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Question Number: 31311

Law 12 - Fouls and Misconduct 3/5/2017

RE: Rec Adult

russell of Sydney, Australia asks...

I don't go looking for fouls in my matches, however, in watching other matches, I do look for better understanding of foul recognition - and why I think there is (or isn't) a foul when the match crew think otherwise.

An example is in the Man U v Bournemouth overnight.

Fast forward to the 33 sec mark, and Bournemouth start an attack down the left channel.

First and foremost I recognise that the telecast view is very different to that of CR, so that may well explain the difference in why I felt there was a foul by Bournemouth 17 on ManU 4 that looks like a case of both in the back and arms.

So to help my foul recognition, lets assume the CR had the same view as the telecast - would this be a foul, or, just a strong legal challenge.


Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Russell
From my view of this it is a foul for either a push or an illegal charge. Referee Kevin Friend must have felt that it was shoulder to shoulder with the ball within playing distance and deemed it to be a legal charge.
Now we know that the Pro game is different not least in the pace and level of physicality. Sometimes referees allow physicality that would not be acceptable in the lower levels of the game or for that matter it just happens so quickly that the contact is difficult to recognise as a foul or otherwise. Referees are also on the look out for players going to ground too easily on minor contact expecting to get a foul. No 4 Red Jones is a strong physical player and does the referee think that he went down too easily? Obviously he did.
It has crept into all levels of the game and I see players going down now in impossible situations so that it can be retrieved with a free kick.

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Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

Hi Russell,
There is what we call an accept level of foul as fair IF the players are ok with the tolerance level allowed by the referee who is taking his cue from what the players are willing to accept. There are some very good examples in referee books that highlight this concept. You may recall a book called For the Good of the Game by Ed Bellion and Bob Evans where Ed I think, was discussing refereeing a match that had the famous Argentinian player Maradonna. It appeared a if the opposition was constantly creating niggle bites and bits in an effort to disrupt his play which the referee obligingly called foul after foul until Maradonna himself said, 'Just let me play!.

Yet even our famous player corrupted the integrity by using his hand to score a goal and sold that it was fair to the referee in the same way players go to ground to draw a foul through the art of the dive! It is very difficult to catch a cheat as at times what looks bad is exaggerated yet I can toe poke your ankle at a crucial moment and create a miss at a goal. Not all fouls that are effective are spectacular in appearance. Therein lies the problem, trying to see beyond the obvious when the obvious is not always apparent!
A referee with integrity calls what he sees no matter how we see it! It is possible the view you had if the referee had would lead to the same outcome as you think. I think so! The issue though is it did not and only the match referee himself can say why with 100% accuracy, we can only speculate!

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