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Question Number: 33120

Law 12 - Fouls and Misconduct 3/6/2019

RE: Youth to adult, comp and rec.

Barry Stewart of Chilliwack, BC Canada asks...

Funny situation last night, in 7-a-side mixed play:

A White team player was shielding the ball on the sideline and a Black player lightly kicked between the shielder's feet and knocked the ball out of play.

That was my opinion, anyway. The Black player protested that is was the White player that touched it last. Play went on and the Black player muttered to the other player, 'You know I kicked your foot, which knocked the ball out.'

At the next stoppage, I chuckled to the Black player, 'So if you kicked his foot, that would be a foul, right?'

He thought it wouldn't be serious enough to call as a foul, which I couldn't disagree with. It was only slight contact, though it did cause the ball to go out of play.

It was a fantastic game and Black won 6-4, btw.

So: what say ye? I sure wouldn't want to give a PK, if that slight kick happened in the PAŽ but, in my opinion, the instigator should not be rewarded with getting to put the ball back in play.

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Barry
I had one of these in a game a few seasons ago. A defender looked like he kicked the ball out for a corner kick in similar circumstances inside the penalty area. I awarded a corner kick. The lead AR told me at half time that he was going to signal a foul for contact on the attackers foot and only my shout of CORNER KICK and pointing made him signal for the corner. The foul was on his side with him looking directly in at the area.
So technically it was a minor foul which should have been a PK yet in many ways the contact did not merit that nor did I see it. I was glad that my firm decision was supported by the AR as the last thing I needed was a foul flag for a doubtful / trifling contact. The Law does not differentiate between the level of contact.
I suppose the advent of VAR has somewhat changed the bar at the highest level. If VAR showed a kick on an opponents foot I believe it would be called as a foul. For the rest of us it is easy for it to be missed or see it as trifling / doubtful.

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Answer provided by Referee Peter Grove

Hi Barry,
You have to call them as you see them. You saw this as a ball kicked by the Black player and called it as such. The player then claims that he had actually kicked to the White player's foot but you can't give that if you didn't see it (and you apparently didn't). It would have to be a fairly clever player to try and influence the referee indirectly by having a conversation with an opponent within earshot of the referee but I wouldn't put it past some players I've known.

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