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Question Number: 33872

Law 12 - Fouls and Misconduct 2/6/2020

RE: Rec Adult

Alexis Demetriou of Nicosia, Cyprus asks...

Hi is the refs decision not to give a penalty correct?

Penalty in question at 4:22 of youtube link below:

Answer provided by Referee Jason Wright

Hi Alexis,
This one is tricky. For a foul to have occurred, the defender must have charged in a careless fashion, at minimum.
What this incident boils down to is a question of whose fault is the collision.
If it's the defender's, then given the contact was from behind (the hip contact from behind is the issue), then it's a foul.
But what we need to be careful of is when an attacker, level with (or marginally ahead) a defender, suddenly steps across the defender's path. In that case, the defender is acting perfectly reasonably and has no opportunity to react therefore cannot be accused of acting carelessly. There are time when turning your back to a player coming through will be a foul, but stepping across the path from right next to them with no notice and no chance to react usually shouldn't be a foul - though it's often given.
Did the attacker do that, or did you have 2 players running in a straight line? If so, then the defender got there slightly after and bumped him from behind - so foul.
I'm inclined to put this one at the fault of the attacker - but it's a bit difficult to tell in the video. What would be ideal is an angle from behind, but showing the play for longer.
Once of those incidents that really could have gone either way depending how the referee on the day perceives the movement of the players.

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Answer provided by Referee Peter Grove

Hi Alexis,
This is a tricky one. I would say the two players both move slightly towards each other and both exert approximately the same amount of force. So for me, it's pretty much 50-50. I would not have been absolutely surprised to see the decision go either way. It's all down to the judgement of the referee on the day. His match, his decision, his reputation.

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Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Alexis
The Laws of the Game allow a player to be fairly charged which is a physical challenge against an opponent, usually using the shoulder and upper arm, which is kept close to the body while the ball is within playing distance of both players
I suspect the referee in this case viewed it as a fair charge or two players coming together at pace. What makes it difficult is that it is not plainly obvious if there was illegal contact by either or both players and if it was 50 / 50 then play on .
On balance I would say no penalty as the defender does not use his arm, he is level if not slightly ahead of the attacker and he is entitled to make contact here as the ball is within playing distance of both.
Not awarding a penalty here is not an obvious error so even with VAR I doubt the onfield decision would be changed.

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