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Question Number: 33663

Law 12 - Fouls and Misconduct 9/21/2019

RE: EPL Professional

Steve Debus of Crofton , MD USA asks...

In todays Man City/Watford match, Man Citys 3rd goal was scored on a set piece free kick just outside the 18 where a Man City player behind the wall leans in and pushes the defender away with his body clearing a slot for the shot. Not playing the ball and clearly part of the play. Why was no foul called either live or by VAR? Shot deflected off defender but this was after the push.

Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

HI Steve the action of leaning in while the arm of the defender was causally holding him around the waist & shoulder kind of had no real effect on the shot given the one defender further away just stood there in what I think was a deer in the headlights given he almost never reacted to the ball flight except that it impacted his face. I think he looked away at the start and missed the flight of the ball starting out so there was no time to react at all. If the ball had struck say the attacker or the jostled defender VAR might have looked harder. That said, hard to believe MAN city lost against Norwich given the impressiveness of this display.

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Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Steve
As you know Law 13 has been amended which states that *where three or more defending team players form a 'wall', all attacking team players must remain at least 1 m (1 yd) from the 'wall' until the ball is in play*
Now in this instance there was a wall, then a break to the next two Watford defenders who were not part of the wall with a Man City player at the end. The City player was a yard away from the wall so he was entitled to be there.
When I watched it I did not see an immediate offence yet it does appear as you say there was a push in an attempt to create a channel for the shot. Having said that Watford 6 seemed to he holding the City player that was pushing so perhaps it was six of one and half a dozen of another
I get the feeling that VAR is now being used to deal with obvious errors only and if the referee was looking straight at this, which he was and he did not feel there was a push or a need to call an offence then VAR probably is not going to intervene.
Also Watford made no great appeal for an offence and at this level Pros expect some physical contact in or around free kicks.

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