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Question Number: 33037

Law 12 - Fouls and Misconduct 2/3/2019

RE: Rec College

Bob Smith of Rickmansworth, Herts UK asks...


Could you tell me which fouls are subject to the careless, reckless and excessive force criteria and which are simply did it happen or not?


Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Bob
If you look at Law 12 you will see the seven offences that are listed as assessed by the referee that can be committed in a manner considered to be careless, reckless or using excessive force. These are
# charges
# jumps at
# kicks or attempts to kick
# pushes
# strikes or attempts to strike (including head-butt)
# tackles or challenges
# trips or attempts to trip
The other direct free kick offences are holding, handling, spitting which are matters that do not have to be considered as careless etc. Different standards apply to deliberate handling.
As to whether an offence happens or not that is a judgement call by the referee. Some offences could be trifling or doubtful which do not need to be called. For instance a player raises his hand which appears to push an opponent. The action has no effect whatsoever on the opponent so the referee can consider that trifling with no call made. It might not even be a push which makes it doubtful. If I had a pound for every time I heard *In the back Ref* I would have a tidy sum of money. Many times there is no push just players coming together in a challenge for the ball.

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Answer provided by Referee Peter Grove

Hi Bob,
Ref McHugh has listed the 7 actions that according to law 12 are considered as offences if they are committed ''in a manner considered by the referee to be careless, reckless or using excessive force.'' He then lists those that are not subject to those criteria, however I would say that it's only for spitting, that it is simply a matter of whether it happened or not. Handling offences are assessed according to a wholly different standard (whether the action was deliberate or not).

When it comes to holding, my opinion is that not every single incident of holding need necessarily be penalised - the offense must rise above the level considered as trifling by the referee - and to a certain extent, the players, since their tolerance level can condition the referee's judgements of which offences really need to be called, within the 'spirit of the game.' For instance a lot more holding goes on - and is tolerated by players and referees alike, in top-level professional games than in less competitive environments. I personally think that too much holding is tolerated at the higher levels and that it should be called more often but the fact remains that it is not.

There are two other laws that mention potential offences subject to the CRUEF criteria, laws 13 and 15 wherein it is mentioned that if a player takes a free kick or throw-in correctly and directs the ball at an opponent, this is not an offence unless it is done ''in a careless or reckless manner or using excessive force.''

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