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Question Number: 32765

Law 12 - Fouls and Misconduct 10/1/2018

RE: Under 17

Tom of Denver, Co Usa asks...

One of my most difficult calls to make is shoulder to shoulder but one player puts more shoulder into in than another, and when it is correct to call a foul. I know shoulder to shoulder is legal but coming in from an angle with excessive speed, I will usually call a foul. Same with if it happens when a player is shooting/passing and a defender does a 'follow through' with their shoulder through the attackers shoulder sending them to the ground, which I generally will call a foul and bring the ball back. But ten you also have to look at size of the players, like just because one player is bigger doesn't necessarily mean they are putting in excessive force

Any assistance?

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Tom
The first part is to ensure that all the correct conditions are in place that is that the ball is within playing distance, it is shoulder to shoulder and the arm is not used.
After that we have to consider if the charge is not careless or reckless. A player who runs say 5/8 yards to crash into an opponent shoulder to shoulder is not a fair charge. I have seen player been knocked away some 3/4 yards by what players thought was a fair charge. Players always in such circumstances point to the use of the shoulder as if that made it legal. No so. The shoulder there is used as ram rather than what I describe as easing an opponent away from the ball.
So I would agree 100% with your two examples. The first one is not a fair charge as it is just a cheap shot using the shoulder and the second one is also a foul with the o,Ayer late to the ball.
I would say context is everything in what is a legal charge. If the players are trying to move each other away from the ball in order to play it as they run along side each other or the players are static with the players trying to maintain possession while the charge is to make space close to the ball then we have a fair charge situation. if we have a player who simply runs from a distance to crash into an opponents this is illegal charging.
Also as you say size has to be considered. Mismatch in sizes at a legal charge can look unfair and the referee has to judge it from the context of did the bigger player overstep his strength or did the smaller player just not have the strength to contest. That is a judgement call. To me if the bigger player is not excessive in his use of the charge it is not a foul. If he starts though to be aggressive, throwing his weight about excessively it will get called.
Finally I would say that it is difficult to describe an illegal charge. It is a sort of I now it when I see it. Once players start to knock each other about that can up the mood of the game and all of a sudden it gets aggressive.
Have a look at these video
In the last one it looks a legal charge yet with the benefit of technology it looks like a push using the arm. It was not given nor was it expected

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Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

HI Tom,
actually if the collision is an intersecting V with a free ball being chased it is very difficult to say who might be at fault.
Like two guys going for a header we often look who is best positioned to give the nod too but we also look to the other stuff, arms pushing , is one backing in under, arms out wide elbows, is one jumping up at the ball or into the other etc..
Here we look to the contact point; in behind on the back:,-- slam into the chest: or a free arm shiver or a thigh leg thrust that goes in as a sort of trip rather than side to side.

The side or right angle crunches offer the most easily seen foul because at high speed it simply is unsafe it becomes a charge not a barge. The way it is described as an easing off by my colleague Ref McHugh has it pegged well. A coming together not a running over or through using leverage and foot position not a pushing down arm on the shoulder but actually side to side .

I can offer this advice it is VERY difficult for a larger player to shoulder charge a smaller player as the center of gravity by a player making himself low the large player ALMOST without exception is PUSHING /HOLDING if in contact by leaning down or uses too much force to knock him out of the way. The reverse is also true in that the smaller player can not JUMP UP with both feet to get to the higher point.

1st image look at their faces to see the power of the impact
a series of contacts nothing required refereee intervention

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