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Question Number: 33106

Law 12 - Fouls and Misconduct 3/1/2019

RE: Youth to adult, comp and rec.

Barry Stewart of Chilliwack, BC Canada asks...

This question is a follow up to question 33102

From the outset, it was a terrible play by the keeper to a defender who had an attacker bearing down on him - but I'd be calling a foul here.

The attacker certainly couldn't say 'It was all ball, ref!' He has wiped out the defender by contacting his upper thigh, knocking him off his feet. Yes, it was a poor job of shielding but it was also illegal contact, say I. (I suspect the OP, Russell, is in agreement.)

On another point, it's helpful when we're given a time reference on long videos, so we can easily find the play in question. It took a bit to find this one.

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Barry
One of the difficulties with VAR is looking at play in slow motion and freeze frame. That point has been made to match officials.The advice is that the referee can watch footage in normal speed &/or in slow motion but,in general, slow motion replays should only be used for point of contact for physical offences and handball; normal speed should be used for the intensity of an offence or to decide if a handball was deliberate
In real time this looked like the ball was played first with contact on the defender after the ball was played. I reviewed this again frame by frame and it is certainly not an obvious player first ball second contact play or that the tackle was careless or reckless. The attacker gets to the ball first due to the poor touch and shielding and that is his intention. He does not come through the defender to do that and after the ball is toed forward there is contact. Also there has to be some contact on these type of challenges so as I originally stated I would be happy with no foul here.
I can see that a foul could have gone either way here based on the opinion of the referee on the day in real time. I do not see enough here for a clear obvious error When I was watching the game my first reaction was no foul. There were some appeals from a number of Arsenal players yet on balance I believe the view was that it was a genuine fair attempt to play the ball with the defender at fault due to poor play rather than a blatant foul to win the ball.
Final thought. Flip it around. Would this have been awarded as a penalty kick had the roles been reversed with the ball played over the goal line by Blue?

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Answer provided by Referee Peter Grove

Hi Barry,
As I indicated in my previous response, this is for me, a call that might have gone either way. Overall I would probably be leaning towards giving the foul but I could not say that it was a clear and obvious error not to give it. I think this is a classic example of 'in the opinion of the referee.' The referee in this match decided not to give the foul, which on a debatable call, is entirely his prerogative. This is why I think it is ultimately futile to try and 're-referee' games or individual incidents. Unless there's a totally clear-cut error in judgement or an actual technical mistake, it's up to the opinion of the referee on the day.

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