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Soccer Rules Changes 1580-2000

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Question Number: 35200

Law 18 - Common Sense 11/6/2023

RE: County level Adult

Maurice Johnson of Birmingham, West Midlands United Kingdom asks...

A goalkeeper was booked during the match.10 minutes from end ,rushed out of her area to attempt to head ball away but hit her raised arm(out of area,maybe 5 yards)the ball went over her and opposition scored.Shouid the referee have still given her a second yellow and been sent off?

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Maurice
Thanks for the question.

The Advantage law is very specific here in that it states and I quote
** If the referee plays the advantage for an offence for which a caution/ sending-off would have been issued had play been stopped, this caution/ sending-off must be issued when the ball is next out of play. However, if the offence was denying the opposing team an obvious goal-scoring opportunity, the player is cautioned for unsporting behaviour. If the offence was interfering with or stopping a promising attack, the player is NOT cautioned..** Capitals by me. A player can still be cautioned if the offence is reckless or perhaps on persistent infringement.

So as described a goal was scored so the referee has to consider if it was a handling offence in the first place, if it was a Denying an Obvious Goal Scoring Opportunity situation or was it an attempt to interfere with or to stop a promising attack only. If it was considered an SPA the goalkeeper may not be cautioned as advantage was played and fully realised. If it was considered a DOGSO situation then a caution is required.

For what its worth a referee may believe that as a goal was scored that a sending off may be harsh late in the game particularly when nothing really has been denied. It may also be unexpected after a goal particularly if the referee may have considered that the ball hit the arm rather than a deliberate handling placing a doubt on the call. If it was a blatant offence then an easier call.
I saw one recently where a referee failed to caution on a DOGSO penalty award and opined that he felt it was not a DOGSO just a regular penalty. It was also a second caution situation.

I also think that referees in these situations make what they believe is a fair call in that a goal is scored and nothing egregious was attempted such as a nasty reckless challenge or batting the ball away off the line with a hand aka a Suarez type incident. So while a referee could technically issue a caution I would say a good many would let it slide particularly if not fully clued up on the Law.

The astute referee may have a quiet word with the goalkeeper telling her that if no caution was issued that she was indeed lucky not to get dismissed and to be careful going forward.

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Answer provided by Referee Peter Grove

Hi Maurice,
First of all, the referee has to decide whether a handling offence actually occurred. If the referee decides that the handling was not deliberate and the hand/arm was in a position that was "a consequence of, or justifiable by, the player’s body movement for that specific situation," then no further disciplinary action is required.

If, as you say, a goal was actually scored, then no DOGSO offence has occurred and similarly, since the promising attack continued (and was ultimately even more than promising since it resulted in a goal) then it seems to me again that the offence (if there was one) did not stop a promising attack either.

So I would say that in the situation as you describe it, the referee did not need to caution the keeper either way.

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Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

Hi Maurice,
my astute colleagues pretty well summed up the event.
The referee would determine if there WAS a handling offence (as the keeper is under the same restrictions OUTSIDE their PA as any other player )

Based on your description there is a probable foul.
Then by making a good decision to not blow the whistle too early, using the advantage principle in awaiting an outcome that COULD be better than that potential free kick. Given the goal resulted that referee will be chest out, smiling to themselves for having it work out so well.

The great thing is our discretionary powers are often a bit freer when it comes to situations like this. Yes you COULD caution, show a yellow card if it was a blatant USB attempt to stop the ball from entering the goal. Ask yourself is it necessary or needed to drive home the lesson? What this keeper can be thankful for is IF the referee had blown the whistle BEFORE the goal, thus stopped play to card the incident then it is quite likely she WOULD be shown the red card and sent off for DOGSO.

If you consider the word "MUST" is not included in all cautions and there are exclusions if an advantage is actually realized. "IF" in the opinion of the referee, using discretion, aka what is best for the game at hand? Cards are essentially a tool, a big very harsh tool, to make a point or set a standard of acceptable behaviour. We can use lesser tools, like a hard whistle or a firm verbal warning as even our body language and verbal inflections let those playing know they are on thinner ice or within our radar of are you looking for trouble?

So good goal, restart kick off with a sheepish keeper, who with some luck might result in only her team down a goal with no caution, no cards just a finger wag warning of how unlucky she could have been! Not that having a goal against is great luck but given you say she was cautioned and had a goal scored against her, she paid as heavy a price as the LOTG demanded with only a few minutes remaining.

If that booking was her 2nd caution she would have been sent off, however, as no whistle stopped play prior to the goal being scored the direct red card for DOGSO is not valid. My opinion only, there is little point using a sledge hammer to drive home a tiny tack for maximum punishment when just a push button pin does the job.

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