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Question Number: 32801

Law 12 - Fouls and Misconduct 10/15/2018

RE: Competetive Under 15

Matthew Stone of Cameron Park, CA USA asks...

Just curious if anyone has experienced this before. I made a call per rule 12 regarding impeding and wondering if I may have been a little too quick in calling. Blue Player A (defender) gets ball and travelling towards his own goal to reset play, and has a trailing Blue Player B following a few steps behind. White Player A comes from behind and clearly crosses in front of Blue Player B which in my judgment was an attempt to impede Blue Player B's forward progress to assist Blue Player A or receive a pass from him. So I blew whistle and called impeding and explained who did what to whom. Difficult to interpret for coaches as White Player A was behind Blue Player A who had ball, but according to law, there is no requirement that impeding only relate to person with the ball. This was the difficulty in explaining my judgment for the call. Just curious other's interpretation. Thanks

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Matthew
While this may be technical impeding I would only call this if there is obvious deliberate contact which is then the penal foul of holding.
Players cross each other all the time and many times it can be an impeding foul yet rarely called.
I am not sure when I last saw an impeding foul with an IDFK which probably says a lot about the offence.

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Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

HI Matthew,
hmmm? If Blue B set a pick for the white player to not GET to Blue A & the ball that could be impeding, but here it sounds as if white is chasing Blue A with the ball? If there was contact, a holding foul or possible pushing or charging for a DFK? Impeding requires no contact and no challenge for the ball just a deliberate movement of obstruction designed to stop you from getting where you need to go. Which is generally towards the ball rather than a random block? It does sound bizarre but your match your decision your reputation!

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Answer provided by Referee Gary Voshol

Since Blue A had the ball and was moving forward, you should definitely consider applying advantage. Perhaps White did impede Blue B. But did Blue A still have a good chance at advancing his play? Of course that depends on field location, other defenders that might get involved, etc.

As you note, impeding does not have to be the player with the ball. In fact, if the ball is within playing distance, it's NOT impeding.

It was up to you to decide whether White's actions were actively to get in Blue B's way, and if so if that impeding had a material effect on play.

Impeding is rare. I've called it, but only in clearly obvious situations. Such as the ball is headed toward the goalkeeper to pick up, and the defender deliberately gets in the oncoming attacker's way to make sure the ball gets to the keeper first.

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Answer provided by Referee Peter Grove

Hi Matthew,
What you describe could be seen as impeding. The Laws definition is as follows:

''Impeding the progress of an opponent means moving into the opponent's path to obstruct, block, slow down or force a change of direction when the ball is not within playing distance of either player.''

Nowadays, impeding comes in two 'flavours' - with contact (DFK) or without contact (IFK).

I would agree with my colleagues that impeding without contact (which is what you've apparently called here) is a very rare bird and it's difficult to say without actually being there and seeing the incident in question whether the actions of this player in crossing in front of an opponent did actually rise to the level of an offence.

You obviously saw it as such and that is your decision to make.

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