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Question Number: 22950

Law 12 - Fouls and Misconduct 3/15/2010

RE: Select Under 19

Erik of Arlington, TX USA asks...

This question is a follow up to question 22903

I would like you to cite your source over why it would be persistent infringement to foul the same player several times. Nowhere is that mentioned in FIFA's Laws of the Game. It sounds like some stupid made up rules like they use in high school games.

If a player is a ball hog, and controls the ball 80% of the time, of course 80% of the challenges will be directed at that player. And of course, some of those challenges will slightly miss the mark, so 80% of the fouls would also be against the player. If that player doesn't want to be fouled, maybe he should pass the ball to his team mates.

How is it fair to caution a substitute coming off the bench after the first foul?

I can understand if a team is picking on one player intentionally, even when he doesn't have the ball, like you would pick on a dweeb that has no friends. At the very most, though, that should be classified as unsporting behavior, and NOT persistent infringement.

Answer provided by Referee Michelle Maloney

Well, at least you are persistent. Here are the official sources for our 'made up' advice to you. From the Interpretations and Guidelines for Referees, Laws of the Game 2009/2010 (available for your reading at the FIFA website or the USSF website:

Law 12
Persistent infringement
Referees should be alert at all times to players who persistently infringe the Laws. In particular, they must be aware that, even if a player commits a number of different offences, he must still be cautioned for persistently infringing the Laws.
There is no specific number of infringements which constitutes "persistence" or the presence of a pattern ? this is entirely a matter of judgment and must be determined in the context of effective game management.

And from the USSF Advice to Referees, an official publication to assist USSF referees in applying the Laws of the Game consistently and correctly:

Law 12
Persistent infringement occurs when a player repeatedly commits fouls or certain other infringements. It is not necessary for the multiple fouls to be of the same type or all to be direct free kick fouls, but infringements must be among those covered in Law 12 or involve repeated violations of Law 14. In most cases, the referee should warn the player that the pattern has been observed and, upon a subsequent violation, must then issue the caution. If the pattern is quickly and blatantly established, then the warning should be omitted and the referee should take immediate action. In determining whether there is persistent infringement, all fouls are considered, including those to which advantage has been applied.
The referee must also recognize when a single opponent has become the target of fouls by multiple players. As above, upon recognizing the pattern, the referee should clearly indicate that the pattern has been observed and that further fouls against this opponent must cease. If another player commits a foul against the targeted opponent, that player must be cautioned but, in this case, the misconduct should be reported as unsporting behavior, as must any subsequent caution of any further foul against that same targeted opponent. Eventually, the team will get the message.
Examples of persistent infringement include a player who:
? Violates Law 14 again, having previously been warned
? If playing as a goalkeeper, wastes time, having previously been warned or penalized for this behavior '

If a substitute coming off the bench is foolish enough to commit misconduct on his first tackle, then shame on him. Why is it fair to let him come off the bench and behave unfairly toward the other team? Goodness, man, get your head on straight!

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Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Erik
I would like to tell you how my last game as a referee went.
First challenge in the game by an away player resulted in a caution. The second foul in the game by a home defender resulted in a caution. Both justified as unsporting behaviour for reckless tackles and both within the 1st 4 minutes. Now the players had to decide to either play the game as intended or face the consequences of further cautions or dismissals.
I had no further cautions for USB in the game.
So for me it does not matter if it the 1st minute or the last minute, whether it is the player's 1st foul or not, whether he is just on the FOP as a substitute I will caution/dismiss as appropriate.

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Answer provided by Referee Gary Voshol

You are correct on one thing. When the referee detects a pattern of fouls directed at one opponent, the caution is for unsporting behavior, not persistent infringement. But yellow is yellow.

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