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Question Number: 31811

Law 12 - Fouls and Misconduct 9/23/2017

RE: Rec Under 14

Doug Crawford of Oakland, CA US asks...

This question is a follow up to question 31753

Hello All - I read the description as the player committing a deliberate act, and pushing the referee for his own tactical advantage in the game.

Some of the panel respondents are describing this as possibly accidental, and Im surprised. I know this is a very unusual event, but I feel the need to clarify.

There is nothing "violent" about it, if we are using "violent" as an adjective in ordinary conversation. There is no malice, and I do not think the AR is describing any aggression.

But I agree that this is an act of "Violent Conduct" as we define it in LOTG, in the special category of pushing a match official.

AR Russell says:
"So now both the attacker and AR are running almost next to each other approximately a meter off the FOP - with the attacker still veering away where he uses his arm to push himself off the AR in an attempt to correct his momentum back towards the FOP. "

It sounds like the attacker is running as fast as he possibly can, "breakneck speed", and that he still has not regained optimal balance after rapidly veering off the field.

He uses the AR to maintain good balance while maintaining speed, and optimal direction and position, to maintain ball possession.

It sounds like the way you would use a wall or a tree if you were running past these objects at a speed faster than you should.

If a player pushed off a teammate like this, it might be surprising, but most players would ignore it.

If a player pushed off an opponent like this, I would usually award a foul, or rarely a card, based on how the match had been played up until then, and based on the opponents reaction. Some opponents can react violently to abuse like this.

If a player pushed off a spectator like this, some spectators would react violently, in "self defense". My response would depend on how it looked to me, but could be severe.

What this player is doing is playing soccer with a match official - he is treating us as one of the players, to be bumped against and pushed off of, because that is the way he plays soccer! However, we did not come to play.

The reason we do not tolerate players deliberately pushing a match official, even without excessive force, is because players use these pushes to intimidate the official, and to sway their judgement. If we have this rule, then we need to apply it.

I know this is a very rare event - I have never seen it in youth soccer. However, after thinking about it, I think AR Russell has described VC and I would send off the player for an action like this.

I would send off an adult or an older teenage player. However, for an preteen player like U12, Im not sure - I would probably have a discussion and restart play w IDFK as if I had given a caution. The player would need to learn what people tolerate in this world.

Thanks for listening and being here as the LOTG resource!

Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

HI Doug,
in the world of lets make this mean that, no one covers every eventually. A violent act a push or shove against an official when they purposefully harm him or try to intimidate a decision made most certainly VC red card

This rare act of keeping balance or to try and avoid accidently running him down is similar in my opinion to using the arm to ward off a backing in player for example as you go up for a header. This rare occurrence does NOT fit VC as I understand it because it is part of a natural momentum action.

No spectator should be close enough to BE in the way, It is why we have technical areas as well as bleachers and I move any watching mom or dads well back in their arm chairs if watching on local fields.
The player is not miles off the pitch here, just slightly out side the boundary lines and a free hand open is different than a slap or fist or punch. As AR you should be scrambling to get out of the way yet contrary to your statement it is true you are part of the field conditions which a play does in fact play against . An AR who stands too close to the touch line ball hits him stays in bounds an instead of a red throw we have a green opponent who says thanks scores good goal.

I remind you as a decision it will be your match your decision your reputation to TRANSLATE something innocent into something that really was not required. It COULD be the player saw a chance to get away with a shot and it could be you see it that way. but cards and send offs are big deals and circumstances and situations which occur quickly are often perceived differently by those involved as well as viewing them.


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Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Doug
It us up to each referee to decide whether the action constitute a deliberate act of VC against a match official which is very serious offence or one that is more benign or innocuous.
Perhaps the player is doing the AR a favour by moving him out of more harms way of more serious physical contact. Perhaps the player has made an instinctive push because the opportunity just presented that way with no real malice or intent.
For me I would need to be 110% certain that the player committed the contact in a way that there was VC intent. Perhaps he AR should not have been that close, perhaps it was an attempt to move the AR from being too close, perhaps an instinctive reaction to raise a hand to protect etc.
I think that there will always be doubt about the intention and maybe best to let it slide.
As I said in all my years I had one push on me during play and I was unsure if I caused it by my movement or the player did it intentionally. I ignored it and it turned out to be the best call for the game. If the referee thinks about the sending off report it needs to be watertight in its description for such a serious offence rather than an feeling or an interpretation of what happened. Can the referee say for certain that the player deliberately and intentionally raised his arm to strike?

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