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Question Number: 33570

Law 12 - Fouls and Misconduct 8/12/2019

RE: Adult

DAVOOD of shooshtar, khozestan iran asks...

If a player calls a player(opponent) who owns the ball to deceive and pass the ball or leave it, how is the referee judged

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

A player may not verbally distract an opponent during play or at a restart. To do so is a yellow card for unsporting behaviour and the restart is an indirect free kick from where the offence took place.
Now the referee should not punish communication between team mates. If a player shouts instruction to a team mate it is not unsporting behaviour and play should continue.
Only blatant distraction including deception on an opponent should be punished. Some believe that calling an instruction like LEAVE IT to a team mate without a name is an offence. Not so. It is only communication and indeed many times the shout goes unheeded.
The test is whether the verbals are unsporting behaviour and a caution yellow card. If there is no caution an IDFK cannot be awarded on its own.

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Answer provided by Referee Peter Grove

Hi Davood,
As described, this sounds very much like the unsporting behaviour offence known as 'verbal distraction.'

The law says that:

''a player must be cautioned for unsporting behaviour [...] if a player:
verbally distracts an opponent during play or at a restart''

So any time a player uses his voice to distract an opponent, that player should be cautioned. As ref McHugh points out, it is not an offence to say (or shout) something like ''leave it!'' - and certainly not if this is directed to a team mate or has no effect on anything, but it is when this distracts an opponent.

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