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Question Number: 33822

Law 12 - Fouls and Misconduct 12/28/2019

Petr of Prague, Czech Republic Czech Republic asks...


in Premier League match Wolverhampton vs. Man City (3-2) Adama Traore charges with his chest to Mendy's back before second goal.

Is it legal to do this by the chest? (The rules speak only about shoulder to shoulder charge.)

Thank you very much!

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Petr
The laws allow for a certain level of physical challenge so to me the contact did not look like careless, reckless or excessive force. It looked to me like the Wolves player was just stronger and in many ways poor defending.
Now even a charge that is made in the normal way can be called as a foul if the referee deems it careless, reckless etc.
My observations is that PL referees have been slow in recent times to penalise situations where defenders go down easily on contact from the back.

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Answer provided by Referee Peter Grove

Hi Petr,
Actually, there is nothing in the law referring to 'shoulder to shoulder' charges. Law 12 simply says it is an offence to charge an opponent carelessly, recklessly or using excessive force. Then there is a definition in the glossary that says a charge is a:

''Physical challenge against an opponent, usually using the shoulder and upper arm (which is kept close to the body)''

So I think that the most we can say from a reading of the law is that what Traore did here (whether you call it a charge, push or challenge) should be judged as most types of physical challenge are, on whether it was careless, reckless or used excessive force.

I have to say that when I first saw this at normal speed and from the main camera angle, I thought there was nothing wrong with the challenge - it looked as if Traore had simply been stronger than Mendy.

On slow motion replays from other angles it did look as if more force had been used than I had first thought and based on these angles, it did look more like a foul. Of course, as it led to a goal, there was a VAR review of the challenge and it was decided that the referee's decision that this was not a foul, was not a clear and obvious error.

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