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Question Number: 33911

Law 12 - Fouls and Misconduct 3/5/2020

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


this scenario, please.

Attacker is in an obvious goal-scoring opportunity. Defender's left leg/foot kicks ball away. A fraction of a second then (or at the same time) the right leg/foot of the defender hits this attacker.

Is it DOGSO, or stopping promising attack?

Thank you very much!

Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

HI Petr,
any tackle that make contact with the ball first certainly has less chance but is not immune from evolving into a foul or misconduct if the type of force in the execution of the tackle is harmful to the degree a referee chooses to see it as careless, reckless or excessive.

One can knock a ball away and have fair contact that is part of normal play where a collision or an entanglement might be seen as OK. A falling over, instead of a charge or trip.

If there are DOGSO criteria met and the interaction WAS deemed as a DFK foul then the red card & send off is likely mandatory if outside the PA . Inside the PA if it is foul t would be looked was it a decent effort to legally play the ball not say an attempt to injure . In which case a PK and a caution show yellow card would suffice!

All one can hope for is a referee with integrity calls what he sees to the best of his or her ability.

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Answer provided by Referee Peter Grove

Hi Petr,
I'm not quite sure I fully understand the question. You say the player has an obvious goal scoring opportunity (but you don't provide any details of why this is the case) and you then ask whether it is a DOGSO or a SPA offence because contact occurs with the trailing leg. Again, you don't really describe the contact but your question implies that it is a foul one way or the other.

So assuming that there was an obvious goal scoring opportunity and that a foul did occur, there can only be one outcome - it has to be judged as a DOGSO offence.

It is only if there was not actually an OGSO - or if the contact was not a foul, that this would not be the case.

It would be up to the referee's judgement to decide, firstly whether there was an OGSO based, as ref McHugh says, on the established criteria and secondly, whether the trailing leg contact rose to the level of a foul or not.

If there was no foul then obviously there was neither a DOGSO nor a SPA offence. If there was a foul but the DOGSO criteria were not fully met, it might still be a SPA offence (again based on the exact circumstances).

However let me reiterate that if there truly is an obvious goal scoring opportunity and a foul occurs, it doesn't matter which leg it was with, it can only be a DOGSO offence.

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Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Petr
Generally when the ball is cleanly and fairly played subsequent contact can be seen as incidental or a coming together of players with perhaps the attacker causing the contact as much as the defender in which case there is no offence.
In addition the referee would look at the manner of the challenge by the defender and it would only be penalised if the tackle was careless / reckless such as a scissor tackle with one leg/foot playing the ball and the other leg / foot playing the opponent. More than likely a caution as well once deemed reckless. Some tackles play the ball yet the follow through can be particularly nasty and reckless.
As to denying an obvious goal scoring opportunity the Law requires that the 4 Ds are present and those are outlined in the Laws. They are
Number of Defender
Distance from Goal
Distance from the ball
Direction of play towards goal.
If anyone of the 4 conditions are not met then it is not a DOGSO and more than likely a caution for stopping a promising attack. Whether it is inside or outside the penalty area now changes the sanction.
The caution of stopping a promising attack can happen in any attacking play where the referee deems that the offence has prevented a team from mounting an attack. Examples would be say a defender handling a through ball that was destined for an attacker in a good position or a player is pulled back after beating a player and he has been prevented from running forward into a good position with the ball.
So to answer your question if there is a DOGSO present with all four conditions present the offence requires that the player is sent off. If the foul is particularly egregious and meets the conditions of serious foul play the player should be sent off for that offence. The reason is that the suspension will carry more games and it is a more serious offence.
If on the other hand when not all of the DOGSO conditions are present yet it stops a promising attack then it is a caution for unsporting behaviour.
On questionable DOGSO ones I always went with a caution. That is a judgement call that a referee has to make in attacking positions. For instance the foul is 30 yards from goal is there a chance of another challenge before the goal scoring opportunity or if the foul is in tne corner with the player going away from goal or the player is unlikely to gain possession of the ball.

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