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Question Number: 32825

High School 10/22/2018

RE: High School High School

Ron of Milwaukee, WI USA asks...

Scenario: Opposing players' feet/legs tangled resulting in the defender going down and the ball hitting his foot resulting in an own goal. It appears on film that both players were playing fairly and the entanglement was unintentional. Neither player had a size advantage over the other. The goal was disallowed sighting penalty on the offensive player. Is this a foul?

Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

HI Ron,
well without seeing the event tough for us to tell if the attacker was more at fault? Obviously the referees of the match decided it was a foul otherwise the goal would have counted so it was! We do not look at the intent we simply try to gauge if the actions taken are fair or unfair? For a foul the referee must see the attacker was at the very least careless in his attempt to play the ball an created the foul be it a trip push charge who can say. If it was only a coming together or a legal charge then the goal would count but the referees would have to view it in that light . With no goal allowed they took the attacker to task for fault. Their match their decision their reputation.

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Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Ron
Difficult to say. Rarely in challenges with contact that one of the players is not at fault. Unintentional is not a defence in the rules. Referees tend to look at the situation and decide based on what presents. The late *challenger* may get called
This may have looked like a foul by the attacker to the referee hence the call. Perhaps another referee could have seen it as a foul by the defender and therefore a penalty kick.
Over many years of officiating I have seen plenty 50\50 calls that can go unpunished or go either way defending on what the referee saw.
I recall many years ago two strong players leap at the ball from a distance simultaneously and both arrived at the ball at the same time. Both were guilty in my opinion of a foul. Probably the best decision was a dropped ball yet that is a very rare call in the game in challenge situations. I had spoken to one of the players previously so I called the foul against him. He did not like it yet it was a situation that I was not going to ignore and serious enough for it not to be dropped ball.

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Answer provided by Referee Jason Wright

Hi Ron,
Entanglement was unintentional - by whose opinion? Yours? Or is that what the referee said afterwards?

My point in that is - you may think it's a completely unintentional, 50-50 thing. Yes, sometimes things happen that are completely accidental. The minimum threshold for a foul is careless, and very few things are completely accidental - that is, completely and reasonably avoidable. But, it happens.

But, the referee was not only closer but had a different angle - and probably a better angle. The referee may have argued that the attacker was a little careless (acted without due care) - perhaps the attacker was slightly later in the challenge, or got the back of the defender's leg, for instance. If so, a foul is correct. If it's just a complete unfortunate accident attributable to nobody, then the goal should have stood.

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