Soccer Referee Resources
Ask a Question
Recent Questions

RSS FEED Subscribe Now!

Q&A Quick Search
The Field of Play
The Ball
The Players
The Players Equipment
The Referee
The Other Match Officials
The Duration of the Match
The Start and Restart of Play
The Ball In and Out of Play
Fouls and Misconduct
Free Kicks
Penalty kick
Throw In
Goal Kick
Corner Kick

Common Sense
Kicks - Penalty Mark
The Technical Area
The Fourth Official
Attitude and Control
League Specific
High School

Common Acronyms
Meet The Ref
Contact AskTheRef
Help Wanted
About AskTheRef
Panel Login

Question Number: 31630

Mechanics 7/5/2017

RE: Rec Adult

Russell of Sydney, Australia asks...
Only a Yellow - and after a VAR !

If this is not a red what is - and they had the luxury of the equivalent of sitting on a couch with remote in hand.

Really, only a yellow.

There is no subjective matter in this - the defender clearly elbows the attacher to the head.

Makes a mockery of the part of the LOTG that state:
A tackle or challenge that endangers the safety of an opponent or uses excessive force or brutality must be sanctioned as serious foul play.

What am I missing / not understanding?

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Russell
The incident you refer to has raised significant questions for FIFA in the use of the VAR system. All the comments that I have seen, like you, question why this was not a dismissal for serious foul play. The video evidence clearly shows that the player deliberately used his elbow to make contact with the players head.
If no card was shown then that would have been a different matter yet once any card was shown it could only be red as yellow was unlikely under the Laws. I also believe that under the VAR protocols it had to be a red card or nothing.
I am not sure what Referee Mazic was thinking here other than the notion of not sending off a player in a FIFA final. Referee Howard Webbs decision not to send off DeJong for the Kung Fu kick on Alonso in the 2010 WC final comes to mind.
Now FIFAs head of refereeing Massimo Busacca said many aspects of the VAR system needed be improved and that every referee team in every country that is supplying officials to FIFA needs to be working with VAR every day. He went on to say that FIFA did the VAR training in five days for this competition and that they needed more time to get it right.
I frankly do not buy that as I am sure Referee Mazic when he saw the video had to come to the conclusion that it was a red card offence for SFP. Did he think that he could not send the player off for what he saw? Were referees warned about the dangers of slow motion video exaggeration of contact and to rely more on the on field observation and experience?
I watched New Zealand v Lions 2nd test with the referee sending of Sonny Bill Williams for endangering the safety of an opponent on a challenge that was reviewed under its VAR system. Referee Jerome Garces despite clear lack of support from his two assistants standing beside him and the TMO made the brave decision to send off the player which was the first sending off of an All Blacks player in 50 years and in New Zealand at that. He could have fudged it with a yellow yet he did not shirk the tough call.
So you are missing nothing or not misunderstanding anything. It should IMO have been a red card and for whatever reason the referee chose not to do that. I think he just shirked the call with perhaps some *advice* to only send off when there is no other option available or some other words of warning on using VAR. Under the old pre VAR system it would have been no card and a throw in.
I also suspect that there may be a continuation of Mr Busacca's policy on from the last World Cup in Brazil of less censuring of players where the card count was down significantly from 278 cards to 197 cards in total with a fall in red cards from 17 to 10 with some questionable decision to not send off players were made.
Clearly the decision has undermined the VAR system in the short term and perhaps FIFA and others can learn from this that the system must be used correctly and the full rigours of the law applied.

Read other questions answered by Referee Joe McHugh

View Referee Joe McHugh profile

Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

HI Russell,
much like the friendly between Ghana and the USA when the Ghana keeper remained on the FOP after the studs over the ball tackle DOGSO a red card all day any day in any league although if there is any excuse the term friendly perhaps made the referee soft!
In the scheme of career Referee Mazic was doing his top match and perhaps did not want to affect the enjoyment level of play as I say his match, his decision, his reputation.
In THIS match THAT decision the reputation took a BIG hit!


Read other questions answered by Referee Richard Dawson

View Referee Richard Dawson profile

Ask a Follow Up Question to Q# 31630
Read other Q & A regarding Mechanics

Soccer Referee Extras

Did you Ask the Ref? Find your answer here.

Enter Question Number

If you received a response regarding a submitted question enter your question number above to find the answer

Offside Question?

Offside Explained by Chuck Fleischer & Richard Dawson, Former & Current Editor of AskTheRef

This web site and the answers to these questions are not sanctioned by or affiliated with any governing body of soccer. The opinions expressed on this site should not be considered official interpretations of the Laws of the Game and are merely opinions of AskTheRef and our panel members. If you need an official ruling you should contact your state or local representative through your club or league. On AskTheRef your questions are answered by a panel of licensed referees. See Meet The Ref for details about our panel members.