When you start learning the ropes of refereeing, and you take the entry level clinic, one of the first things you learn is that about 90% of refereeing is directly related to Law 12 – Fouls and Misconduct. We all learn that there are 7 cautionable offences (yellow card) and 7 send-off offences (red card). But, what most instructors fail to also mention is that those 7cautionable and 7 send-off offences do not necessarily have to be committed against an opponent. Any of those 7 deadly sins in football, if committed toward anybody, gives a one way ticket straight to the showers and early ride home. Yes, even if it committed against the referee, any team official, a spectator, and even if committed against your own team-mate.
When I first heard about this, I thought to myself “why on earth would two team-mates fight with, and punch each other? That would never happen”. Boy was I wrong, because it happens more often than you think. Just recently in an MLS match between Dallas and Seattle, Dallas team-mates Jackson and Ferreira had a slap fest after the half time whistle was blown.[youtube:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jzlYSjFahS4%5D
(go to 3:19)
What did the referee do? Nothing! He could have given both players a red card for violent conduct, and it wouldn’t have been the first time this has happened in soccer. Don’t believe me??? Here’s another incident that happened a few years ago in the EPL where 2 New Castle players decided to go at it during play. Thankfully, the referee did his job properly and dismissed both players for VC.[youtube:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w8DXjEyizyg%5D
Law 12 states:
“A player who commits a cautionable or sending-off offence, either on or off the field of play, whether directed towards an opponent, a team-mate, the referee, an assistant referee or any other person, is disciplined according to the nature of the offence committed.” (pg. 34)
The LOTG take this one step further in their Interpretations and Guidelines (pg. 119):
“A player is guilty of violent conduct if he uses excessive force or brutality against an opponent when not challenging for the ball. He is also guilty of violent conduct if he uses excessive force or brutality against a team-mate, spectator, match official or any other person.
Violent conduct may occur either on the field of play or outside its boundaries, whether the ball is in play or not.
A player, substitute or substituted player who is guilty of violent conduct must be sent off.”
It is in my opinion that the referee in the MLS match between Dallas and Seattle had absolutely no choice but to dismiss both players for Violent Conduct and shown them both a red card. Yes, Dallas would have had to play the remainder of the game 2 players short, but the LOTG are the LOTG and we don’t get to pick and choose which laws we want to follow.
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The Third Blind Mouse