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Question Number: 33351

Law 12 - Fouls and Misconduct 5/15/2019

RE: Competitive Adult

Peter Babbage of Hjorring , Denmark asks...

I have become a little confused with what constitutes dangerous play. I am aware that some incidents may be a matter of opinion. For instance a player slides in studs first. Even if he gets the ball, surely it is still dangerous. The same with a high boot. Even if theres no contact, isnt it dangerous? I know Im packing a few questions in here but they related. When does dangerous play in the area become a penalty? Surely the boot so high it could take someones head off is at least as bad as a shove in the back.

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Peter
Playing in a dangerous manner is any action that, while trying to play the ball, threatens injury to someone (including the player themself) and includes preventing a nearby opponent from playing the ball for fear of injury.
On the high boot the referee has to consider the boot height and direction in relation to a nearby opponent. A player pulling back because of PIADM is an offence punished by an IDFK. Once there is contact it gets elevated to a penal offence punished by a direct feee kick or a penalty kick. A card is also highly likely.
In the case where a player slides in studs showing and makes no contact that can be considered PIADM and also USB. Here is an example that I like to refer to in these situations. Caution and IDFK restart
In a recent game I saw on TV a player launched himself from distance in a challenge making contact with the ball. An opponent was close to the ball. For me it was PIADM and had the defender made contact with the attacker it would have been a certain red card. Interestingly no offence was called and the video angle shown was highlighted by the commentators as a particularly dangerous tackle, which it was. The referee would have been well entitled within the law to call a PIADM offence and a caution.

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Answer provided by Referee Peter Grove

Hi Peter,
It depends what exactly you mean by 'dangerous play.' That phrase is not used in the laws and I think, illustrates why it is important to use the correct terminology. You seem to be conflating two (or possibly more) different things here: playing in a dangerous manner (PIADM) and endangering the safety of an opponent. 'Dangerous play' could even (depending on how it's used) refer to a challenge that is reckless or uses excessive force.

The law provides definitions of the things I have mentioned and outlines how the referee should deal with them - it does not provide a definition of 'dangerous play.' If you mean PIADM, it involves no contact and is punishable by an indirect free kick. If there is contact, it is no longer PIADM but an actual kicking offence which can be penalised by a DFK or penalty. Also, an excessively reckless or forceful challenge which endangers the safety of an opponent is not the same as, say a high foot that simply prevents the opponent from playing the ball.

Now, I suppose there are challenges that could combine some elements of PIADM and endangering an opponent's safety and then it becomes a referee's judgment call as to which is the more appropriate designation and sanction for it.

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