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Question Number: 34270

Law 12 - Fouls and Misconduct 7/20/2021

RE: Old-timer player, and ref for youth to adult rec a

Barry Stewart of Chilliwack, British Columbia Canada asks...

Continuing with my recordings of the 2021 Euro Cup final, here are three fouls.

The first is a clear error, I feel. The second is the correct call. The third: the no-call on Sterling's fall in the penalty area, is debatable.

Here we go:

Obvious impeding with contact here. England #12 leaves the ball to hammer the Italian player.

England is rewarded with the throw-in.

Bad no-call.

Your thoughts?

Italy #13 chests the ball, but the spin causes it to contact his arm.

A recent Law change does not allow for accidental handling by the offence in the attacking zone.

Good call by the ref. But: would a similar defensive touch have resulted in a PK... or would it be allowed?

Sterling not given a PK. Lots of arm holding here.

Does Sterling put his left foot in the path of the Italian #19, to cause a trip?

Did himself in?

A gutsy no-call, but I can see an argument for Sterling being the instigator on the trip.

Your thoughts are always appreciated.

Answer provided by Referee Peter Grove

Hi Barry,

Thanks for the questions.

I would like to restrict my remarks to just the second of the incidents that you refer to. ​I feel I should point out that the recent law changes in regard to accidental handling are not quite so broad as to simply outlaw "accidental handling by the offence in the attacking zone."

In fact the scope of the law in this regard (which was already restricted to only specific scenarios) has been further narrowed in the latest edition and now only applies when a player:

"scores in the opponents’ goal:

directly from their hand/arm, even if accidental, including by the goalkeeper

immediately after the ball has touched their hand/arm, even if accidental."

So I think it is clear that the referee can only penalise accidental handling in an attacking sense when it leads directly or immediately to a goal by the player involved in the accidental handling and not in any other, broader circumstances.

So other than the above cases when a goal is scored the normal, current provisions on handlng would apply.

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Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Barry
Thanks for the videos and the questions
# 1. In this situation the decision rests on whether the ball was in or out of play at the moment of the contact between the players. I suspect the ball was out of play hence the only possible decision was a throw in.

Had the ball been in play it was in my opinion up to the AR to flag for a pushing offence against the England player and the restart would have been a DFK on the touchline.

#2. The referee decided here that it was a handling offence probably becuase the arm was slightly away from the body and up slightly. In my opinion it was accidental and the ball hit the player's arm as part of a natural playing motion. I doubt a penalty kick would have been awarded if it had been a defender it would not have been called.

I suspects the remnant of last years law is still around and that referees may still have it in their thinking.

#3. On the Sterling one it looks to me that the player moved his left leg into the path of his opponent which caused that player to make contact with the back of Sterling's leg. That looked unnatural and when VAR looked at it there was no need to ask the referee to review it.

It was in my opinion a good call by a very experienced match official and at this level referees are on the look out for engineered penalty kicks through unnatural movements by players to draw contact. In this situation the technical call could have gone against Sterling for a trip on his opponent. In the scheme of things with the ball safely in the goalkeepers hands the best decision was to allow play to continue.

You may recall the no penalty in the Kane situation in the Denmark game. The referee gave the penalty against Kane as he deemed that Kane was the initiator not the Danish defender. I suspect that referees may have been advised to look out for players trying to "engineer" penalty calls in their favour.

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Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

Hi Barry,
handling an issue, funny no matter the attention and details paid to revamping rewording and recalibrating it still remains one of the two most contentious points along with offside. lol
Basically, they do not want a goal scored by the attacker if their hands are involved.
I think the control issue has them in a quandary. Say an attacker on the touchline has a favorable bounce and the arm is involved, he puts in a nice cross which is headed, into the goal and tweet the whistle goes but NOT for the goal but DFK out by the touchline for an accidental redirect is to me just DUMB. I hope as Ref Grove suggests they confine this to inside the PA like knockdown into the goal but still why is a deflection off the arm any different than a deflection off any other body part if it is unknown or accidental?

The engineered foul is an interesting concept, the attacker moving into a defender to draw a foul as opposed to shielding the ball away from harm?
The first clip is informative would you see it as such in real time?

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