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Question Number: 33534

Law 12 - Fouls and Misconduct 7/23/2019

RE: Competitive Adult

Peter Graham of Austin, Texas USA asks...

What happens if the ball is in play then the attacker runs out of play to get around the defender and the defender runs out of play and fouls the attacker? Would the free kick be taken at the spot of the foul (out of play)? Follow up, what would happen if this happened behind the penalty area? Would it be a penalty?

Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

Hi the lotg were altered to accommodate these situations as IF they had occurred on the FOP. The restart is from the nearest point along the touchline or goal line closer to the actual point of the foul off the FOP. Your follow up is a great addition because if the foul was to occur OUTSIDE the FOP but the closest restart point was in fact on the goal line that is part of the 18 yard penalty area then if it was a DFK offence it WOULD in fact be upgraded to a PK. This adaptation was included in the LOTG to ensure fairness and to match the reality of what impact such unfair actions have on the game when only a drop ball restart was possible. Cheers

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Answer provided by Referee Jason Wright

Hi Peter,
First off it's important to point out that players are permitted to leave the field as a normal part of play - eg to run around a player.
Previously this was a curious exception in the laws where a 'foul' committed off the field is not punished with a free kick, but with a caution (no matter how minor the offence is) and a DB where the ball was when play was stopped. I put foul in inverted commas because a foul was only for on-field offences while the ball was in play - being off the field it's not a foul but misconduct.
Of course, this doesn't make much sense for a minor, careless offence. It's a rare scenario, and most times it occurred 'kind of' on the line.
Fortunately the laws have now changed so there's no weirdness and no problem. Players are considered to be on the field at the nearest touchline point for the purposes of fouls and offside. So, in this case, it's simply a IFK, DFK or even PK as appropriate from the nearest point on the boundary, and you'd issue a card only if required just like any other foul.

So to be clear, if the nearest boundary point is the goal line behind the PA (including in the goalmouth), then because the lines form part of the area they enclose, this would make it a PK if it's a DFK offence.

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Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Peter
First point is that a player is allowed to leave the field of play as part of a playing motion. So there is no issue there
In the past a foul could only be committed on the field of play. A player could still be cautioned yet if play was stopped to do that the restart was a dropped ball from where the ball was when play stopped. Many times the referee was looking for part of the offence to be committed on the boundary line yet when that was not the case the DB was the only possible restart under the laws. I saw a few instances in WCs where players clearly fouled an opponent off the field of play yet the referee gave the restart free kick on the field which was *fair* yet technically incorrect.
That all changed in 2016 when IFAB the law making body amended Law 12 to penalise offences committed off the field of play with a free kick on the boundary line nearest to where the offence took place. If the nearest point is inside the penalty area a penalty kick is awarded.
Here is an example
The referee after reviewing it opines that the defender fouled the attacker off the field of play and as the nearest point of the restart is inside the penalty area a penalty kick was awarded.
The amended Law 12 takes the pressure off the referee as to the actual location of the offence as over or close to a boundary line now makes no difference. It is considered on the FOP when committed as part of regular play.
It is very important to review Law 12 as there are significant changes from the way the game used to be played.
For instance a team official can now commit an offence punished by a free kick or penalty kick.

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Answer provided by Referee Peter Grove

Hi Peter,
Prior to 2016, this would have been a dropped ball but starting in that year, it became a free kick on the boundary line (or a penalty if applicable).

The amended law read as follows:

''if a player leaves the field of play as part of play and commits an offence against another player, play is restarted with a free kick taken on the boundary line nearest to where the offence occurred; for direct free kick offences a penalty kick is awarded if this is within the offender's penalty area''

Although the format of the wording has changed slightly since that date, the actual outcome in terms of restarts remains the same.

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