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: 32062

Law 12 - Fouls and Misconduct 11/27/2017

RE: select Under 14

robert of vancouver , BC Canada asks...

One player has the ball. Another player runs from the side towards the player with the ball and simply kicks the ball as hard as he can. Not like a block tackle. Almost like he is taking a free kick with foot fully back and complete follow through. The first point of contact is the ball, but the other player seemed to place as much force as he could. Would this ever be considered a foul.

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Robert
I see this quite a bit now at Underage. Once the reckless follow through makes contact with the opponent it is certainly a foul and most likely a caution if not a red card. As we have said many times on the site playing the ball first is not a free pass at kicking an opponent.
The reason that it is a foul is that the Laws clearly state that to tackle in a careless or reckless manner is a foul. To quote the relevant section of Law 12
** A direct free kick is awarded if a player commits any of the following (7) offences against an opponent in a manner considered by the referee to be careless, reckless or using excessive force:
... tackles or challenges...*
So then we hear *But ref I got the ball* *Ref he played the ball*. That is a complete misunderstanding of the Laws. Kicking a player heavily in a challenge is reckless and a caution. Now what can and does happen is that the player does not make contact and it is let slide as a strong challenge. I make a judgement call on the challenge, contact or not and if I do not like the manner of it I call the foul and speak with the player.
Here is an example of a correct decision
I was an AR in a game earlier in the season and a player who I know that has a habit of this type of follow through challenge went in on an opponent in this manner (in the other half away from me). The referee correctly called the foul yet he should have in my opinion cautioned him. Anyway a short while later he went in again in a similar manner and hurt himself and he had to be taken off after the caution. I told the CR at half time that in some ways that had the player not have gone off hurt he would have ended up being sent off. I felt the first challenge should have been dealt with by a caution and put an end to this or at least lessen it happening with the possibility of a red card.
Now we should not confuse this type of tackle with a coming together after the tackle. Many good and legitimate tackles end up with incidental contact afterwards. That is part of the game.

Read other questions answered by Referee Joe McHugh

View Referee Joe McHugh profile

Answer provided by Referee Peter Grove

Hi Robert,
If a player makes a challenge on an opponent who has the ball at their feet and follows through in the way you describe, that sounds like it could easily be judged by a referee to be at a minimum, careless even if there is no contact so yes, it could very possibly be considered a foul.

If there is any contact, this could probably be seen as reckless (caution) and might even constitute the use of excessive force (sending-off).

On the other hand even a fairly forceful kick, if directed squarely at the ball and done carefully to avoid contact, could be allowable. It's the 'complete follow through' with an opponent in close proximity that worries me though, I find it a little difficult to reconcile that with a careful challenge.

Read other questions answered by Referee Peter Grove

View Referee Peter Grove profile

Ask a Follow Up Question to Q# 32062
Read other Q & A regarding Law 12 - Fouls and Misconduct

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.