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Question Number: 33346

Law 12 - Fouls and Misconduct 5/14/2019

RE: Adult

Osman Tanburac─▒ of London, United Kingdom asks...

Hi there. I want to ask about a conduct me and my friends have been arguing on about. Two players running towards the penalty area shoulder on shoulder while the attacking player in possession of the ball. He gets a little ahead and raises his right foot to kick the ball just outside of the box. As he moves his foot the defender who is now slightly behind reaches out with his right leg and puts it between the ball and the offensive player. The player then kicks the defenders leg (unfortunately his leg gets broken). Is there a foul committed and if yes is any caution is necessary? Thank you.

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Osman
Each situation will be different and interpretation of timing, what happened and how it happened will all have a bearing. It reads like there is a foul here. I believe that as the attacker has kicked the defender which under the Laws can be considered as careless and can be called as a foul. A direct free kick is awarded if a player commits any of the listed offences against an opponent in a manner considered by the referee to be careless, reckless or using excessive force. Kicking an opponents is an offence under Law 12 even if it is accidental.
Having said that if the referee believed that the defenders action was also careless and reckless placing his leg in the way of an opponent s kicking action. If the referee believed that the player showed no regard to the danger to or consequences for an opponent the player must be cautioned. If the referee felt that the player used excessive force by exceeding the necessary use of force and/or endangering the safety of an opponent he must be sent off.
It makes no difference that it is an accident as to the decision to awarding of the foul. It can be a consideration on whether a card is required or not.
In my game at the weekend a defender went to play the ball and an attacker kicked the defenders foot just at the ball. The defender was about to play the ball when her foot was kicked at the ball. It was certainly a foul punished by a direct free kick. As I felt the action was not deliberate with no malice or intent and it was an attempt to genuinely kick the ball I did not caution the attacker.

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Answer provided by Referee Peter Grove

Hi Osman,
I actually think that I would have to see the incident before I could judge it. Ref McHugh is right that it is an offence to kick an opponent carelessly, recklessly or with excessive force but there could be a debate over who has kicked who here. It would also depend for me, on whether the defender was actually attempting to play the ball (and had a possibility of playing it) or simply blocking the attacker's leg in what might be seen as a trip or an attempt to trip. I know this is not as described, a DOGSO situation but I think perhaps we can borrow from the DOGSO concept of a genuine attempt for the ball, relating to whether a DOGSO challenge in the penalty area is a yellow or a red card.

Now, it certainly is the case that if the defender was truly trying to play the ball and the attacker has kicked the opponent's leg in a way the referee sees as careless, reckless or using excessive force, that would be an offence by the attacker which could be a caution or even a red card depending on the severity.

However I would say I have seen the kind of incident you describe being given sometimes one way and sometimes the other and in the end it comes down to a referee's judgment call.

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Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

HI Osman,
wow tough luck a broken leg? That must of been a mighty kick or an angled stomp maybe? It is difficult to imagine 100% clearly just who is at fault for doing what? It could appear the guy kicking the other could be more culpable given the injury to the other but I have seen players extend a leg or change direction in an attempt to block access to the ball or actually draw a foul by initiating the contact. So a caution for USB might be for the defender , might fit as even getting hurt in the process he still tried to trip the attacker.

Accidents do occur even on clean challenges but the referee of the match would have to render a verdict of fair, careless, reckless or excessive based on their view & understanding of the incident? From the point of view of a shot occurring the stuck in leg could be viewed as an attempt to trip as much as a challenge for the ball thus a free kick or PK . I tend to think if the shooting attacker is focused on the shot delivery and the arrival of the foot as he preparing to shoot occurs so quickly he cannot bail out. I would be MORE inclined to think the attacker was interfered with and the defender paid a heavy price but if the defender had actually contacted the ball and pushed it away then was kicked now we might see it as a DFK out? I have seen disgruntled attackers ensure a foot stomp comes down on the defenders who get cute sliding in underneath. These are more red card for VC then SFP. Tough call looks like YHTBT to see it

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