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Question Number: 34209

Law 12 - Fouls and Misconduct 4/27/2021

RE: Competitive Under 19

Ryan Brenneman of Charlotte , NC USA asks...

I am RR in a U16 club game tournament. An offensive player plays a long ball into the box. It comes down about 2-3 yrds out from the goal box. An offensive player backs in, eyes up, and jumps for a header. The keeper comes from behind, eyes up, and makes a play catching the ball higher than the offensive player can get his head. There is a more than mild collision but no one is hurt and the keeper retains the ball. In my opinion the keeper is the offending party but is ultimately trifling and I make no call. The AR, who is a very senior official said after the game he would have called a foul on the offensive player for running into the keeper. I just said ok and asked about another play and did not disagree. This is only my 3rd time as RR though I have been an AR for more than a dozen matches at this level. In my view it was the keeper that created the contact as his forward motion to get to where the ball was coming down is what carried him into the offensive player. But for the level of the game it was in my view a trifling hit. Do we give the keeper more “protection” even when they initiate contact making a play on the ball? I am an older guy(48) having started refereeing later in life. I didn’t want to disagree with the senior official but who is correct here? Thanks for the help!

Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

Hi Ryan,
good on you for having the courage to take it on!
the old adage ITOOTR (in the opinion of the referee) your match your decision your reputation is achieved over time by every decision you make or do not make. lol While there are markers we look for as to who is at fault or if criteria are sufficient, we still use our gut to make that indistinct decision where we use our opinion to decide yes or no! I watched in disbelief at World cup decision where, IN MY OPINION the keepers frankly destroyed the attackers with vicious challenges that could only end badly. Based on your description the keeper was jumping up to grab the ball up in the clouds where it was 100% likely he would be able to touch & grab the ball and in effect be unchallengeable upon completion. We cut some slack on an up and down jump where the keeper comes down slightly on top of the attacker after reaching over with a straight arm fist away save. A raised knee that nudges the player a bit in the chest or back is certainly not unexpected BUT it CAN NOT Be used as a weapon.

A keeper reaching up with their arms to grab a high incoming ball inside their own PA is exposed and vulnerable, so if an opponent is there challenging they need to realize the keeper will most likely get to that ball first and it is risky to challenge because if the keeper obtains ball possession you, in fact, can not challenge! If there is a lean here it is. So most likely a bump will be the fault of the attacker and a free-kick out!

Have a look at these 2 challenges

In my opinion, both red card send-off challenges.

neither keeper was sent off
their team retained ball possession

the first video.
Goal kick awarded as the French player was the LAST to touch the ball before it ran over the goal line. NO WAY was that a legal challenge by what standard?? The fact the ball was headed into touch seemed to somehow transfix the official that the FOUL was no foul even though it occurred before the ball exited the FOP. So it was a miss and to give a PK for a miss, well what does that say about fairness as they haul poor Bastion's carcass off the pitch?
Just a terrible decision.

The 2nd video
A free-kick awarded outside the PA in favor of Germany???
Given it appeared the German Keeper punch of the ball was the last touch of that ball sending it into touch for an Argentinian throw-in?
Hard to say if the ball was in or out of the PA for deliberate handling BUT in WHAT WAY did the Argentinian foul the keeper? Unless placing his head into the projectile knee of the keeper some 6 feet in the air is a new sort of foul? I have not seen better wrestling moves of a flying knee drop than that one!
Just a terrible decision.

BOTH those fouls were THROUGH the player, not a jump up to catch a ball or punch a ball which is fine but the flight path they took was THROUGH the opposing player in as unsafe a manner as there is unless you take a 45 pistol and shoot him?

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Answer provided by Referee Peter Grove

Hi Ryan,
It is of course very difficult (if not impossible) to judge an incident like this without actually seeing it but I would have to say that I don't discern the signs of any offence in what you have described. If anything, I would say that a forward who is backing in and not looking at where the keeper is, is more likely to be the one committing an offence, than a goalkeeper who is simply coming out to catch the ball.

Now, if the keeper comes rushing out at high speed, paying no attention to the safety of the opponent and ploughs into them with excessive force that poses a high risk of injury to the forward (as in the cases described by ref Dawson) then of course the goalie would be guilty of an offence. But that does not sound like what happened here.

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Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Ryan
Thanks for the question.
You both could be right here and there is that famous phrase "In the opinion of the referee".
I would make a few points that might help
1. If the opinion of an experienced match official that it was a foul by the attacker then while he might not be correct his experience tells that there is a fair chance that there was a foul by the attacker given the way play unfolded plus he has a good side on view.
2. When two players that are challenging for the ball and one gets there later than the other the *late* player runs the high risk of committing the offence.
3. The manner of the contact has a lot to do with the decision.

In your example as the goalkeeper has caught the ball there is more likely a chance that the attacker has been late or his chances of getting the ball fairly was pretty low hence the offence as seen by the AR.

Referee Dawson refers to the Neuer / Higuain incident in the 2014 World Cup. Many in the game were of the opinion that a foul should have been called against Neuer not by Higuain plus a card ranging from a caution to a red card. I am in that camp. Neuer in my opinion raises his knee into the challenge in a way that was putting his opponent at serious risk of injury. For me Neuer showed a complete lack of regard for his opponents safety and as Law 12 states a direct free kick is awarded if a player commits any of the following offences against an opponent in a manner considered by the referee to be careless, reckless or using excessive force:
# tackles or challenges

Law 12 goes on to say that
If an offence involves contact, it is penalised by a direct free kick.
# Careless is when a player shows a lack of attention or consideration when making a challenge or acts without precaution. No disciplinary sanction is needed
# Reckless is when a player acts with disregard to the danger to, or consequences for, an opponent and must be cautioned
# Using excessive force is when a player exceeds the necessary use of force and/or endangers the safety of an opponent and must be sent off.

Graham Poll the former UK FIFA referee said that for him Neuer was blameless as he stretched to punch the ball away and his momentum caught his opponent. He went to say that perhaps Rizzoli was wrong to give Germany a free kick in this instance when a throw-in seemed the right decision. Referee Rizzoli later said that he was wrong to award the free kick to Germany and that he felt that it was a coming together with the throw in being the restart.

In summary all these types of situations will be different ranging from comings together to possible fouls by either player. There is an onus on both players to show regard to each other and what sways it more against the attacker for me is the fact that the goalkeeper was able to reach up and catch the ball plus holding on to it.

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