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Question Number: 31890

Law 12 - Fouls and Misconduct 10/10/2017

RE: Competitive Under 19

Dave Bermingham of Herndon, Virginia United States asks...

This question is a follow up to question 31882

Referencing the first part of the question on charging, Ref McHugh provided a concise description of the difference between strong and foul play particularly when players are in close proximity to each other. It is an easy decision if one player has possession of the ball and an opponent runs from distance to crash into him. It is a bit more complicated when both players are closing on a loose ball simultaneously and at speed (i.e. ball over the top, winger and 2nd defender chasing). Both are entitled to challenge for the ball and we expect some level of contact will occur. Other than looking for movement AT the opponent (instead of the ball) or eyes tracking the player not the ball, does the panel have any other thoughts to distinguish fair contact from foul in this instance? (Assuming a shoulder to shoulder contact/collision without a distinction where one player action could be considered more reckless than the other or using excessive force.)

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Dave
The key here is proximity to the ball and the timing of the charge along with body positons. The ball has to be within playing distance and has to be side by side for a legal charge to be made.
The parts that I look for are
1. Is an arm used as running player tend to use the arm away from the body
2. Is the charge side by side rather than more into the back of a player. One player can be slightly ahead of the other hence it can be not side on
3. Is the contact made within playing distance of the ball which at most is a pace and a half
I might allow some innocuous bumping between players as they move to the ball with neither unduly affected yet the legal charge contact has to be close to the ball by which time the speed part may have diminished
Remember there cannot be a legal charge away from the ball so if at distance from the ball a player charges an opponent that is a foul even if executed fairly. USSF used to have in its advice that such a legal charge away from the ball was an IDFK yet that is no longer the case. It is a DFK
Now as you rightly point out they can be difficult calls
Have a look at both videos.
Both these were seen as legal charges. There are elements in there that may have been illegal with the arms used rather that a fair charge. Perhaps the best decision was no call as that what was expected on the FOP without video and at speed with both defenders playing the ball. The second one I believe it was certainly an arm yet very difficult to pick up in a game context.
Now have a look at this video
This was not a legal charge even if the shoulder was used on the opponents shoulder.
My advice is to give was is obvious and expected and to let the questionable ones slide as doubtful.
To make a point. I was an AR recently and the CR called every single contact between players. It turned into a whistle fest. Both sides and benches got frustrated with one coach shouting in that it is not basketball. I believe under the Laws he may have been 100% technically correct each time yet some of the contact did not need to be called. It did not lead to a very enjoyable game for either side. it certainly was a very safe game as it ended up as a no contact contest!

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Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

HI Dave ,
actually if the collision is an intersecting V with a free ball being chased it is very difficult to say who might be at fault.
Like two guys going for a header we often look who is best positioned to give the nod too but we also look to the other stuff, arms pushing , is one backing in under, arms out wide elbows, is one jumping up at the ball or into the other etc..
Here we look to the contact point; in behind on the back:,-- slam into the chest: or a free arm shiver or a thigh leg thrust that goes in as a sort of trip rather than side to side.

The side or right angle crunches offer the most easily seen foul because at high speed it simply is unsafe it becomes a charge not a barge. The way it is described as an easing off by my colleague Ref McHugh has it pegged well. A coming together not a running over or through using leverage and foot position not a pushing down arm on the shoulder but actually side to side .

I can offer this advice it is VERY difficult for a larger player to shoulder charge a smaller player as the center of gravity by a player making himself flow the large player ALMOST without exception is PUSHING /HOLDING if in contact by leaning down or uses too much force to knock him out of the way. The reverse is also true in that the smaller player can not JUMP UP with both feet to get to the higher point.

1st image look at their faces to see the power of the impact
a series of contacts nothing required refereee intervention

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