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Question Number: 32978

Law 12 - Fouls and Misconduct 1/12/2019

RE: Adult

jim of billericay, Essex Uk asks...

A defender and attacker are standing on the half way line ,the ball is played up to them
The attacker receives the ball and the defender makes a clumsy challenge in a genuine attempt to win the ball resulting in a foul
he is the last man but the attacker still has to run half the pitch towards the defenders goal
Red or yellow card ?

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Jim
The use of the phrase last man is a misnomer and has no bearing on the decision.
The decision rests on whether an obvious goal scoring opportunity was denied or not. To evaluate that referees use what is called the 4 Ds. In that assessment of the foul the referee has to consider the 4D criteria for denying an obvious goal scoring opportunity (DOGSO). These are
# the Distance between the offence and the goal
# the likelihood of keeping or gaining control of the ball. Distance from the ball
# the Direction of the play
# the location and number of Defenders.
All four must be present otherwise there is no obvious goal scoring opportunity. On the first one the further away from goal the offence happens the less likely the obvious opportunity
There will be fouls where there will be a number of defenders present and the foul happens away from goal perhaps close to the corner of the penalty area or at half way . The opportunity then is not so obvious so the player may be cautioned if the foul is tactical.
However the referee could opine that say on a quick break with every other player in the goal area and with a quick punt that there was an obvious opportunity denied as the closest defender could be 30 yards away with little hope of getting back to make a challenge.
In this video even of the offence was a further 10 / 15 yards back it would still have been a red card in my opinion

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Answer provided by Referee Peter Grove

Hi Jim,
This could be either a red or a yellow card, depending on the referee's judgement. Distance from goal is just one of the factors the referee has to consider. Ref McHugh has listed them all and they must be considered in their entirety before the referee makes a determination.

While in principle, the chances of an obvious goal scoring opportunity diminish along with distance from goal, even though the offence takes place on the half-way line, the referee could still opine that DOGSO has occurred and send the player off.

I recall a game between Fulham and Middlesbrough a couple of years ago when a Boro striker was fouled while he was actually still inside his own half of the field and the Fulham player was sent off for denying an obvious goal scoring opportunity. The decision did lead to a fair amount of discussion on refereeing forums with some referees saying they would only have issued a yellow card and others agreeing with a red but there was nobody saying that the referee had made a technically incorrect decision that could not be supported in Law.

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Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

Hi Jim,
No decision is based solely on the fact of a single defender being responsible. As outlined by my colleagues there is a criteria of events or circumstances that are looked at in their entirety by the referee of the Match. If, in THEIR opinion as THEY have final say, the decision to show a yellow & apply a caution or show a red & send off is based on their understanding & opinion of the DOGSO & or what constitutes SFP or VC with respect to a foul or misconduct. The key point in DOGSO is the word OBVIOUS!

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