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Question Number: 33696

Law 12 - Fouls and Misconduct 10/8/2019

RE: Competitive Adult

Jirka Strmiska of Brno, Czechia asks...

Greetings,

let me set up the situation. The attacking player is in control of the ball, he has it somewhere under his feet, and he wants to shoot...what decision will the ref give, if the defending player, steps with his foot in front of the ball, (blocking the access to the ball) resulting in the attacker dangerously kicking the defender, because he can no longer stop his movement.

Usually, the person who does the kicking is committing the foul, but once the attacker starts moving his leg to shoot, it looks to me from logical perspective as a really dangerous play to plant a foot in front of the ball. (blocking the ball or kicking it away is obviously is okay I think).

So the question is which way the call goes.

(I've actually done it once, it was a slower game and the guy was preparing the shot for ages, I was lucky to not get injured, but the attacker limp away and didn't finish the game)

Sincerely,

Jirka

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Jirka
I believe what you describe is the situation where a defender gets his foot in the way of an attackers kicking motion?
That does happen at times. The answer for me depends on the actual circumstances. If the defender does not get to the ball yet gets in the way of the kick then it is a direct free kick foul against the defender. He may come off worse getting kicked yet so can the kicker hurt his kicking leg
However it also works the other way in that the defender, if he is able to play the ball away cleanly, gets kicked by the attacker then the attacker is guilty of kicking an opponent.
Timing is also critical in the evaluation of the foul as the attacker could kick the defender first and the defender then plays the ball. The defender has caused the contact so he is punished in that situation.
Throw in the likelihood of the defender actually getting to the ball in a way that is a good challenge and the attacker can be guilty of kicking an opponent.
So there is no clear answer and it will depend on circumstances. Your observation that a plant of the foot in front of the ball is dangerous and I agree. The defender must be endeavoring to play the ball rather than just sticking his foot in front of the ball.



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Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

Hi Jirka,
football aka soccer is a physical game, there will be players coming together where even heavy contact is unfortunate but NOT necessarily a foul or at least not misconduct. A player who is kicking the ball and the opponent plants his leg or foot in front of the pendulum swing of that leg, to block the kick, is in my opinion, tripping the attacker unless he managed to knock the ball away ahead of the swinging kick follow through . All the referee can do is evaluate was either player in a better control position did the other try to find a dirty way to add insult to injury?? Was the contact unavoidable or inevitable? Just a wee bit late or badly timed and used to rough up the opponent on the pretext of I tried to get to the ball ref! When an event occurs such as you describe we often refer to it as "He took one for the team! " experienced pain but shot was foiled!

Cheers



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