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Question Number: 33636

Law 12 - Fouls and Misconduct 9/8/2019

RE: Under 19

Henry of Portland, OR USA asks...

Can you give advice on when you should call a foul when a defender does a 'follow through' shoulder challenge when an attacker is taking a shot/making a pass?

This is one of the tough fouls for me to call along with knowing when a fair shoulder to shoulder challenge becomes unfair. It happens with a decent amount of frequency that a player is trying to pass or clear it and because of that, they are not completely stable on the ground. This can cause an attacker to go to the ground a lot easier when receiving a shoulder challenge 'follow through' as they clear the ball rather than if the attacker and defender are both running with feet planted.

Should you only call these if the challenge is done after the attacker releases the ball, and as long as it is shoulder to shoulder don't take into account the attacker going to the ground because they just had less balance?

Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

Hi Henry ,
you cannot contact the opponent unless you are challenging for the ball, if the ball is gone the challenge is late, thus a foul by definition! You are correct if that inside leg is raised and the nudge occurs just as he tries to make the pass it can result in a fall that might not be judged foul but the timing here is critical. A late shoulder is no different then if I snap hook a toe in to your ankle after a pass.

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Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Henry
As described this type of challenge is *late* to the ball so it is a foul every time. It is not a legal charge as set out in the Laws which is a shoulder to shoulder physical challenge for space with the ball within playing distance of both players.
What you describe is the penal offence of charging as listed in Law 12 which at best is careless and it can be reckless which is also a caution.
Now players will protest that they used a shoulder which no doubt they did but it is also generally into the back or front of the opponent and the ball is not within playing distance of the player.
I describe legal charging as strongly easing an opponent off the ball, shoulder to shoulder when both are trying to win the ball not charging an opponent while he is playing the ball away.
At Underage my advice is to be strict on physicality involving charging. Legal charging conditions are reasonably rare in games in that the players have to be side to side and both challenging for space at the ball. A player that makes shoulder contact coming from a distance to challenge is more than likely to have committed the penal offence of charging.

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