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Question Number: 33748

Law 12 - Fouls and Misconduct 11/1/2019

RE: Competetive High School

Devery A Harper of NAPLES, FL United States asks...

Penalty kick or no penalty kick?

I'd like to present a couple of scenarios to get your opinions.

Situation 1:
U16 girls final (local tournament). Blue team is down a goal with 5 minutes to go. I was AR in this game. A shot came from the center of the area, went through a crowd of people. Being on the goal line I saw the White team defender handle the ball just to the side of the goalpoast, right on the goal line. The center did not see this. I raised and wiggled my flag. He came over, I told him what I saw. He gave a penalty.
Weeks later I thought to myself, should that have been a penalty? It's not like she denied a goal. It's not like she interfered in play. The ball hit her arm and then went out of play immediately. In the heat of the moment I did not relay this information to the center. I just said I saw a hand ball (which I did).
In this situation, can we nuance the rules so much as to say yes, I saw a handball, but no, it did not deny a goal, nor did it affect play whatsoever--corner kick. Or, is a handball a handball and thus a penalty? BTW, they scored the PK and then one it in overtime.

Scenario 2. '
Fouls AFTER someone gets rid of the ball or has a bad touch that takes them away from the play.
I come across situations often in the penalty area where someone will make a pass or take a shot and then immediately get fouled by the defender. I don't know if I'm going about things correctly, but I approach it like this. Unless it was a reckless or excessive foul, I do not give a foul. I tell them I saw it but they had gotten rid of the ball (got the shot off or passed it to another player who had an opportunity). I'll be honest, if this was on any other part of the field I would call it (as long as there is no advantage).
Or, I had a kid fouled in the area last weekend after he made a bad touch. In that split second, I made the judgement that yes, he was fouled. But, his touch was so bad that it had already rolled into the hands of the keeper.
What think you?

Answer provided by Referee Jason Wright

Hi Devery,
Interesting scenarios
1) The fact that the ball was going out anyway isn't relevant. Likewise, handling that doesn't meet the criteria of a foul but stops a ball going into a goal isn't a foul. I can understand that being a swaying factor in borderline cases, but if we're talking about something that is definitely a foul, then you did the right thing - your job is to advise the referee that a foul occurred in the PA that they didn't see, and a penalty is the correct decision. The fact that the ball was going out shouldn't be a deciding factor - she handled it too soon and the other team is entitled to a penalty. I would have done the exact same thing. What I'd like to see in terms of teamwork is the referee spot a potential offence and clearly look over to the AR. Then the AR is able to use a discrete signal (which should be discussed in prematch) and the referee may well be able to award a penalty without discussion. But, sometimes with something like that, discussion is necessary to help sell the decision.

2) This is a tricky one. There seems to be a culture creeping into the game where a bit of a foul is acceptable here - and as referees, we're stuck with a difficult balance between the laws and what is expected or accepted. I'd suggest that if you're setting the bar at reckless (remember - 'reckless' is a yellow card) then you're probably setting it too high.
I know strictly speaking, the PA shouldn't change what we consider a foul....but often it does, especially for low-level fouls. So, I think it's okay to be a little more relaxed on what you consider to be a foul, especially when it's clearly a desperate attempt to stop the ball - but if you allow too much then you start permitting those 'all or nothing' tackles, and the players safety becomes compromised.
For ones that are pushing it, don't forget you can use your voice - a quick 'just watch those tackles in the box' may do it, or you may need to pull a player aside and just let them know how close they are to giving away a penalty kick. As you move to higher grades that may be less desirable - players will argue that if it was serious enough to pull the opponent aside, then surely it was serious enough for a FK? But there are some things we can approach differently with young players.
Of course, once these late tackles become dangerous it needs to be pulled up - and especially once everybody can see they were never going to get the ball.

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Answer provided by Referee Joe Manjone

First you mention that you saw the defender handle the ball. Handling in high school rules is defined as playing the ball with the hand or arm. Then you mention that you saw a hand ball which again would be defined as playing the ball with the hand or arm. Then you say the ball hit her hand which sounds as if she did not play the ball but the ball hit her hand and there was no intention to play it. However, since it was a shot that hit the arm, most likely it is what you called which was handling. Handling in the penalty area, by a defensive player results in a penalty kick. Even though there was no goal denied which, by the way, in high school would also have resulted in a caution, I believe from what you indicated, a penalty kick was the correct call.

As to your second situation, if a player is fouled, in high school games, I recommend that you should call the foul. Not calling fouls for the situations that you indicate can result in additional fouls, and an unsafe game. Also, players will notice that your not calling fouls after the play and will take advantage of it by excessive contact with opponents after the ball has been passed on.

I know that the FHSAA soccer season will be getting underway next week. I hope that you have a successful high school season.

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Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

Hi Devery,
If the ball simply struck her arm and went wide and was never going to enter the goal than IN MY OPINION. it was a harsh call to award a PK. By flagging it you are telling the CR you THOUGHT it was a foul otherwise you WOULD not flag it. You DO NOT flag the ball striking the arm, you flag it ONLY if the arm was deliberately used to control/play that ball OR if the attackers were to gain an advantage off their own handling even IF accidental.

It is very important that in giving the CR information be sure he is FULLY aware of your thoughts and exactly what it is you believe should occur. The CR then considers what you say with their own interpretation and makes a decision based on your input and them putting the pieces together. Leaving out the wide and ball struck & deflected off the arm seems important information where there is no foul present . IF she did push it wide or move to stop it then perhaps it was indeed a foul but remember being screened it is certainly plausible it was accidental & the player had no idea or time to react except perhaps instinctively at the last second. The fact the ball was going wide might mean no DOGSO but if it WAS deliberate it would still be a foul.

Your second scenario is one that has ingrained itself into the game as if accepting some punishment for a missed opportunity is somehow become part of the game?

Most often the ball is on its way out of play or possibly already out of play when contact occurs.

You are 100% correct the MISCONDUCT as to the safety or force used should be considered as reckless or excessive and cardable.

The careless foul usually gets a pass but a talking too OR if persistent infringement could still factor into a sanction.

When a player blows the shot or opportunity, even if tackled late, given the tackle did not affect the shot, for some reason they are less inclined to whine, UNLESS it is dreadful or painful.

If the ball REMAINS in play even if that player had no chance of a rebound, a PK is a PK, even if you play advantage. .


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Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Devery
Thanks for the questions
On the deliberate handling a referee has to make a judgement as to whether the action constituted deliberate handling or not.
The Laws of the Games tells us It is usually an offence if a player touches the ball with their hand/arm when:
# the hand/arm has made their body unnaturally bigger
# the hand/arm is above/beyond their shoulder level (unless the player deliberately plays the ball which then touches their hand/arm) The above offences apply even if the ball touches a player’s hand/arm directly from the head or body (including the foot) of another player who is close.
It is generally not deliberate handling if
# directly from the player’s own head or body (including the foot)
# directly from the head or body (including the foot) of another player who is close
# if the hand/arm is close to the body and does not make the body unnaturally bigger
# when a player falls and the hand/arm is between the body and the ground to support the body, but not extended laterally or vertically away from the body.
Now in your example it is a matter of judgement whether any of the above happened. It makes no difference if the ball is going wide just whether the action was the ball hitting the player or not. When the ball is clearly going wide some referees will be swayed to think that it is doubtful and make no call.
In this video the ball was going out of play and a poor decision by the defender.
On your second question if it is a foul at half way it is a foul in the penalty area. What does happen is that the action by the attacker can cause the contact such as a follow through and also the focus can be on the shot rather than the contact between players. Certainly when it gets reckless the referees focus move from the shot to the foul contact.
In addition players reactions are a good barometer as to the extent of a foul or whether it is seen as a coming together or a foul. Over the years I have seen plenty of attackers make a rickets of a shot, control etc and there is contact after the ball has sailed wide or whatever. They do not even expect a foul and for that matter may not even be aware of foul contact.

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