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Question Number: 31946

Mechanics 10/27/2017

RE: Comp Under 16

Lee McMurtry of Loomis, CA USA asks...

Red attacker has a run on goal into the penalty area with Blue defenders on his shoulders. Blue keeper comes out and smothers the ball on the ground, in the process rolling and turning his back to the Red attacker, who collides with the keeper (basically tripping over) and stays down. Red attacker had little opportunity to avoid the collision due to the defenders on either side. Keeper pops up uninjured.
I stopped play for the player down, who was able to get up and continue. I gave a verbal warning about respecting the keeper and restarted play with ball in hand for the Blue keeper.
I realize that officially the restart should have been a dropped ball at the edge of the penalty area, but this seems like a definite disadvantage to Blue. In the youth game, when one is more likely to stop a game prior to a natural stoppage to attend to an injured player, what are opinions about alternate restarts?
In thinking about this afterwards, I wondered if I should have cautioned the Red player. How do more experienced referees think about how to call contact between the Keeper and field players in this type of situation where both are challenging for the ball?

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Lee
Thanks for the question
The first point is that I would only caution if the challenge merited same that is the challenge was reckless.
Now if there was no foul and only a coming together then there is no offencd so play continues. As play was stopped to deal with an injury then the only possible restart is a dropped ball from where the ball was play was stopped.
Referees would hope that on a dropped ball for an injury that Fair Play might apply with either the ball not being contested for and the ball is given back to the team in possession.
In such situations I try to arrange it that the GK can pick the ball up in a way that meets the spirit of the law.

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Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

HI Lee
no one can fault an aggressive striker from pursuing a ball trying to score but they MUST be aware that once a keeper has ball possession it is illegal to challenge and even if at high speed they must try to pull out and jump over or away as best they can . I take a dim view of a foot first slide into a keeper trying to push the ball through or under him as the stiff leg and cleats pose danger even if the ball was struck clean with no finger broken the collision is still likely to be severe. There is a difference in a striker with the ball and the keeper initiates the collision to take it away from his feet then a striker in pursuit of a ball where the keeper has equal opportunity and the striker decides to aggressively intimidate going in feet first as a slide as there is no way to avoid contact if the keeper gets possession. As you use the term trip over him I see that as no foul by the keeper as he had the ball and the red player should try to hop over a best he can with slight contact regarded as trifling. Keepers are aware by tossing themselves into the feet of onrushing players they will get the odd impact as the opponents are too close or fast to avoid him completely but as in any action the safety aspect is something to consider.

Just advise red player to hop or jump over & try to avoid contact once the keeper has ball possession then award an INDFK rather then the drop ball as SAFETY is number one and that in all it sells it better than a drop ball. An INDFK out s not really a bad thing for the attackers as a simple lesson because they did not have ball possession anyways. No reason to caution.

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Answer provided by Referee Peter Grove

Hi Lee,
Although it is difficult to judge without actually seeing the incident in question, it sounds to me that you got the assessment of the actual contact about right. I agree with ref Dawson that forwards often have a tendency to go in over-aggressively on keepers and I would say there has actually been an increase in this over recent years in professional games with an increasing tendency for commentators and pundits to claim that the forward is 'entitled to go for the ball' in such situations. I tend to disagree and feel that in many cases the forward is displaying at the least, careless behaviour - defined in law as ''when a player shows a lack of attention or consideration when making a challenge or acts without precaution.''

However in the scenario you describe it does not seem (as you point out) that the forward had much chance to avoid the collision so I think you are right to see this as no more than an unfortunate 'coming together.'

As to the restart, if you are going with a 'no offence' call, I think a dropped ball directly to the keeper is OK here. While the laws do say that the referee ''cannot decide who may contest a dropped ball or its outcome,'' I think that means more along the lines of giving clear instructions to various players that they must (or must not) take part and/or what to do with the ball after you drop it. If you simply choose to drop the ball in such a way that the keeper is more or less guaranteed to get the ball, I think the 'spirit of the game' has been served in this instance, especially in a youth setting where as you also say, you are more likely to stop the game on seeing a potential injury situation. Alternatively, you could decide that maybe the forward was just a teeny bit careless after all and award a free kick to the keeper's team, a decision that I don't think would raise any eyebrows in a situation where a forward has run into a goalkeeper.

In terms of cautioning the red player, that would be an option but only if you are convinced that the ''player act[ed] with disregard to the danger to, or consequences for, an opponent.'' Based on your description I'm not convinced this was the case.

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