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Question Number: 33141

Law 12 - Fouls and Misconduct 3/13/2019

RE: Rec Adult

russell of Sydney, Australia asks...

How did Jordan Pickford from Everton avoid a card for his now famous 'Rugby' tackle on Newcastle's Solomon Rondon ?

(apologies - the footage is 'back to front' but you at least get to see the incident clearly.

This clip does shows just why so many clubs in the Australian NRL (National Rugby League) are clamouring to sign him.

Can only imagine that Ref Lee Mason did not get the same view as us lucky to be in an armchair.

Still, for what appears to be a blatant charge/block, I don't understand why no card. Again, I guess the angle favoured Pickford.

Pickford did at least comply with the new wording regarding Keepers at penalty's ...'Goalkeeper must have at least part of one foot on, or in line with, the goal line when a penalty kick is taken; cannot stand behind the line'

I wonder what influence Pickford had on the wording ...'cannot stand behind the line' as Pickford himself has a habit/process/history of stepping backwards behind the line before moving forward on Penalties " although, as irony would have it " not on this occasion.

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Russell
Yes there was indeed a lot of debate about the lack of sanction here by Referee Lee Mason on the challenge by Pickford.
For me it was a red card for denying an obvious goal scoring opportunity not an attempt to play the ball?. All I can offer by way of explanation is that Referee Mason did not see it as a goal scoring opportunity as he did not caution Pickford. That is the key decision to shed light on the matter
Law 12 is clear on this
**Where a player commits an offence against an opponent within their own penalty area which denies an opponent an obvious goal-scoring opportunity and the referee awards a penalty kick, the offender is cautioned if the offence was an attempt to play the ball; in all other circumstances (e.g. holding, pulling, pushing, no possibility to play the ball etc.) the offending player must be sent off**
The Laws also state
** commits a foul which interferes with or stops a promising attack except where the referee awards a penalty kick for an offence which was an attempt to play the ball**
As there was no red it was not considered a DOGSO and as it was not a yellow card it must have been seen as an attempt to play the ball which can be the only explanation.
Now in Referee Masons defence here there was a lot going on. The ball and Rondon are slightly going away from goal with an acute angle, Rondon does not have clear possession of the ball although very likely that he will and there are two other defenders in close proximity. Also from the referees angle of view does it look like Pickford tried to get to the ball through Rondon? Angle of view is vital here and even if it was not a DOGSO it should have been a caution as no attempt was made to play the ball which was shown on the video.
As to the possible encroachment here it is certainly at the low end of the scale and unlikely to be pulled up. If you look closely the referee is facing away from goal looking at penalty area encroachment so he has left the decision to his AR. I suspect that from the outcome that there had to be encroachment by outfield players.
I would say though that I know a few old hands that would go with a retake here for encroachment and a retake!

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Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

Hi Russell,
From the arm chair perspective admittedly it is a puzzle as I give my head a shake? ? But then I shake my head quite often at some of the decisions that are awarded.
His match, his decision, his reputation is the only thing I can say!

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Answer provided by Referee Peter Grove

Hi Russell,
There has been a fair amount of debate about this incident. In the discussions I've seen most think it should have been a red card. The only explanation I've seen as why it was not given was the suggestion that maybe the referee didn't think the forward was going to gain control of the ball.

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