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Question Number: 33328

Mechanics 5/8/2019

RE: Under 18

don of houston, tx usa asks...

something i need to get more used to when watching professional matches an implementing it into my games are how freely refs give out cautions and what they give them for, but at the same time frequently not giving cautions for things that look like they definitely should be

here is a clip of a common foul called in the 2nd leg of tottenham/ajx. to me this looks like it should be a caution, right? foul, studs out on the thigh. heck, it almost looks like it could be a red but more likely easily a caution. am i missing something with this?

Answer provided by Referee Jason Wright

Hi Don,
No - it's not just you. That's a definite caution!
What's difficult in comparing your game to the top-tier referees is that, for one - those referees do also make mistakes. And 2, in a lot of ways, how the game is refereed at the top level wouldn't work at lower levels. And they also have to consider how the entertainment product is presented to the stakeholders through their refereeing; down at the park with just a man and his dog watching, we have the luxury of not worrying about that.

High foot, came in late, studs down the leg - that would be quite painful and it's a clear yellow. I see your argument for a red, but I think it was more 'reckless' than putting the opponent in any real danger; I'm satisfied the level of force wasn't high enough to clearly warrant a red.

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Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Don
A word of caution, it is not a good idea to use professional soccer as the benchmark for refereeing decisions or thinking.
In the Pro game there are all sorts of considerations which at times has nothing to do with the Laws. Sometimes it is about how it looks or is managed or indeed what impact it has on the spectacle from TV and the viewing public perspective plus the instructions given to the referees. We all saw the outcome of FIFA Refereeing Dept advising referees in the last WCs to cut down on the number of cautions
In the Danny Blind foul we have the luxury of video although in this game VAR was used. What we saw was certainly a caution for a reckless challenge and perhaps Referee Felix Brych saw it as well but chose otherwise.
Referee Brych has a reputation for being *card happy* and perhaps he had the voice of UEFA Referee Dept managers in his head about that. In total he had 5 yellow cards in the game, one of which was for dissent which was very public of slapping the ball away after a foul. All four other cards were certain cards I believe there could have been more cards in the game. For example Sissoko of Spurs in my opinion was fortunate that he stayed on the FOP for the amount of fouls he committed in the game. He was cautioned for a heavy reckless challenge that was also bordering on excessive force in the first half.
Cards are there to control the game and sometimes a card or its timing can have the opposite effect. I am aware of a recent game where a player was sent off for two cautions, the second one was I understand very *soft*. That created a major incident in the game that set off a hostile environment from there on. It was a *moment of truth* in the game that had consequences from that point on,
So freely giving out cautions is fraught with challenges. Referees have powers to caution for all sorts and if the game was to refereed with cautions for most questionable incidents then the games would not get finished or end up 7v7. Case in point is dissent. I have no doubt that I could go out at the weekend and find multiple cautions for players that question / speak out about a decision. Not every one deserves a card yet possible if the referee so wishes. Same with fouls. Referees can easily decide that a foul is tactical, reckless meriting a card. Before the referee knows it that to be consistent he has to produce multiple cards perhaps with a few reds and the game has descended into a very challenging situation for the officials.

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Answer provided by Referee Peter Grove

Hi Don,
I would just like to echo what my colleagues have said - I also don't think it's recommended to base your refereeing on everything you see in top-level, professional matches. Those referees are operating according to a different set of imperatives to the rest of us. Of course, in principle that shouldn't be true but I think we all know that in reality, it is.

Top-level referees for instance seem to turn a blind eye (and a deaf ear) to anything but the most egregious forms of dissent. They also seem in general (though there are exceptions) to allow a good deal more pushing, holding and physical contact than would probably be allowed at many lower levels - though perhaps VAR is starting to change this. They also almost never seem to punish even fairly blatant examples of encroachment and delaying tactics at free kicks. Now this may be just me personally but I have an extremely low tolerance for this kind of offence, however even if you're not as strict on it as I might like referees to be, I still don't think you should be as lenient as those at the top.

My advice would be to try to develop your own style and tolerance levels as far as you can within the framework of the Laws and don't worry too much about copying what you see on TV.

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