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Question Number: 33648

Law 12 - Fouls and Misconduct 9/13/2019

RE: Competitive Under 19

Joe of Westampton, NJ USA asks...

A fellow referee told this to me and I had never heard of this and I cant find the answer online anywhere so Im asking here.

Situation: Attacking player is approx 20 yards from goal when the defending player grabs his shirt. The attacking player in finally pulled to the ground 2 steps into the box.

My colleague is saying the its a penalty kick because he says that you call a holding foul where it is most advantageous to the attacking team.

I think the ball is spotted 20 yards out because the advantage never developed.

Who is correct?

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Joe
You have come to the right place! The Laws of the Game p108 spell this out as outlined by Referee Wright.
Now the key to this is that pulling or holding can be a continuous offence unlike a contact offence of a kick, trip, charge etc.
So in this instance part of the offence happened outside the penalty area and the final part happened inside.
The Laws clearly tells us that the decision is a penalty kick.
Another way is to consider advantage in the decision making. Elsewhere on the field if there were two fouls in quick succession we go with the more advantageous location usually the second one. If that thinking is applied here we can see the final part of the offence inside the penalty area as a second offence and more advantageous to award a penalty kick. Sure if the player was pulled / held and let go outside the area and the held again clearly inside what would the decision be? A penalty kick.

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Answer provided by Referee Peter Grove

Hi Joe,
Your refereeing colleague is correct - if a holding offence starts outside the penalty area and continues until the attacker is inside the penalty area, the referee must award a penalty kick. This is specified on page 108 of the Laws of the Game, 2019/20 edition, pdf version.

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Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

HI Joe,
looks you owe your buddy a beer!
most fouls are point of contact fouls like, a trip, charge, kick, strike, push, etc.. but a holding foul is interesting in that the grip on the shirt pull or shoulder or the arm can be against the body as ground is covered. To the extent the hold is CONTINUOUS then in effect we are applying advantage as a continuous series of advances where the player doing the fouling is failing in his efforts to stop the attacker enough that we feel the whistle needs to sound to stop play. Once the hold is continued INSIDE the PA then the PK is far more advantageous than the DFK that was available outside the PA . WE also hold that THIS type of foul has no basis for a legitimate challenge and DOGSO inside or outside the PA, if criteria was met, should be applied! I will say if the falling is occurring out side the PA and the hold is released but the crumble to the ground is inside the PA. THEN we go back to that release point outside for the DFK.

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Answer provided by Referee Jason Wright

Hi Joe,

If we are considering advantage, and there are multiple fouls in quick succession (or a 'continuous' foul), and no advantage ensues, then we don't have to go back to the first one - we apply advantage in the sense that the attacking team benefits most from allowing play to continue from the first offence (or earliest point of the offence). Allowing play to continue for the first 19 yards and penalising the offence at the 20th yard is more advantageous than bringing it back to the first yard.

IFAB have addressed this specific point. In the current laws, p108, it states:

'If a defender starts holding an attacker outside the penalty area and continues
holding inside the penalty area, the referee must award a penalty kick'

Following from that we can apply the same principle anywhere on the field.

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