Shirt Grabbing - legal or not?

Discussion in 'Referee' started by El_Diamante_Negro, Nov 12, 2002.

  1. El_Diamante_Negro

    El_Diamante_Negro New Member

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    I just wanted to know if grabbing your opponents shirt was legal or not. i see it happen all the time, but it is rarely called. At what point does it become a foul? Also, isn't grabbing a shirt considered "intentional?"


  2. Blitzkrieg16

    Blitzkrieg16 New Member

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    Yes, according to the laws of the game that is considered holding, but most times especially in the upper levels a ************ pull is trifling, thus not called. The line between trifling and foul is crossed when players start getting dispossesed due to the shirt pull, or gain a tacktical advantage against their opponent.

    Hope this Helps,
    B
  3. MPJ334

    MPJ334 New Member

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    that's the reason i give the wonderful (rolls eyes) kids to keep their shirts tucked in. i allow jersey in someone hands; it's marking to keep a nice distance. when someone holds, the shirt comes out like a warning flag. then the whistle
  4. Preston McMurry

    Preston McMurry New Member

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    Not if you are the player committing the foul, or the coach of the player committing the foul, or a supporter of either. If you fit into any of those categories, then it only becomes intentional when, in addition to the shirt, the player pulls out a fist full of flesh. Then it is a drop ball.


  5. Jeff L

    Jeff L Member

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    Yes; it is illegal and comes within the realms of "unsporting behaviour" and subject to a caution.
    (Yellow card).
    It has been a FIFA and UEFA directive that a yellow card should be shown in all cases of "deliberate and intentional" shirt pulling in an attempt (yet another one) to try and "clean up the game" with World Cup 2002 supposedly being the "showcase" for this behaviour to be irradicated by "strong refereeing".
    You make up your own mind whether this has/was acheived or not.
  6. hermsoccergrl

    hermsoccergrl New Member

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    I think that shirt grabbing is illegal. So is hair grabbing. But most refs don't call either one. Oh well, I used to line games and I was the worst one anyway so I can't talk about bad refs..
  7. Greyhnd00

    Greyhnd00 New Member

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    Hair grabbing!!!! You must play in Northern Virginia!
  8. MPJ334

    MPJ334 New Member

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    it's certainly not in alabama
  9. flanoverseas

    flanoverseas New Member

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    need more refs like you.

    Shirt pulling is a stain on the game.
  10. Keith

    Keith New Member

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    odd man out

    Wrong. Shirt grabbing is NOT a foul. First it's not described in the laws of the game. "Holding" is defined as a foul. If the shirt grabbing is defined as holding, then it's a foul.

    If a player grabs a shirt to hold the player, but the player manages to pulls away, this is not a foul. . . "attempting" to hold is not a foul. Most of the time, this is what happens if the referee is patient. It the offended player intentionally stops motion on his own accord because of the shirt grab, this is not a foul, but the fate of the player.

    Shirt grabbing is "gamesmanship." Not all gamesmanship is evil or illegal. It's sometimes tactical. Players will often grab and arm, stick an arm or elbow out to slow a player. Again. . if it's holding. . it's a foul, if not, it's nothing. Can it be misconduct? Possibly in the mind of an officious referee, but in today's game it is becoming more and more part of the tactics of play, and is generally accepted by the players as an attempt to foul, an attempt to distract. Only the former is a foul, the later may be considered tactical. Watch any high level game and you see it all the time, and you don't see it called until the tactic has a illegal and negative affect.

    Don't define your fouls by defined actions or criteria such as "grabbing a shirt." Define your fouls by the fairness and negative consequences of the act.

    P.S. Tucking shirt in has NOTHING to do with shirt grabbing. An untucked shirt is NOT a sign of a shirt grab, and if you use this you're doing the game a disservice.
  11. pkCrouse

    pkCrouse New Member

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    Re: odd man out

    Although I understand your point and generally agree that we should watch for the effect (holding) rather than the method (shirt pulling), I think you may have implied more than you intended with the way you worded this. If a player pulls his opponent's shirt to the extent that it alters his ability to play the ball, but the opponent is ultimately able to pull free, that is not necessarily the end of the issue. The player may have delayed his opponent long enough to alter the tactical situation. It then may become a question of advantage. However, just because the incident ends with the opponent breaking free rather than being stopped dead in his tracks, that does not necessarily mean there was not a holding foul. Of course we also have the separate issue of misconduct if the shirt pull is blantant, regardless of it's effect on the opponent. As I said, I think we probably agree that this was your sentiment.
  12. Attacking Minded

    Attacking Minded New Member

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    Please enforce the LOTG

    Keith said, “Wrong.”
    I don’t know which bugs me more. Ref’s that get the laws wrong or those that act so superior about it when they have their own spin on things.

    So if a foul is unintentional then it’s not a foul but if it is intentional then it is just a tactical foul. Therefore, fouls either tactical or accidental are not fouls? Fouls are only committed when they are intentional and have an effect but are not tactical? So intentional fouls that have no effect should be ignored? Unintentional fouls should be ignored? You think you know the difference between intentional and not?

    Keith, ref’s like you get played all the time. You think you know what you are doing but you do not. I hate playing or watching games when ref’s like you are “in charge.”

    A tactical fouls is a . . . .foul. If a player tugs a shirt that should get a verbal warning from you the first time, as long as advantage applies. If advantage doesn’t apply then it’s a foul. The second time it happens, it’s persistent infringement, which gets a yellow. The third time it happens it should get a second yellow.

    We players and coaches pay you to ref the game according to the LOTG. Stop being such a wuss about it and do it.

    If it’s a foul, tell the player. If he does it again, show him a yellow. Those are the laws.
  13. Alberto

    Alberto Moderator Staff Member

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    Re: Re: odd man out

    Agreed it comes down to advantage. If the offensive player does not realize an advantage. Blow the whistle and signal the foul. Particularly as PK noted it results in a tactical advantage for the defense.

    We should also be aware of the various edicts, memorandums and articles FIFA has posted on the issue of shirt pulling and holding over the past two years including the recent world cup in Korea/Japan. It is a very serious issue at the international level.
  14. Alberto

    Alberto Moderator Staff Member

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    Re: Please enforce the LOTG

    Regardless of the players intentions. If he gains an advantage by accidentally tripping an opponent it's a foul or the referee can apply advantage if the player keeps his feet and the offending team does not gain a tactical advantage from the play.

    I will say that a second foul will probably not result in persistent infringement unless it is clearly a second tactical foul. Depending on the situation it would probably be the third foul, that would result in persistent infringement. Remeber it's not specific to one player. If the defensive team is constantly bring players down at the top of the penalty area, or targeting one specific player, the next guy to foul would be cautioned for PI.
  15. whipple

    whipple New Member

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    Re: Re: Re: odd man out

    Alberto,

    Even before shirt grabbing reaches the level of advantage, it mus still pass through the criteria of doubtful or trifling. Remember. as others have stated, a players hand touching an opponents shirt is not a foul (though it might be misconduct if done in an usporting manner) but rather a doubtful offense.

    Like the "Handball" (Not to be confused with the offense of deliberate handling), "Shirtgrabbing" (Not to be confused with the offense of holding) appears to be an obvious breach, because any moron can see it, so parents, coaches, and even oversensitive adolescents who have a phobia about being touched at all, loudly proclaim their ignorance by screaming "shirtpulling, ref! Why don't you call it!"

    What they do not realize is that shirtgrabbing only becomes a foul when it is used to hold an opponent. If no effect, we still do not call the foul, because it is trifling (though we can still go back at the next stoppage and caution the offender).

    It is only when shirt pulling rises above not being an offense at all (doubtful), past being a foul but not having effect (trifling), to having an effect where the referee now must make a call and now we finally get to the issue of advantage. After recognizing that a foul has indeed occurred and there has been an effect on play we must judge whether to whistle to stop and restart play because the offended team has been disadvantaged and the world will not be at peace unitl we intervene, or we can decide that stopping play would be a greater disadvantage to the offended player, so we swing our arms up, annouce loudly "Advantage Play On!" and allow play to continue, observing to see whether the anticipated advange materializes, and if it does not, after 2-3 seconds, reserving the right to stop play anyway, and restarting for the offended player, recognizing that it is a poor second choice but better than doing nothing at all.

    In my experinece, unlike the "Handball" where 95% of the time there is no offense at all, there is a much greater probability that there is a foul when you observe "Shirtpulling". My guress is that about a third of the time we see a hand on an opponents shirt there is an offense (which means that 2/3 of ht time it is nothing), but so often it is of so little consequence and has zero effect so it is trifling and not called at all. Only rarely does the offense rise to a call and then, because shirt pulling is usually a desparate measure, we most often signal APO because it would most often disadvantage the offended team to stop.

    From what I have seen, and this includes my own game as well as how it is handled by other referees, the problems with shirt pulling do not come from how we call the fouls, because I think we do a pretty good job of this (and I suspect that Keith is no exception and problaby does this better than most), but rather, that we drop the ball when dealing with the misconduct. Speaking for myself, I know that there are many times when I allow play to continue after a trfiling shirtpull/hold attempt, or signal APO, and even though I recognize the misconduct and think about cautioning the offender at the next stoppage, I rarely follow through on it, and usually only after a second or third breach assuming my verbal warnings had no effect.

    I see how this might send some mixed messages to players, coaches and spectators. A player migh assume that they are getting away with something and this could encourage more shirtgrabbing. Spectators not only want to see a good game, but they want to see good triumph over evil and justice prevail. Shirtpulling looks bad and screams for justice, even when none is required.

    Of course, as I discoverd recently, shirt pulling can take on a whole new dimension in the adult womens indoor game...


    ... but my favorite uniform grabbing story was from an unaffilated men's summer league. I the final minutes green down someting like five to nothing, a very large green defender dispossesses an orange attacker, who upon being dispossessed, reaches out and grabs the defenders shorts, which remain in his hands as the defender breaks free. In fact, everything breaks free, but no-one challenges the defender.

    Wearing only shirt, shoes, socks and shinguards, the defender proceded to dribble the length of the field, shoots and scores, the ball passing within inches of the keeper, who was at that moment doubled up on the ground laughing too hard to make an effort to make a save.

    In reflecting on this, I realize I was remiss in not going back to caution the orange attacker for the short pull.
  16. pkCrouse

    pkCrouse New Member

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    Re: Re: Re: Re: odd man out

    That is an excellent point, relating not only to shirt pulling but to many other situations where we witness both a foul and misconduct, but decide to apply APO. It is very rare to see the official go back and caution the offender after the play unfolds. We have talked about the mechanics of this in previous threads, but as Whipple says, many of us do not practice what we preach.
  17. kevbrunton

    kevbrunton New Member

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    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: odd man out

    Well, I won't stand up here and say I'm perfect -- I'm sure there's many times I haven't done it. But there's one time that always sticks out in my mind and I've mentioned it a few times as the perfect application of advantage...

    Attacking player with ball dribbling through midfield when tackled from behind hard. Ball deflects to directly to a teammate also surging upfield in a now 1v1 situation. The remaining defender tackles hard, cleats up taking the attacker down. The ball deflects at an angle sideways and right in the path of the next attacker who picks it up and after another touch or two puts it in the back of the net.

    I signal goal and go back and issue 2 red cards.
  18. Keith

    Keith New Member

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    Re: Re: odd man out

    Trying to describe or define a foul is always fraught with misinterpretations, never being able to address every criteria, ever instance, and then there's interepreting meaning and words by the reader. This is why I jumped on this notion that "shirt grabbing is evil." Too broad brush painting of a common tactic we're seeing today. The problem is the referee is not adjusting/adapting to the progression of the game. It's the players the define what is fair and what is not. . . it's not the laws. If we let the literal interpretation of the law or our own personal offense define what is fair and what is foul, we are doing the game a disservice.

    We all react differently when we hear the word "advantage" when not used in the contect of Law 12. We should instead use, "unfair advantage or "disadvantage." But I agree with your point, but we have to be careful to be personally offended by the "tactic" of "attempting to foul" vs. the actual disadvantage of holding or misconduct.

    What I'm trying to say is we need to separate this unusual tactic that we see as unsporting and most players see as tactical to a point, from the reality. We can let our personal affrontation of this get in the way of clearly defining what is fair and what is foul. Remember that over reacting to the shirt grab, could end up violating Law 12's advantage clause in that the "attempt to hold" (not a foul) ends up being a stoppage and restart, which benefits the offending player.
  19. Keith

    Keith New Member

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    Re: Please enforce the LOTG

    You're reacting like the overly officious referee I'm speaking about. You're PERSONALLY offended by the act, rather than reacting to it as a tactical foul. You're probably not seeing enough higher level soccer if you're this quicky offended by this tactic. At this level if we called every shirt grab, or started throwing cards every time we see it, we're going to have some game control problems.

    I said "wrong" because the black & white reaction a player grabbing a shirt as a foul and misconduct is an over reaction to a tactical maneuver. Even basketball players will grab a jersey, and the referee will never call anything until they see a "consequence." Ever see a basketball player get lots of contact, get knocked down, get his hand smacked, yet he still gets off a good shot, and the referee calls nothing. It's because the "intent" to foul is not enough to make the call. This game must "flow" as well, and the referee's duty is to keep it flowing, and not simply stop the game for a foul everytime there is contact.
  20. Keith

    Keith New Member

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    Re: Re: Please enforce the LOTG

    A little off topic, but you bring up a good point. That player that uses "shirt grabbing" to excess, should be stopped and caution for persisting. While some players will over react to a shirt grab due to lack of experience, most "play through it." But a player that persists in grabbing a little shirt or an arm, is like the player that constantly rapping the back of the heels. It's goes to the third "E" in the SEE principle. . . "enjoyment."
  21. pkCrouse

    pkCrouse New Member

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    Re: Re: Re: odd man out

    Actually, I was using the word advantage in the context of Law 12. My point was that the player grabbed the shirt, slowed the opponent's progress and unfairly affected his play of the ball (thereby committing a holding foul), but because of the opponent's tactical situation after the foul we decided to apply APO.

    Yes, that's what I was trying to get at. I had a feeling we agreed. :)
  22. Keith

    Keith New Member

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    Re: Re: Re: Re: odd man out

    Well said! I think you're doing a better job of making my point than I. Trifling is a an excellent consideration on this issue, rather than the over reactionary response we get from those less experienced with this tactic, and sometimes that comes from us. Any of us will be personally offended by this attempt, but more controlled minds realize it seldom contributes much negative to the game, unless it rises to an obvious foul, gets frustration, or we over react too quickly.

    Enjoyed your "green vs orange. . short pulls story," but I think it goes to this point we are making. You didn't follow through with the card, because the act/incident though clearly obvious and misconduct, didn't go to completion of being full misconduct in the sense of needing to "control the behavior." The game was about over, already decided, and the laughter that followed, clearly erased the need to modify the behavior. I think the trifling approach to the shirt grabbing is similar. The old axiom, "where there's smoke, there's fire," doesn't always apply.
  23. Keith

    Keith New Member

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    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: odd man out



    . . but sometimes the reverse is the problem too. . we DO practice what we preach. . .we walk what we talk. Sounds OK at face value, but many times we talk a good game and how officious we are, and how we cut no quarter, but most of us resolve to be good game managers, then overly officious law enforcers. But some don't and I feel this is partly what I started out with the over-zealous "wrong!" We need to be more realistic and common sense, and recognize this tactic as not as diabolical as we initially see it. Let the players define what is diabolical, and let us protect them from all evil ;o)

    By the way, excuse my naivete' but what is "APO?"
  24. IASocFan

    IASocFan Moderator Staff Member

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    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: odd man out

    Advantage, Play On.
  25. Attacking Minded

    Attacking Minded New Member

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    Re: Re: Please enforce the LOTG

    So is a tactical foul not a foul?

    You think you are being high-minded and are confident in your assessment of how to handle a game. From my experience when ref's cite game management as a possible reason for not enforcing the LOTG then they have already started slipping down the slope towards calling a game to their own personal preference. I find it ironic that you would cite another sport for how the LOTG should be called.

    In any event, a foul is a foul. You should not be afraid to enforce the LOTG. For instance, if you see players holding each other's shirts before a corner kick, you should warn them to stop. If the kicker takes the kick and in that particular instance the shirt is still being held then it is unsporting. You are required to book a player under a Caution in that circumstance. You do not have a choice and that does not fall under ITOOTR. Unsporting is a caution. It may be your opinion as to whether a shirt was held or not. It is not your opinion on what the remedy should be. That is prescribed by the LOTG.

    I promise you that if your attention is diverted elsewhere then those incidental shirt grabs become full fledged holds. If nothing else just for the sake of irritating their opponent.

    I am sure that smart senior players are playing head games with you and their opponents. You have become part of the game by deciding the circumstances you will enforce the LOTG. You are being played.

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