Soccer Referee Resources
Ask a Question
Recent Questions

RSS FEED Subscribe Now!

Q&A Quick Search
The Field of Play
The Ball
The Players
The Players Equipment
The Referee
The Other Match Officials
The Duration of the Match
The Start and Restart of Play
The Ball In and Out of Play
Fouls and Misconduct
Free Kicks
Penalty kick
Throw In
Goal Kick
Corner Kick

Common Sense
Kicks - Penalty Mark
The Technical Area
The Fourth Official
Attitude and Control
League Specific
High School

Common Acronyms
Meet The Ref
Contact AskTheRef
Help Wanted
About AskTheRef
Panel Login

Question Number: 32689

Law 12 - Fouls and Misconduct 9/6/2018

RE: Adult

Gianluca Vecchio of wexford, Ireland asks...

If two players are shoulder to shoulder can one player throw his leg out in front of the other player to force contact with his leg and win a foul?

Answer provided by Referee Peter Grove

Hi Gianluca,
Foul recognition is a fairly subjective art. What one referee sees as a foul, another might not. It's also very difficult to judge on the merits of a potential offence without actually seeing it.

Having said all that, what you are describing sounds like it might well be a case of simulation. The law says that this is where a player:

''attempts to deceive the referee e.g. by feigning injury or pretending to have been fouled''

If the opponent has done nothing that is either careless, reckless or using excessive force to cause the contact but instead, the referee judges that a player has initiated contact so that they can pretend to have been fouled, that would be an offence and the player should be cautioned.

Read other questions answered by Referee Peter Grove

View Referee Peter Grove profile

Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

HI Gianluca,
short answer is no but
foul recognition is as much art as science with a degree of gut feeling . Players are very skillful at making most any coming together look as if a foul is present. It is unfair & against the spirit of the game but apparently fair play takes a back seat to a win at any cost attitude! As long as the lean into is occurring at the same time a leg, hip, shoulder contact is not without doubt but looks quite fair.

Note how players seek contact to draw a foul.

Below two very good legal shoulder charges


Read other questions answered by Referee Richard Dawson

View Referee Richard Dawson profile

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Gisnluca
Thanks for the question.
Referee are not mind readers and they make decisions based on what they see and their understanding of the game.
As described this is a foul against the player that throws his leg out for no other reason than to win a foul. That though might not look like that depending on speed, referees angle of view, location of the ball etc.
For example I can recall an incident a few seasons ago where a player pushed a ball past an opponent inside the penalty area and he then moved his right leg unnaturally to make contact with the defender to simulate a trip. I was well placed to see the unnatural movement of the attackers leg so I gave a direct free kick to the defender. I could have also cautioned for the incident yet I just chose to award the direct free kick.
Perhaps had I not had as good an angle to see the change of direction of the attackers leg I might have given the penalty or perhaps a less experienced official might have given it.
I like to show this video to ask the question in such instances and to show how difficult it is
Does Vardy Blue exaggerate the movement of his left leg to deliberately catch Montreal the Red defenders leg? Is the direction of his run natural?
Does Montreal the Red defender plant his leg to stop the Blue attacker? Does Montreal need to challenge in the manner he does?
I can see how easy it is to give this as a penalty and yet I feel that there is a nagging doubt that the attacker helped to *create* the foul. The defender certainly feels perplexed that he did nothing wrong other than try to play the ball which fails with a resultant planted leg and does the attacker takes advantage of that planted leg. A straw poll will say more a penalty than not yet there are *doubts* for me that it is a foul. If the referee could mind read and knew that the attacker deliberately made contact to *win* a foul then a free out to the defender.
Defenders at the higher levels have to recognise that opponents will take advantage of poor challenge decision making and it can be a very difficult call for the referee to make. Fail to win the ball and a high risk of fouling.

Read other questions answered by Referee Joe McHugh

View Referee Joe McHugh profile

Ask a Follow Up Question to Q# 32689
Read other Q & A regarding Law 12 - Fouls and Misconduct

The following questions were asked as a follow up to the above question...

See Question: 32693

Soccer Referee Extras

Did you Ask the Ref? Find your answer here.

Enter Question Number

If you received a response regarding a submitted question enter your question number above to find the answer

Offside Question?

Offside Explained by Chuck Fleischer & Richard Dawson, Former & Current Editor of AskTheRef

This web site and the answers to these questions are not sanctioned by or affiliated with any governing body of soccer. The opinions expressed on this site should not be considered official interpretations of the Laws of the Game and are merely opinions of AskTheRef and our panel members. If you need an official ruling you should contact your state or local representative through your club or league. On AskTheRef your questions are answered by a panel of licensed referees. See Meet The Ref for details about our panel members.