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Question Number: 32695

Law 12 - Fouls and Misconduct 9/9/2018

RE: Select Under 12

K Turner of Las Vegas, NV USA asks...

A U11 attacker is tripped at 19 yds with a wall of defenders in front of him so I saw no great opportunity for advantage. Before I could whistle but within 3 seconds another player ran up and took a shot without being challenged by defenders about 5-6 yds away, so not as clear of a shot as a DFK with defenders 10 yds away. I chose to allow a GK with no foul called since I didnt think I could allow a "2d bite at the cherry". The coach was clearly not happy even with my explanation after the game. Did I have an option there, especially with younger players?

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

As described you could have gone back to the foul. These though are always difficult calls.
I had one yesterday in my game of an exact similar situation and I went back to the foul. I did not signal advantage just a second or so of wait and see.
There were a few moans yet not as much as I thought there would be given that the attacking team got a shot away on goal albeit weakly. That all happened within the 2/3 second advantage window
Now at Underage I would say not to play advantage unless it is so obvious that it has to be played. I would safely say that a free kick in an attacking area is a better benefit to the attacking team.
Anyway you were not obliged to go back to the foul and you opined that the advantage had been realised which is fine.
The coach knew that the free kick in front of goal was a goal scoring opportunity hence his desire to have the free kick awarded. Also explanation for those that do not want to hear are pointless.

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Answer provided by Referee Jason Wright

This is a tricky one. And I can't say if the decision was right or wrong without being there, but I can give you some considerations.

It sounds like play never stopped, so this was a shot in play, not a free kick.


Possession here is easy - the player had controlled possession.

But what about opportunity? Taking a shot doesn't always mean that advantage has occurred. If the shot is in a worse situation or position than the player was before the foul, then it's likely that the foul has still had a negative impact, so that's when you'd go back to the foul.

So this 2nd attacker - did he have a better or worse opportunity than the first player? If he had a worse opportunity (and you're considering the fact that he may be required to one-touch a bouncing ball, as well as the relative position of the defenders - for instance, he may face fewer defenders, but the keeper might be in a better position). It's difficult comparing it to a free kick, because those have the full team in defence anyway (which is probably more defenders blocking the goal than there was previously), so in determining whether to accept the shot or go back to the foul, I'd be really considering it against the initial foul.

If there was really very, very little opportunity to score from the shot, then you're justified in going back to the foul. You're probably more likely to accept the shot at higher grades as they're better at taking a quick shot under pressure. If the 2nd player here was taking a very rushed shot with a lot of defenders and it sailed wide...well, perhaps the opportunity was never really there.

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Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

Hi K Turner,
in situations where we wait a bit to see if there will be a favourable outcome as opposed to stopping play to award a free kick for a foul. Inside the PA a goal scored is about he only reason I do NOT go back to the foul. This 2nd cherry bite is not a correct analogy because not all cherries are sweet & delicious.
Advantage is a multiphase situation that requires careful evaluation, was the OBVIOUS scoring opportunity lost as good as this newer opportunity? I mean CLEARLY better? . A wider angle, a slight stumbling, ball is on the weak foot, at best the shot had to be perfect or rely on a lousy keeper or a funny rebound to score?

We can let the opportunity unfold, if it results in a save or miss and think nah that shot was only 40 to 90 % of what COULD have been lets do the foul. Ref you are giving 2 bites of the cherry No I am awarding a DFK for foul that killed the cherry tree!

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