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Question Number: 33002

Law 12 - Fouls and Misconduct 1/20/2019

RE: Competitive Under 19

Dave Bermingham of Herndon, VA United States asks...

Blue #41 shouts loudly at an opponent from behind as the opponent dribbles the ball just above the Blue teams goal area with only the goalkeeper to beat. The attacker shoots and misses the goal.
Law 12 says this is USB misconduct for verbally distracting an opponent during play. But it further says denying a goal or an obvious goal-scoring opportunity to an opponent whose overall movement is towards the offenders goal by an offence punishable by a free kick (unless as outlined in the new-ish exceptions) constitutes a sending-off offense. "Offense" gets defined in the glossary as an action which breaks/violates the Laws of the Game.
So, if the yelling is an offense punishable by a free kick, is the restart always an IDFK after issuing a caution or, if ITOOTR the offense (misconduct) met the criteria (distance to goal, distance to ball, in control of the ball, location/number of defenders), could this not be an IDFK after a red card? It wouldnt be a penalty kick because the type of misconduct doesnt change the restart only the sanction.

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Dave
The question the referee has to answer is whether the verbal distraction actually denied an obvious goal scoring opportunity or not.
In the example you cite the attacker does not read like he was denied an opportunity to score. He may have been verbally distracted yet the attacker continued with his play, had a shot and missed.
Perhaps the referee could bring play back for the misconduct yet he would have to do that in the knowledge that advantage was not realised. If the player continued on with no apparent effect from the misconduct one would have to consider whether the offence had any effect and therefore little if anything was denied. If play has been allowed to continue on advantage it is reasonably likely that in those situations that it was in fact realised.
Also in a game situation the significancy of the decision has to be considered. Could one really see a 'Shout' with play continuing and an opportunity taken being brought back for an IDFK and a defender dismissed for a DOGSO? It would be an extremely tough sell that one and likely to undermine the referees credibility and control. It is easy on paper and in a forum yet extremely difficult in a game situation.
In my game at the weekend there was one incident where a defender shouted from behind an attacker at half way. Not sure what was shouted and I had the sense it was an attempt at distraction. The attacker was totally oblivious to the shout and continued as if nothing happened which is what I did as well.
Now that is not to say that an IDFK verbal distraction offence cannot be a dismissal. Say an attacker is about to score and a defender shouts at him with the express intention of stopping the opportunity which is successful then that would be a red card for denying a goal scoring opportunity.
Now personally I have never seen a DOGSO red card for verbal distraction. Generally attackers pay less heed to shouts of all description when around goal as your example shows. Defenders can pay more head to shouts like 'Keepers', 'leave it' which is misconduct once done for unsporting reasons.

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Answer provided by Referee Peter Grove

Hi Dave,
I agree with ref McHugh that verbal distraction can indeed qualify as a DOGSO offence in law but that it would be highly unusual for this to actually occur and I also have never seen it happen. In terms of the legality, I recall a discussion on a refereeing forum where this was being debated and one of the contributors emailed the IFAB for a ruling. The reply was that in such a situation (i.e. where the DOGSO criteria were otherwise met and the offence were one of verbal distraction) it would be ''right to dismiss the player as he was guilty of an offence punishable by a free kick which is the requirement of Law.''

However, as I think we have pointed out in previous answers on this subject, just yelling something is not necessarily an offence, it has to actually distract the opponent. As ref McHugh also points out, a player who is moving towards the goal with the ball in playing distance, concentrating on trying to score a goal is unlikely to be distracted in the same way as a defender looking to clear the ball.

You are right in saying the restart would remain as an indirect free kick.

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Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

Hi Dave,
there are always exceptions to generalities in this lovely game of football. Yet somethings remain incontrovertible as a specific restart to a specific offence. DOGSO is a possibility only if, in the opinion of the referee, ALL necessary criteria is met that warrants a sending off.

Can a shout of distraction be sufficient as the offence to justify the inclusion of a DOGSO red send off instead of a yellow card caution?

We can admit that it COULD occur but it would be unlikely to meet the intended criteria most of the time.

The culprit say at center was to yell, ' miss or shoot wide or pass it back ' the intended attacker about to shoot would be a very inept attacker to do as requested or to even consider such an outcry from a dude 40 yards away. Move that player so he is screaming Argggh into the attackers ear at a foot away and the attacker is cringing pulling up then we might have the necessary circumstances to see it as a USB action and NOW consider if the DOGSO criteria were present at the time of the USB action?

As stated you are right that an INDFK offence could qualify for DOGSO consideration as is an act of USB for verbal deception is indeed an INDFK . The issue is is it REALLY sufficient & really appropriate to equate the two in a real match.? In over 40 plus years never seen it where an actual yell of deception or a scream was enough to do more than show an occasional yellow card & only rarely to stop play to do so.

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