair and. Sporting manner. There will be times as well when the Laws insist on a particular course of action where a card must be issued such as in denying a goal or goal scoring opportunity, violent conduct etc.
Many times the use of cards is at the referees discretion so in the case of persistent infringement my advice is to consider the impact it is having on the game.
Here are some questions to consider
1. Are the fouls having a negative impact on the opponents and its play.
2. Is there a pattern in the fouls such as targeting a certain player/s. Is it being done to stop the opponents from developing good field positioning, building attacks, allowing player to get back?
3. Is the mood of the game being affected by the constant fouling?
4. What is being said on the field of play?
There is no set amount of fouls that constitutes persistent infringement although 4/5 fouls in a short space of tine by the same player us too many. However a player could gave two fouls in quick succession and maybe not done to the referees attention again until late in the second have with two more fouls and that might not be PI.
Three quick fouls one after another all grouped together could be PI.
My advice is to go with your instinct. I make mental notes of player infringements and I say to myself that say player 10 has now come to my attention more than I like or that Player 9 has been fouled a lot so that puts me in alert that Player 10 is not going to get any benefit of doubt on his next foul. I might ven warn the player with something like 'Player 10 that is your third foul. Do not come to my attention again'
I might also start hearing from players 'How many times referees ' after yet another foul and that raises my antenna again.
Now I try to pick out reasonably significant fouls that could be cautioned such as a jersey pull, tactical foul etc on a PI card. If I pick out a clumsy bump to caution I can then get into a spiral of cards for minor offences which is not a good place to be for a referee.
So what I would say to a referee is not to go looking for persistent infringement yet just to be aware that it is there to be used should the referee need it.
Thirty fouls is not overly high in foul count. In the recent WC the foul average for games involving France was just under 30. In the WC the use of cards was not used extensively by referees yet there appeared to be much more use of talking to players.
So to answer your questions
1. Make a mental note of players and also talk to players that you believe is fouling more than normal. There is no manic number yet 4/5 in quick succession is PI
2. If need be a team can be guilty of PI so a players first foul could be a caution for USB yet it's origin is persistent infringement.
In the game that you mention I would say that there was no persistent infringement as you would have spotted it. It is not about foul count yet rather the reason behind the foul which includes breaking up okay, targeting opponents, frustrating the opposition etc.
I hope that helps

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Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

Hi Jeff,
my colleague has given you an excellent accounting of the concept of PI. . I agree with his assessment that I doubt there was any reason to go the PI route on your last match simply because nothing essential pops out. A 30 foul count is not overly excessive for 90 minutes over 22 plus 10 subs although I find the defenders for each team get more than their share.

In reality PI is an individual fouling opponents in such a manner as to grab your attention be it what you see or what you hear. BE it a few soft fouls in quick succession or several fouls spaced out over the match of a critical nature. I like to try and give the player who has caught my attention at least once that warning of , hey why are you here again on my radar?, before issuing a caution for PI? Especially if it is going to be a 2nd caution thus a send off .

You can be sure the opposition will point out players they feel are getting away with too much! Usually a reckless or USB element is involved in a tackle and the very idea they contemplate another one close to the same in terms of severity or time proximity is likely to remind you, that you cannot let such actions go unchecked. In the few instances I have issued a caution for PI I make a very determined effort to single out the other fouls, their severity or timing and location. I already warned you to stop this constant pushing and pulling , this is your 5 foul in the last 20 minutes as I point out around the FOP where we talked or the fouls occurred. Or your pattern of fouls has escalated to where I see it bordering recklessness given I asked you twice to watch yourself you will get no 3rd time

If the TEAM is fouling a single opponent, like a marquee player, that is more a USB action and yes the very first foul by a player COULD result in a caution especially if you have already mentioned to the presiding opposing captain,' I see a pattern here! I do not like and if I see it again there could be consequences!' I recall a ladies match where a very good player had the ball glued to her foot and the other teams reaction was to slice her down at every opportunity. She played through several advantages but after the 4th time she wound up picking herself off the deck in about 15 minutes I warned the opposing captain this pattern of targeting her was not unnoticed, I agreed it was difficult to mark her but if I saw her sprawled out the player responsible could have consequences.. I do not recommend saying, if I see this I will do that as it does confine you or create expectations but a warning should precede any use of cards for such behaviour given the very first foul by a player could be cautioned.

In terms of remembering, use their colour and number in any chat ,hey 15 blue lets ease up on those challenges, say it loud enough so your ARs can hear you the ARs can assist with such mental notes by saying things like man you talked to 15 blue at least 4 times plus if you repeat it more than once or twice it will stick with you. 15 blue? Here we are again 15 blue this is a bad habit we need to stop this!

The type of fouls are certainly important be they of a tactical nature or a series of soft stumbles yet given we show cautions for reckless fouls all by there selves often that PI foul on your radar already had the reckless component where the caution was always coming!

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