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Question Number: 32883

Law 12 - Fouls and Misconduct 11/17/2018

RE: Youth to adult, comp and rec.

Barry Stewart of Chilliwack, BC Canada asks...

A situation from a few weeks ago:

Keeper picks up a through pass, just as the attacker gets there. There's a slight contact but I'm satisfied that the player was doing his best to back off his throttle and that the keeper wasn't hurt.

Play on. The keeper gets ready to punt the ball but harsh words and a 'light' pushing match begins between a defender and the attacker. More players head for the area and I suspect it may blow up.

I blow the whistle and calm things down. So: what to do with the restart?

In my mind, it was the defender who escalated the situation but there was no way it warranted a PK. I also didn't feel it was right to just do a drop-ball to the keeper.

I decided on a drop ball near the penalty spot, where the keeper had been when play was stopped. Both teams took part and nothing came of it.

The defending coach felt hard done-by but when I later explained that HIS defender has caused the escalation and would he rather I had gone for a PK, he saw my reasoning.

I recall a similar situation in this year's World Cup; one of the later games. The ref kept play going, while breaking up a scrum. He was motioning for the keeper to boot the ball away but the keeper kept the ball in his hands for, I believe, almost a minute before releasing it.

What to do? I guess I could have gotten the keeper to boot the ball, then blown play down to deal with the scrum. That would put the drop ball restart in midfield.

Thanks, as always, for your sage advice.

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Barry
The *contact* by the attacker even slight was the genesis of the confrontation. Without that contact on the goalkeeper or viewed as trivial by the defending team then nothing comes of it.
So the moment it kicks off into a confrontation and a potential scrum then my advice is to stop play which you did and the restart is the original foul by the attacker. The contact might be slight yet it was still a foul either a penal foul of a push, charge etc or challenging the goalkeeper while he is in possession of the ball.
The attacker as you say may have *backed off on the throttle* yet he still had enough momentum and did enough to make contact on the GK.
If the referee is unhappy with the actions of the defender that player can be dealt with by either strong words or if the action was very aggressive or the temperature of the game is rising he can be cautioned for unsporting behaviour.
On the dropped ball restart that could have caused serious problem for the game had the attacking team scored. Without the actions of the attacker none of that would have happened and certainly the attacker and his team did not *merit* the opportunity for possible possession / contest for the ball in the penalty area.
While the coach might have seen your reasoning which was based on the actions of his defender he also knew that the attacker committed the first foul which needed to be dealt with. As nothing came of it he was none too bothered other than raising it.
The alternative route is to allow play to continue and to deal with the *confrontation* by asking the players to desist. Sometimes these spats sort themselves out very quickly without the need to stop the game. In fact stopping the game can allow others to get involved in a mobbing which then can lead to misconduct
In your case as that had already started then you had no option but to take action which you did.
If there was no foul by the attacker then the actions by the defender needed to be punished through the award of a penalty kick. In that possible assessment of what transpired you will find the restart.

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Answer provided by Referee Peter Grove

Hi Barry,
It sounds to me as if the first contact by the attacker was at a minimum, careless. Perhaps if nothing further had happened you could have judged it to be a trivial and/or dubious offence and let it slide. Since the situation escalated however, I think you have to go with the first offence and call the foul committed by the attacker. So the restart would be a direct free kick to the defending team.

As ref McHugh says you could still deal with the defender's actions with either stern words or a caution if you thought it necessary.

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Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

HI Barry,
Teams DO NOT like their keeper to be run into!
Let them know you are aware

Advantage! keeper has the ball, attacker watch yourself!

Then you signaled advantage so the keeper knew you saw the contact but felt since he had the ball to punt, it was a better deal to punt the ball then award a DFK kick out?
Did you stay silent thinking the contact was not really a foul or at best doubtful or trifling & expected the keeper to continue?

Lets watch the contact - Attacker!
Keeper - got the ball in your hands do you really want it on the ground??

The best way to avoid retaliation is to indicate to all you saw & did something about it!

You could go back using the 1st contact as a type of DFK if the players swarm in to create conflict. The defender who escalated & refused to let the situation go you could card

Stop the BS guys! I saw the contact, it was not worth putting the ball on the ground keeper lets punt the ball out before the 6 seconds!

Trying to keep play going by asking them might sort it out as well. Just how hard was that contact anyway?

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