Soccer Referee Resources
Ask a Question
Recent Questions

RSS FEED Subscribe Now!

Q&A Quick Search
The Field of Play
The Ball
The Players
The Players Equipment
The Referee
The Other Match Officials
The Duration of the Match
The Start and Restart of Play
The Ball In and Out of Play
Fouls and Misconduct
Free Kicks
Penalty kick
Throw In
Goal Kick
Corner Kick

Common Sense
Kicks - Penalty Mark
The Technical Area
The Fourth Official
Attitude and Control
League Specific
High School

Common Acronyms
Meet The Ref
Contact AskTheRef
Help Wanted
About AskTheRef
Panel Login

Question Number: 33492

Law 12 - Fouls and Misconduct 6/29/2019

RE: Competitive Adult

Salvador Flores of Ligonier, IN Usa asks...

-one of the consideration is location and number of defenders to considered a dogso. How many defenders do you know need to not consider dogso?

Answer provided by Referee Peter Grove

Hi Salvador,
The language is deliberately left vague here because there is no fixed number of defenders that is required and also, as the wording you have given implies, it's not a question of only the number, it's the number AND location. The basic issue the referee has to judge is whether the player, if not for the foul that was committed would have had an obvious goal scoring opportunity. All of the different considerations come into that judgement but no one of them is absolute, they're just factors and the referee can give greater or lesser weight to then, defending on how much bearing they think the factors have, when considering the overall picture.

Generally speaking, if there would be one or more outfield defenders, other than the one committing the foul, who would have a realistic chance of preventing the attacker from scoring, in most situations most referees would not see the opportunity as obvious. However there is no hard and fast rule and no specific number.

For instance, most DOGSO fouls occur when there is still a goalkeeper to beat. But sometimes, the attacker has already gone past the keeper. In the case, there could be two defenders on the line but the player might still have what a referee would see as an obvious goal scoring opportunity, despite their presence.

Read other questions answered by Referee Peter Grove

View Referee Peter Grove profile

Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

HI Salvador ,
the LOTG have a reasonably factor where you need to apply some common sense to situations that are just a but fuzzy. It likely the greater number of defenders within the area between you and the goal, the greater it affects the DOGSO status as a non sequitur opportunity someone could make a legitimate play. Aside from their obvious positions, we compare their speed to your speed to recover, what angles are being thwarted?, Are you stumbling headed towards the goal or away or in easy control, is the ball even playable, can you recover the ball quickly, these other criteria may also factor into a referee's decision? Can you get a shot off? Is it as good a shot as that foul we let go earlier? Cheers

Read other questions answered by Referee Richard Dawson

View Referee Richard Dawson profile

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Salvador
The Laws of the Game refers to what is the 4Ds to determine if the there is an obvious goal scoring opportunity or not.
The four are
Distance to the ball by the attacker
Distance from goal
Direction of play
Number of Defenders present.
Assessing those 4D is a judgement call for the referee and all four must be present at a point which could be after the foul.
The overriding principle is whether the foul denied a scoring opportunity or not. In the Australia v Norway Women's WC game a defender was sent off for a DOGSO. I personally felt that it failed on the distance to the ball condition as it was unlikely that the attacker was going to get to the ball before the advancing GK. The pull down by the defender I feel may have swayed the referee that it was a red card.
In respect of the number of Defenders there is no set number. The minimum is one yet the referee has to factor in whether that one defender could have tackled the fouled attacker or blocked an attempt on goal and prevent an obvious goal scoring opportunity. Clearly the more defenders present the less li,rly the obviousness of the scoring opportunity.
It is in essence an assessment of what is likely to transpire without the foul occurring. That requires a knowledge of how play unfolds and indeed the skill levels / standard. There would be large gulf between a U12 game and open age. In the Pro game distance to goal could be 30/40 + yards yet at Underage that is not tenable.
Finally referees hear this shout *LAST MAN REF*. It is not just about the number of Defenders yet all the other factors as well. The expectation on that is that if there is another player present that the misnomer of the last man notion fails. We know that there could be a number of player present all in the wrong location to legally deny e opportunity and the foul would still be a red card.

Read other questions answered by Referee Joe McHugh

View Referee Joe McHugh profile

Ask a Follow Up Question to Q# 33492
Read other Q & A regarding Law 12 - Fouls and Misconduct

Soccer Referee Extras

Did you Ask the Ref? Find your answer here.

Enter Question Number

If you received a response regarding a submitted question enter your question number above to find the answer

Offside Question?

Offside Explained by Chuck Fleischer & Richard Dawson, Former & Current Editor of AskTheRef

This web site and the answers to these questions are not sanctioned by or affiliated with any governing body of soccer. The opinions expressed on this site should not be considered official interpretations of the Laws of the Game and are merely opinions of AskTheRef and our panel members. If you need an official ruling you should contact your state or local representative through your club or league. On AskTheRef your questions are answered by a panel of licensed referees. See Meet The Ref for details about our panel members.