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Question Number: 31690

Law 12 - Fouls and Misconduct 8/8/2017

RE: Rec Adult

Steve Quinn of Perth, Western Australia Australia asks...

All the recent discussion about dangerous play made me check the wording in the updated Laws of the Game. Here it says in Law 12 that:

'Playing in a dangerous manner is any action that, while trying to play the
ball, threatens injury to someone (including the player themself) and includes
preventing a nearby opponent from playing the ball for fear of injury.'

This is slightly ambiguous. Does 'includes' here mean A) it MUST include preventing a nearby opponent from playing the ball or B) that it CAN include it (among other things)?

If the first option is true, does that mean that if a boot is raised to head level and ALMOST touches a forward attempting to head the ball (I realise any actual contact would mean a DFK or a penalty), that if the forward does not in any way flinch or pull back, but steers the header wide for a goal kick, there is absolutely no foul committed since the clearly dangerous high boot did not prevent him playing the ball?

If B) is the right interpretation then the new approach to playing in a dangerous manner is merely that it is dangerous to SOMEONE - either the player themself or any other player, opponent OR team mate.

Given the changes in Law that now allow a DFK for attacks on team mates, I was wondering if B is now the way we are meant to approach this?

Answer provided by Referee Gary Voshol

The requirement that the dangerous action must cause the opponent to pull away from playing the ball lest someone be injured is not new. It has been there for years.

However at many levels, at the younger ages certainly, and often in adult amateur leagues where 'we all have to go back to work on Monday', referees are more proactive to call the action dangerous play without regard to the opponent's reaction. This is because players at that level don't know enough to pull back from the danger.

The Laws are written to cover games from the youngest U-littles all the way up to the pro leagues and the World Cup. The Laws are the same (except for allowable league modifications), but the application of the Laws must adjust to the level of the competition.

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Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Steve
There is no change to the Law on this topic. If a player play in a dangerous manner then it is still an IDFK for that offence. The referee is the sole judge whether the high boot was PIADM or not.
Now outcome is never a factor in deciding if an offence happened or not. Just because a player may not flinch does not mean that he was not adversely affected by the high boot. He could have been.
Case in point was the Ibrahimovich disallowed goal
The referee deemed that the high boot by the player constituted PIADM. Did the goalkeeper change anything as a result? I do not know and one could argue that he did not yet the referee deemed it was a PIADM foul.
Also fouls cannot be committed on team mates only opponents. Offences on the field of play such as Violent Conduct against a team mate or the referee has now a DFK restart rather than the IDFK of old. That is the change you refer to so PIADM only happens against an opponent and I is still an IDFK. Once there is contact it becomes a DFK which is for a different foul of kicking an opponent or jumping at an opponent.

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