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Question Number: 6276

RE: High School

Referee Pearson of Medina, TN USA asks...

This high school girls game took place between two teams of moderate skill. Score late in the game was Red 8, Blue 0. The game had been played with good sporting attitude. On a Red breakaway the Blue keeper came out, committed to a dive, was beaten by the forward, then reached out for the ball and came up with a handful of the forward's feet instead. Down she went as the ball rolled out of play. I signaled for the penalty. It was also an obvious DOGSO, but here was my thinking. The forward bounced up unhurt. The keeper's actions were penal, but not in my view intentional or malicious. Since it was high school a yellow card would send the keeper off for the penalty. A red card meant send-off, two-game suspension, mandatory meeting of parents, player, coach, and principal. The keeper's skill and experience were clearly limited and the outcome of the game was not in question. I know that I departed from the Laws when I administered the yellow card, but I did not think the red card punishment fit the crime. ..Red scored on the penalty. The booked keeper came back on as a forward for the rest of the match. Both coaches and teams accepted my decision without dissent. Please give me your views.

Answer provided by Referee Chuck Fleischer

Pearson the incident you describe is admirable. You, in effect, have said you?re fully aware that under certain conditions cautioning and disqualifying a player are discretionary. In the Laws of the Game the seven cautionable offenses and the seven sending-off offenses ARE ALL discretionary. ..In the NFHS Soccer Rules Book, when talking about cautions and dismissals, the words -shall be cautioned or shall be disqualified- are used. There?s a little wiggle room in that the referee(s) still has to be of the opinion a particular offense has happened. If the referee(s) is of the opinion that a particular offense did not happen it did not happen because decisions based on points of fact are final...It was your opinion that the offense seen was merely unsporting conduct. Once that was your opinion the rules state the player SHALL be cautioned, you did so. What you did was entirely correct. It takes courage to not dismiss a player where most would've automatically dismissed her. ..Kudos!



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Answer provided by Referee Keith Contarino

I think you applied the spirit of the Law within the legal boundaries and you should be commended. I don't participate in High School soccer but Ref Fleischer knows it well and even in that convoluted illogical system, you were within reason. Suffice it to say, as per FIFA sanctioned matches, you could have done either card.



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Answer provided by Referee Gary Sebalja

One thing I notice with Ladies games in that they don't really care. I had several situation at a lower level where I have thought right here a RC but they just get up and get on with the restart and you are thinking if I go over there and give a RC (quite within my right) I will upset them. I don't like a feild of upset Ladies especially when they are just there to play. But you do something like this at your own risk ie he referee last week didn't call that.



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