With changes in law like “Ball can be kicked in any direction at kick-off”, “Offside FK always taken where offence occurs (even in own half)”, and “Foul off the field penalized with a direct free kick on boundary line”, it’s no wonder why most referees were excited to watch the UEFA European Championships this year, and to get a first hand look at the new laws being applied. The most anticipated of these changes is the new DOGSO part of Law 12 in that the “triple punishment” has been removed and some DOGSO offences inside the penalty area are now punished with a Caution (yellow card). However, as exciting as the 2016 Euro’s were, I was personally a little disappointed in that there weren’t very much match incidents, or at least controversial incidents to really talk about. On one hand, I applaud the officials at this years tournament for the exemplary job they did at managing and controlling each match. On the other hand, by the end of the month-long event, the referee community still didn’t have much examples of the new laws in action. That is until now…
Final group stage match between Germany and Fiji finally saw the new DOGSO law in effect. I’ve been waiting for something like this to happen and my prayers were finally answered. (Note – if a new DOGSO happened in any previous matches, I am currently not aware as I haven’t seen ALL the soccer matches at Rio 2016 so, I apologize if another example of this has already come to pass.)
As Germany take a wicked shot form about 35 yards out, Fiji’s goal keeper unsuccessfully tries to scoop up the ball, which then bounces to a German striker. The striker gains possession of the ball near the penalty mark and is headed for goal when the Fiji keeper makes a genuine attempt to play the ball. Unsuccessful, the keeper ends up tripping the German attacker, thus denying him an obvious goal scoring opportunity.
The referee blows the whistle and points to the penalty spot. Previously we would all expect the referee to reach for his “back pocket” and see red. Not this time! The referee goes shirt pocket and pulls out a yellow card.
For those of you who are not yet abreast of the new LOTG changes (some associations will not be adopting the new laws until their 2017 season – ex. Canada and USA), here is what the new law says:
“Denying a goal or an obvious goal-scoring opportunity:
Where a player denies the opposing team a goal or an obvious goal scoring opportunity by a deliberate handball offence the player is sent off wherever the offence occurs.
Where a player commits an offence against an opponent within their own penalty area which denies an opponent an obvious goal-scoring opportunity and the referee awards a penalty kick, the offending player is cautioned unless:
- The offence is holding, pulling or pushing, or
- The offending player does not attempt to play the ball or there is no possibility for the player making the challenge to play the ball, or
- The offence in one which is punishable by a red card wherever it occurs on the field of play (eg. serious foul play, violent conduct, etc.)
In all the above circumstances, the player is sent off.” (IFAB LOTG 2016/17, pg. 87)
Since the Fiji goalkeeper made a genuine attempt to play the ball, the goalkeeper was cautioned and a penalty kick was awarded. If this exact same offence occurred outside the penalty area, the same old rules apply and the goal keeper would be sent off for DOGSO since a direct free kick would be awarded, and the defending team would be allowed to set up a wall.
Finally, a clip to add to the education vault for the new LOTG!
For those who wish to learn more about the new DOGSO change, and for an in depth explanation of the new law, please check out this video:
PGMO Conference 2016 Workshop – DOGSO