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Question Number: 27267

Law 12 - Fouls and Misconduct 3/24/2013

RE: rec Adult

alex of richmond hill, ontario canada asks...

This question is a follow up to question 27245

I've heard from a ref instructor that fifa have stated the ref made the right call based on nani's foot position. Let's put aside the question whether nani knew there is an opponent nearby challenging the ball. My question is base on the assumption that a player lifting his foot high up in the air to play the ball AND eventually made contact with an opponent who he does not know is nearby (maybe running in from a blind spot). This should not even be a foul as I was taught some years ago by an example of a game between chelsea and arsenal. An arsenal player kicks a ball high up in arsenal penalty area and end up kicking john terry in the face. The consensus is that there is no foul as the arsenal player is entitled to clear the ball without knowing terry running in from a blind spot. It seems to me that both incidences are the same in principal but end up having contradictory rulings. Has anything change over the past few years?

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Alex
In 1995 intent was removed from Law 12 of the Laws of the Game and replaced with careless, reckless or uses disproportionate force. Older referee or instructors after 1995 may have felt that intent was still a consideration in a foul but not so.
One would like to have thought by 2007 some 10 years on that the John Terry injury would not have been cited as an example of unintentional incident. In the recent Newcastle v Chelsea game, Ba a Chelsea forward had his nose broken by Colicini of Newcastle. See photo and story
The header by Ba just went wide of the post. Howard Webb the referee awarded a goal kick. Now IMO the correct decision was a penalty kick and a red card. I would also say that in the John Terry incident the correct decision was also a penalty and a dismissal.
The fact is that when a player raises his boot that high making contact with an opponent's head it is most definitely a foul. Its not as if there are no players close or that it is certain that the ball will not be played by a head. I would also say that many fouls are mistakes and intent is not a requirement for a foul to be committed.
Playing in a dangerous manner has always been a foul and when it gets to contact it has always been a direct free kick. In 2007 which was the year that FIFA removed the Questions and Answers part of the Laws of the Game it outlined its advice on PIADM in the Interpretation of the Laws of the Game and Guidelines for Referees. It states that in the case of physical contact, the referee should carefully consider the high probability that misconduct has also been committed as well as the free kick. Prior to that the advice as per the Q&As was that that it was a direct free kick or a penalty kick with no mention of disciplinary action.

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Answer provided by Referee Keith Contarino

The story under the photo Ref McHugh provides a link to is illuminating. One would expect the Manager of a Professional soccer team in England of all places would know and understand The Laws Of The Game. Rafa Benitez, the Chelsea manager had this to say:
""It had to be dangerous play," Ben?tez argued. "A broken nose and five minutes of bleeding is evidence."

Dangerous play, more accurately described as Playing In A Dangerous Manner rarely if ever involves contact. A broken nose and 5 minutes of bleeding is evidence this was NOT PIADM but the more serious and Direct Free Kick foul of kicking an opponent. Further, If Benitez really believed this was dangerous play, he should know there can never be awarded a penalty kick for PIADM because that is one of the Indirect Free Kick fouls and penalty kicks are given only for Direct Free Kick fouls committed by the defense inside their own penalty area.

I bring this up only to point out how befuddled I am that in the Country that invented the game, players/coaches/fans etc. even at the highest levels of play simply do not know the rules.

I doubt there's a single MLB Manager that doesn't understand the infield fly rule in baseball. In fact, most Little League players understand it. Only in soccer do we see participants in this game even at the highest levels not understand basic, fundamental things like PIADM is an Indirect Free Kick foul so there could never be a penalty awarded if someone commits PIADM.

Small wonder then that Americans, especially over the age of 50 who had no exposure to soccer until recently are confused by the LOTG

By the way; I agree with Ref McHugh that both incidents should have resulted in a red card and penalty kick assuming both took place within the penalty area. The most recent incident did and if I remember correctly, so did the Terry incident

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