Soccer Referee Resources
Ask a Question
Recent Questions

RSS FEED Subscribe Now!

Q&A Quick Search
The Field of Play
The Ball
The Players
The Players Equipment
The Referee
The Other Match Officials
The Duration of the Match
The Start and Restart of Play
The Ball In and Out of Play
Fouls and Misconduct
Free Kicks
Penalty kick
Throw In
Goal Kick
Corner Kick

Common Sense
Kicks - Penalty Mark
The Technical Area
The Fourth Official
Attitude and Control
League Specific
High School

Common Acronyms
Meet The Ref
Contact AskTheRef
Help Wanted
About AskTheRef
Panel Login

Question Number: 33033

Law 12 - Fouls and Misconduct 1/31/2019

RE: Competitive Adult

Peter of Hjorring , Denmark asks...

Glancing through the laws of the game I noticed under law 12 it says it is not a cautionable offence to leave the playing area when celebrating a goal but the player should return promptly ( or words to that effect). This makes me wonder about an incident earlier in the season when in added time Raheem Sterling scored a winning goal. He ran towards the corner and the crowd surged forward. However it was not a provocative action nor did he go into the perimeter fence.He did however get a 2nd yellow card for his actions. There was some debate about all this but the general consensus was that the referee had no option. According to my reading of the law though this could well be wrong.

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Peter
The Laws of the Game have been updated on this matter as it was at a time dealt with in Rules of Competition. It is now part of the advice in the Laws as outlined by Referee Grove.
In the English Premier League goal scorers had been told for many years NOT to go close to the crowd due to safety concerns about spectators surging forward towards the players.
This incident resulted in spectators spilling on to the field plus I believe a number of arrests so the incident ended up as a serious matter. It clearly met the conditions for a caution to be issued.
So any player that does that is more than likely to be cautioned.
It might seem harsh yet players know the penalty and they must take the consequences. Had he gone off the field without going that near to the perimeter wall and the spectators he might not have been cautioned.
Simple message to players is to not do it and certainly not in grounds with close perimeter walls and boundaries as in Bournemouth.

Read other questions answered by Referee Joe McHugh

View Referee Joe McHugh profile

Answer provided by Referee Peter Grove

Hi Peter,
According to the Laws of the Game, the player does not actually have to reach the perimeter fence in order to be subject to a caution. In fact, on page 107 of the 2018/19 edition (pdf version) the laws say that a player MUST be cautioned for:

''approaching the spectators in a manner which causes safety and/or security issues.''

So according to that, the referee was acting in accord with the provisions of the law when cautioning Sterling in the incident you mention. As ref McHugh mentions, the incident did indeed cause safety and security issues.

Read other questions answered by Referee Peter Grove

View Referee Peter Grove profile

Ask a Follow Up Question to Q# 33033
Read other Q & A regarding Law 12 - Fouls and Misconduct

Soccer Referee Extras

Did you Ask the Ref? Find your answer here.

Enter Question Number

If you received a response regarding a submitted question enter your question number above to find the answer

Offside Question?

Offside Explained by Chuck Fleischer & Richard Dawson, Former & Current Editor of AskTheRef

This web site and the answers to these questions are not sanctioned by or affiliated with any governing body of soccer. The opinions expressed on this site should not be considered official interpretations of the Laws of the Game and are merely opinions of AskTheRef and our panel members. If you need an official ruling you should contact your state or local representative through your club or league. On AskTheRef your questions are answered by a panel of licensed referees. See Meet The Ref for details about our panel members.