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Foul Recognition & Dealing with Misconduct For Experienced Officials Spring 2005 James Keast Instructor and Deputy Chief Assessor

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Foul Recognition & Dealing with Misconduct

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foul recognition dealing with misconduct

Foul Recognition& Dealing with Misconduct

For Experienced Officials

Spring 2005

James Keast

Instructor and Deputy Chief Assessor

Note: Some materials including graphics excerpted from USSF Instructional Materials; used with permission of Alfred Kleinaitis Manager of Referee Development for the USSF. Contributions of the USSF Education Team acknowledged and appreciated.

in order to have a foul
In order to have a foul?
  • Ball needs to be in play
  • Offence must be against an opponent*
  • Offence must happen on the field of play
  • *except for deliberate handling….
what makes it a foul
What makes it a foul?
  • Careless
  • Reckless
  • Excessive Force
    • “considered by the referee”
review law 12 penal fouls
Review Law 12 – Penal Fouls

In a manner considered by the referee to be careless, reckless or using excessive force:

  • kicks or attempts to kick an opponent
  • trips or attempts to trip an opponent
  • jumps at an opponent
  • charges an opponent
  • strikes or attempts to strike an opponent
more penal fouls
More Penal Fouls
  • tackles an opponent to gain possession of the ball, making contact with the opponent before touching the ball
  • holds an opponent
  • spits at an opponent
  • handles the ball deliberately (except the goalkeeper within his own penalty area)
technical offences goalkeepers
Technical Offences - Goalkeepers
  • Takes more than six seconds while controlling the ball with hands before releasing it
  • Touches the ball again with his hands after it has been released from his possession and has not touch any other player
  • Touches the ball with his hands after it has been deliberately played to him by a teammate
  • Touches the ball with his hands after he has received it directly from a throw-in take by a teammate
technical offences
Technical Offences
  • Plays in a dangerous manner
  • Impedes the progress of an opponent
  • Prevents the goalkeeper from releasing the ball from his hands
  • Commits any other offence, not previously mentioned and for which play is stopped to caution or dismiss a player
  • What is Impeding?
  • What are the considerations in determining if the ball is being legally shielded?
  • What is “playing distance”?
  • Can a player be charged from behind who impedes?
  • When does impeding become holding?
trifling offences
Trifling Offences
  • IFAB Decision to Law V used to read:
    • “ is the duty of the referee to penalize only deliberate breaches of the Law. Constant whistling for trifling and doubtful breaches produces bad feeling and loss of temper on the part of the players and spoils the pleasure of the spectators.”
    • This wording has been removed but theguidance remains; good referees will avoid stopping play for trifling offences
    • In these instances do not apply advantage, simply don’t make the call you may say:
      • “play on” or “nothing there” or something similar just do not indicate or say “advantage”
  • Law 5 says:
    • “the Referee allows play to continue when the team against which the offence was committed will benefit from such an advantage”
  • How long do we wait for advantage?
  • What if it doesn’t happen?
  • What about related misconduct?
  • How is it communicated?
    • “Play On, Advantage!” or just “Advantage” with related arm signals
unrealized advantage
Unrealized Advantage
  • The Referee should wait 3-5 seconds for the advantage to be completely realized
  • If the anticipated advantage doesn’t happen the Referee should stop the play and award the free kick for the original foul
    • Note: the advantage might be a shot on goal (not the goal itself)
    • Or the ability to pass to teammate (not the completion of the pass)
advantage and misconduct
Advantage and Misconduct
  • If advantage is applied when there was both a foul and also misconduct the Referee must deal with the misconduct at the next stoppage
    • Rarely allow advantage where the misconduct is worthy of a send-off
      • Especially if the send-off is for Violent Conduct
7 cautionable offenses

A player is cautioned and shown the yellow card if s/he commits any of the following seven offenses:

  • is guilty of unsporting behavior
  • shows dissent by word or action
  • persistently infringes the Laws of the Game
  • delays the restart of play
7 cautionable offenses15

A player is cautioned and shown the yellow card if s/he commits any of the following seven offenses:

  • fails to respect the required distance when play is restarted with a corner kick or free kick
  • enters or re-enters the field without the referee’s permission
  • deliberately leaves the field without the referee’s permission
examples of unsporting behavior
Examples of Unsporting Behavior
  • Commits a penal foul in a reckless manner
  • Commits a penal foul while tackling for the ball from behind (2005: “side or front”)
  • Commits a tactical foul designed to interfere with or impede an opposing team’s attacking play
  • Commits an act deemed by the referee as bringing the game into disrepute (e.g. aggressive attitude, inflammatory behavior, or taunting, removes shirt)
examples of unsporting behavior17
Examples of Unsporting Behavior
  • Pushes or holds (including holding the opponent’s uniform) to interfere with that opponent’s attacking play
  • Handles the ball deliberately to interfere with an opponent’s attacking play
  • Handles the ball deliberately to score a goal
  • Fakes an injury or exaggerates the seriousness of an injury
examples of unsporting behavior18
Examples of Unsporting Behavior
  • Fakes a foul (dives) or exaggerates the severity of a foul
  • Interferes with or prevents the goalkeeper from releasing the ball from his/her hands into play
  • Unfairly distracts or impedes an opponent performing a throw-in;
examples of unsporting behavior19
Examples of Unsporting Behavior
  • Verbally distracts an opponent during play or at a restart
  • If identified as the kicker, engages in unfair deception while taking a penalty kick
  • Changes jerseys with the goalkeeper during play or without the referee’s permission;
    • this is a mandatory caution for both players
examples of unsporting behavior20
Examples of Unsporting Behavior
  • Engages in trickery to circumvent the goalkeeper’s limitation on handling a ball played from a teammate’s foot (the defender who initiates the “trickery” is cautioned and the decision does not require that the goalkeeper actually handles the ball);
    • this is a mandatory caution whether it occurs during dynamic play or at a restart.
show dissent by word or action
Show Dissent by Word or Action
  • Verbally or through action disputes or shows contempt for an official’s decision
  • If playing as the goalkeeper, leaves the penalty area (not beckoned by the referee) to engage an official in debate regarding a decision
managing dissent
Managing Dissent
  • If you ignore dissent, game control will be impacted
  • You must deal with all instances of dissent
  • Immediate complaint about a call or non-call is not really dissent, let the players express their opinion – briefly
  • If it persists or is repetitive you must take action
options in dealing with dissent
Options in Dealing with Dissent
  • Talk to the player quickly in passing
  • At a stoppage, take time to talk to the player where everyone can see
  • Warn
  • Caution
caution right away
Caution Right Away….
  • Particularly loud dissent from players not involved in play or far away – for example the goalkeeper
  • Visible signs of dissent
  • Anything that directly impacts your authority
persistently infringes the laws of the game
Persistently Infringes the Laws of the Game
  • Repeatedly commits fouls or participates in a pattern of fouls directed at an opponent
  • Fails to start or restart play properly or promptly, having previously been warned
  • If playing as goalkeeper, wastes time, having previously been warned or penalized for this behavior
what is a pattern of fouls
What is a “Pattern of Fouls”
  • Players take turns “getting the same opponent” – often the star player
  • Players take turns fouling every attacker who advances
  • This is persistent infringement of the Laws – at the very least it is unsporting
delays the restart of play
Delays the Restart of Play
  • Kicks or throws the ball away or holds the ball to prevent a free kick, throw-in or corner kick restart by an opponent
  • Fails to restart play after being so instructed by the referee
  • Fails to return to the field upon conclusion of the mid-game break, fails to perform a kick-off when signaled by the referee, or fails to be in a correct position for a kick-off
  • Excessively celebrates a goal
  • Takes the ball after a goal…
when to caution for delay or encroachment
When to caution for delay or encroachment?
  • Players who step in front of a free kick just before the ball is played
  • Defenders who play the ball within 10 yards on a free kick
  • Players who kick the ball away after the whistle, especially when time is critical
  • Players who try and delay the kick-off after a goal by holding the ball
  • Any delays which impact game control
7 send off offenses

A player is sent-off and shown the red card if s/he commits any of the following seven offenses:

  • is guilty of serious foul play
  • is guilty of violent conduct
  • spits at an opponent or any other person
7 send off offenses30

A player is sent-off and shown the red card if s/he commits any of the following seven offenses:

  • denies the opposing team a goal or an obvious goal-scoring opportunity by deliberately handling the ball (this does not apply to the goalkeeper within his/her own penalty area)
  • denies obvious goal scoring opportunity to an opponent moving towards the player’s goal by an offense punishable by a free kick or a penalty kick
7 send off offenses31

A player is sent-off and shown the red card if s/he commits any of the following seven offenses:

  • uses offensive, insulting or abusive language and/or gestures
  • receives a second caution in the same match
recognizing challenges
Recognizing Challenges
  • Not only must the Referee recognize fouls for fouls but he must also consider if there has been serious misconduct
when is a foul misconduct
Where was contact made:




High on the body

From where did tackle come?




Where was the ball?

Had not arrived (early tackle)

As the ball arrives (well timed tackle)

After the ball had left (late tackle)

How serve was the contact:


Excessive force


Was this Serious Foul Play?

Intention of Players:




When is a foul misconduct?
evaluation by the referee
Evaluation By the Referee
  • The referee must observe and consider if the foul is more than just a foul
  • We must correctly punish Serious Foul Play:
    • A tackle from behind, which endangers the safety of an opponent, must be sanctioned as serious foul play
    • NEW 2005: tackles from the front and side too!
intimidation and retaliation
Intimidation and Retaliation
  • We must recognize control acts of Intimidation and Taunting
    • Minimally with a warning but likely with a caution for unsporting behaviour
  • We must deal with Retaliation
    • Minimally with a caution but likely with a send off for violent conduct or serious foul play
  • Clear attempts to injure must result in the player being sent off
  • Failing to deal with these events will destroy match control


The following examples come from Instructional Materials Prepared by the United States Soccer Federation

Used with Permission from Alfred Kleinaitis (USSF, Director of Education and Development)

review of what makes a foul misconduct
Review of What Makes a Foul Misconduct
  • Point of contact
  • Direction where contact came from
  • Timing of contact
  • Severity of contact
  • Intent of contact
  • Result of contact
  • What is Gamesmanship?
    • “The art or practice of using tactical maneuvers to further one's aims or better one's position”.
  • Is Gamesmanship within the Laws of the Game?
    • Yes and no, gamesmanship can be both legal and illegal
examples of gamesmanship
Comments from coaches and players before the game:

“Last week’s referee was horrible, we’re glad to see you” or

“Watch #5 on their team he’s always plays dirty”

From the Players During the Game:


Delay of restart and other time wasting by goalkeeper, players and coaches

Players taking dives or faking

Encroachment on free kicks

Intimidation of opponents or match officials

Flattery of the Referee

Examples of Gamesmanship
dealing with gamesmanship
Dealing with Gamesmanship
  • The Referee must always recognize Gamesmanship and deal with it appropriately
    • Ignoring gamesmanship will impact game control
    • Comments before the game are generally harmless so long as you are aware of what is going on
    • All gamesmanship during the game must be managed by the Referee
  • The higher the level of play the more difficult it is to recognize gamesmanship
  • We must be aware
evaluating gamesmanship
Evaluating Gamesmanship
  • For each event:
    • Were the Laws of The Game Infringed?
    • Was the Spirit of the Game Infringed?
  • Action by the Referee:
    • Warnings to the players or coaches involved
    • Cautions for Unsporting Behaviour
    • In some cases no visible actions, the Referee may choose to do nothing – and so long as he has not allowed the gamesmanship to impact his decisions this might be okay