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Question Number: 33521

Law 12 - Fouls and Misconduct 7/14/2019

RE: other Under 14

Chris Y. of El Dorado Hills, CA US asks...

Offensive player A has received the ball and entered the penalty area. Player A is barely inside the box, near the 18, and near the goal line and is playing with their back to the goal. Player A is shielding the ball and is stagnant with 2 defenders on his back. Defensive players B,and C defending player A are holding their position chest to Player A's back as Player A shields the ball. It is ruled that Player A has been pushed a little too hard and is awarded a penalty kick because he was in the box.
Player A had no chance of scoring. was not in a break away situation and the episode happened far and to the side of the box.
What is the proper call....No call at all, indirect free kick, or actually award a PK

Answer provided by Referee Peter Grove

Hi Chris,
A push only has to reach a level that the referee judges to be at a minimum careless, to be a foul. Since the referee in this instance has reached the conclusion that a foul has occurred in the penalty area, a penalty kick is then the only possible restart the referee can award. It cannot be an indirect free kick - any foul involving physical contact has to be a direct free kick or penalty.

Now, a referee could decide that the contact did not reach the minimum threshold of being careless and so no offence has occurred but if the referee deems the push to be a foul, it has to be a penalty.

Where in the penalty area the offence occurred, whether the player had any chance of scoring and which way he was facing are all irrelevant. In fact the ball doesn't have to be anywhere near the player for a foul to occur (though it does have to be in play). The ball could be up the other end of the pitch and if a foul on an attacker occurs inside his opponent's penalty area, a penalty must be given.

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Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

Hi Chris,
the location of the foul is the basis for the location of the restart. There are certain fouls that physical contact determines the spot of the foul, a push just like a trip or kick are all single point focused free kicks. If the free kick is awarded against the defenders in their own PA while the ball is in play, it becomes an automatic PK .

Fouls like a push are looked at in was it careless, reckless or excessive in nature? Careless is just a free kick, reckless a caution show a yellow card & a free kick ,excessive is SFP or VC and a red card followed by the send off & a free kick .. The very concept of trifling or doubtful can certainly apply to the situation you describe no referee should be looking to award a soft pull or push in a situation that has zero scoring chance.

A referee can see if the player shielding is backing up & using the arms to block and hold just as much as defender is pushing or reaching over top a shoulder to pull back. Where they are sort of both engaged in unethical play but all three of you are sort of tolerating said action as part of the game.

It is even conceivable an elbow or hand of the attacker is flung into the face of defender for a foul the other way. Plus you need to be aware of the ability for players to attempt to dive or draw a foul from very limited contact.

HOWEVER, if the act is egregious enough to be seen as a foul, not trifling or doubtful but a clear pushing foul with no intent to play the ball the referee must award the foul for WHAT it is! All DFK fouls, IF your fault & they occur within your own PA becomes a PK for the opposition .

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Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Chris
It makes no difference what Player A is doing. He can be shielding the ball, he can be attacking and for that matter he might not even be near the ball.
Once the referee deems that one of the listed penal fouls in Law 12 has been committed on the player the restart is either a direct free kick or if it happened inside the penalty area it is a penalty kick.
In addition to the restart the referee has to decide if further sanction is required such as a yellow card for a reckless offence or a red card for serious foul play, violent conduct or denying an obvious goal scoring opportunity etc.
In this example as the pushing offence happened inside the penalty area the restart is a penalty kick and it does not read like it was reckless or denied an obvious goal scoring opportunity so there is no need for a card.

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