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Question Number: 32063

Law 12 - Fouls and Misconduct 11/28/2017

RE: Pro Adult

Hussain of kuwait, kuwait kuwait asks...

This question is a follow up to question 32059

Thanks for answering guys but let me elaborate more
The ball was not a 'dead ball' it was in play
the situation was that one player from team A crossed the ball inside the penalty area
the opposition player raised his hand like he was going to reach the ball and hit it with his hands just as it came near his hand he moved his hand and it didn't touch the hand
while another player from team A who was going to head the ball didn't jump seeing that the other guy was going to block the ball with his hand

Isn't that Unsportsmanlike conduct?
its like shouting 'leave it' to an opposition player who was going to kick the ball and left it for you ... IMO anyway

but you are the Refs
so what you think ?

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Hussain
From time to time the game throws up the odd outlier events. I think that in active play the referee is going to have an extremely difficult time deciding intent of a raised arm towards the ball as USB in which case no action would be taken. To do so requires a caution which is the test of the offence. Sure the player can argue that he was raising his arms for leverage which they do or that he was showing no possible push or he was going to handle the ball but changed his mind pulling his hand away at the last moment having thought better of it. None of these actions are offences punished by a caution.
There are only three attempts to do something that is penalised under the Laws which are an attempt to kick, an attempt to trip or an attempt to strike. Attempt to handle the ball is not an offence.
If the player raises his arm towards a player with the intent of making contact with the player then that is a different matter and the referee can take action there under playing in a dangerous manner or an attempt to strike. That is a long way though from an attempt to handle that is not followed through with.
In the video that I showed had the German defender dropped his arms at the last moment would an offence be called because he surprised or confused any attackers behind him? I cannot see any referee cautioning for that or similar actions.

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Answer provided by Referee Jason Wright

Hi Hussain,

There are a lot of things that happen in the game that aren't clear in the laws. The laws can't possibly cover every situation.
Attempting to - or pretending to - handle the ball isn't an offence as listed in the laws.
However, the yellow card offence of 'Unsporting Behaviour' is deliberately vague and it allows referees to caution players for things that are severely against the spirit of the game (yellow cards for bad tackles fall under this category).
Because of this, some referees might say that 'baulking' a player - that is, the deliberate distraction of waving the hands in front of the ball then pulling them away at the last moment - is unsporting, and might issue a yellow card to that player and restart play with an Indirect Free Kick to the opposing team.
Because the laws are not clear on this, it is really up to the referee - whether the referee takes no action, or whether he cautions the player is really up to the individual referee. And perhaps it depends on the situation.
Sorry this one isn't a clear, 'black and white' answer!!

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Answer provided by Referee Peter Grove

Hi Hussain,
For me, the answers already given to your previous question are still correct. If player did not handle the ball, there is no offence. As far I'm concerned you can't penalise a player for something they didn't do, on the basis that an opponent might misconstrue what was going to happen (but didn't). Also for the most part (though with a couple of notable exceptions) the referee is not expected to judge what a player intended to do, only what they actually did. Your argument that this is unsporting behaviour assumes an intent by the player which in turn relies on a belief in their ability to predict what an opponent who is standing behind them, is going to do. For me at least, that requires way too many assumptions by the referee.

I believe a referee in this situation should decide based on what they saw (which is a non-offence) and that divining USB from a player who looked like he was going to handle the ball but didn't, is a bit too much of a stretch for me.

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