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Question Number: 32153

Law 12 - Fouls and Misconduct 1/8/2018

RE: Adult

Douglas Wix of Liverpool, Merseyside United Kingdom asks...

This question is a follow up to question 32151

Thank you for your detailed & informative reply. I see the sense in the back pass issue but with Holgate incident feel that it should be a 3 match ban or other for imo violent conduct & Madley was not strong enough here-for which many fans agree. Thank you again for response.

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Douglas
Always matters of opinion. It is somewhat easy for us making calls from the comfort of watching it. Different matter in a competitive derby game. I reiterate that the alleged accusation by Holgate on what was said to him may have influenced the referee into not taking action at the time on both players. What was said was in Portuguese so Referee Madley could not be sure. Instead he chose to take no sanction against either player and to allow the FA to deal with it. One could not say that match control was compromised by the referees decision in this situation which is the ultimate opinion.
Also I would not have bothered either continuing to intervene between the players. I have watched recent referee interventions in the SPL by referees that could easily have resulted in a referee getting hit even accidentally.

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Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

HI Douglas,
we can only speculate or theorize a CRs responses to certain situations. We are aware that there is enormous expectations on referees to get certain things right but no one likes to send off players unless they can not avoid to. Money, politics and egos drive the elite divisions. Pressure from Fans and how fragile a career in this atmosphere can be lifted or crushed by an accident or a poorly thought out decision. As I mentioned I see shoving along the touchlines all the time. There was little doubt the shove was one that was unnecessary, late, outside the FOP and deserved at minimum a caution for USB if not a direct red for VC. Whatever decisions the FA take it still would be interesting to hear why the officials during the match seemed to take no action at all? Particularly why the referee DID intervene quickly as if he KNEW what occurred? It reminds me a little of defenders getting a knock in at attackers who get away a shot at goal and yet receive no sanctions as if a punishment to secure the shot or in this case a throw in is part of the equation.
I feel a bit different than my colleague I think a LOUD strong whistle, a quick yellow card and intervention possibly solve this without the retaliatory actions escalating the need to send both off.

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Answer provided by Referee Peter Grove

Hi Douglas,
Just going back to the 'back pass' issue, I think it can often be instructive to go back and look at how and why a particular law change was brought in, to get a better feel for the intent behind the law which can then (in my opinion) sometimes lead us to a better understanding of the 'spirit of the game' in relation to the issue in question.

The law prohibiting a goalkeeper from using the hands when the ball is deliberately kicked to them by a team mate was brought in to prevent the chronic time-wasting that had become common in the late eighties and early nineties. The situation it was designed to combat was reflected in the 1990 FIFA Q&A which talks about the scenario which was all too prevalent at the time, in the following words:

''A goalkeeper kicks the ball to a player of his team. This player passes the ball back to the
goalkeeper, who then returns it once more, either to the same player or another. This action is
repeated several times. Should this conduct be regarded as time−wasting ...''

Although the description does not make it clear, the way this worked was that the goalkeeper would always pick the ball up (so the opponent had no chance of challenging for possession) before returning it to another defender and repeating the same sequence over and over to waste time, since the law allowed the keeper to use the hands whenever the ball was in the penalty area, no matter how it got there.

Although the Q&A response at the time said that this could be penalised by the award of an IFK or not, based on the opinion of the referee, by 1992 (and following an experiment in a FIFA U17 tournament in Italy in 1991) the so-called 'back pass rule' was adopted since, in the words of the IFAB, it had proved to be ''a very successful measure against time wasting.''

Based on the wording used both in the Q&A and in the IFAB meeting, it seems clear to me that the intent of the law was to prevent a specific type of time wasting. It was not intended to be a prohibition on a goalkeeper fulfilling what I think is the main reason why goalkeepers exist in the first place, which is to be able to use their hands to prevent a goal being scored against their team.

So for me, penalising a keeper for using the hands when the ball, although deliberately kicked, has ended up being unintentionally directed towards the defender's own goal, does not accord with the intent of the law, even though the keeper's actions could indeed be judged as against the letter of the law as it stands.

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