Right to protect your face?

Discussion in 'Referee' started by wjarrettc, Oct 14, 2003.

  1. wjarrettc

    wjarrettc Member
    Staff Member

    Oct 1, 2002
    Cliffs of Insanity
    Carolina Railhawks
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Probably a "you had to be there" situation but...

    U-18 challenge women

    Pinball play in the penalty area. Ball pops out to the top of the box. Attacker strikes a hard, driven shot on goal which is sailing through the penalty area about head high. Defender in the box quickly raises both arms up to her head to protect herself, but in doing so deflects the ball back at the shooter.

    It was not clear to me whether or not the ball would have actually hit the girl in the face, but it was clear to me that she raised her arms over her shoulders and knocked the ball down while it was headed towards goal

    Immediately, two things raced through my mind...this was either DOGSO-H and a red card or no infraction at all for accidental contact while she was protecting herself.

    I took the middle road. I whistled a PK but didn't not card (yellow or red) the defender. I did however, have to book her team's captain for dissent because she wouldn't shut up about how the girl was only protecting herself and she had a right to do that.

    What do you guys think? At U-12's I think I would have probably let this go, but U-18 women challenge is a different ball game.
  2. Ref Flunkie

    Ref Flunkie Member

    Oct 3, 2003
    New Hudson, MI
    I agree with what you did, and your thought that at a younger age is a bit different. This are adults basically, and if they really want to defend themselves they should duck and not stop a shot from going on goal. She intentionally handled the ball in my opinion and should be called for a penalty, and as far as "protecting herself", tell her to suck it up.
  3. HeadHunter

    HeadHunter Member

    May 28, 2003
    One questionabout how you described the incident. She raised her hands to protect her face, but was the ball struck by the hands directly in from of her face, above her head or off to the side. Depending on what I read I could interpret it any way. Probably wouldnt affect my call at this age but it might do so at a younger age. Speed of the shot is also a factor.
  4. colins1993

    colins1993 Member

    Mar 1, 2001
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Award a penalty and tell the coach way after the match is over that women @ this age should know how to HEAD THE DAMN BALL!!
  5. whipple

    whipple New Member

    May 15, 2001
    Protecting one's face is a natural instinctive reaction. A hard driven shot, clearly from your description the player was protecting herself, the ball deflects... I would have a hard time seeing this as deliberate handling, but YHTBT.

  6. jacathcart

    jacathcart New Member

    Oct 11, 2002
    Tacoma WA
    Re: Re: Right to protect your face?

    Well, I certainly wouldn't tell the coach anything, but the suggestion about heading might be a good one. Certainly a quick duck of the head would be faster protection but so much depends on things that don't come across in the post. 5 yards away blazing at the face I doubt it would be handling. More than 10 yards they have time to avoid taking the ball in the chops, but as Sherman said YHTBT.

    Only problem is - if you find it was handling AND other requirements for DOGSO are there how can you not show the red card? Isn't that sort of like calling for an IFK on a foul committed at the corner of the area while the attacker is facing away?

  7. Statesman

    Statesman New Member

    Sep 16, 2001
    The name says it all
    Instinct only goes so far in soccer. If it's an extremely fast ball right at the face with no chance to get out of the way, no prob. But it seems like you describe it as she had other options. If the player has other options than using the arms, the usage of the arms is deliberate and thus a foul.
  8. Keep87

    Keep87 New Member

    Apr 24, 2003
    North Carolina
    If you play any sport you open your-self up to getting hurt. Sometimes you have to take one for the team and not take the Pu$$y's way out. But, once again you have to be there.
  9. MarioKempes

    MarioKempes Member+

    Real Madrid, DC United, anywhere Pulisic plays
    Aug 3, 2000
    Proxima Centauri
    Real Madrid
    Nat'l Team:
    United States

    Given the circumstances, I think you did exactly the right thing. I don't want to be labelled a "sexist", but I think if this was U-18 males, I would have adjudged it a DOGSO, and given a red card to the player.

    Well done.
  10. schmuckatelli

    schmuckatelli New Member

    Nov 10, 2000
    Given that the ball would have struck the player's face (and so, repelled away from goal) had she not handled it, I think you made the correct call, since it fact, the player's offense was not DOGSO. You decided to penalize the offense and not the intent. Works for me.
  11. jc508

    jc508 New Member

    Jan 3, 2000
    Columbus, Ohio area
    In judging whether it should be Deliberate Handling or not, I would look to several factors, such as, but not limited to, the following:

    - The age of the players.
    - The skill of the players. Rec or state cup final?
    - How far away was the player from where the ball was kicked? 5 ft or 10 yds.?
    - Did the player see the ball coming in time to react? If she were looking the other way and then turned only to see the ball only a few feet away from her face...
    - How hard was the ball kicked? A rocket shot or an easy pass?
    - How did she move her arms to be in front of her face? Was it a jerky, quick reflex or a deliberate intentional movement of the arms?

    Sometimes I ask myself if I would have been able to move out of the way or decide to play the ball in some other way other than putting my hands up in front of my face. But then again, now I am getting older, slower, and definitely less skilled in playing the ball.

    As for the DOGSO, were there other players in back of this player close to the line of the shot? If so, it probably should not have been considered a DOGSO.

    Just my thoughts on it.
  12. Red Star

    Red Star Member

    Jan 10, 2002
    Fayetteville, AR
    Hand Ball PK

    I think that you handled it well. I don't believe that players have the right to move their hands to the ball to protect themselves. They just have to take it. Moving your hands to protect yourself before the shot is struck as in forming a wall and placing your hands over the tender bits is different. If it was going to hit her it wasn't going in.
  13. AvidSinger

    AvidSinger New Member

    Sep 6, 2002
    For very young players, I usually give a warning and leave it at that, but anything U-16 or higher, players should know better. The only time I will not call handling for U-18 or higher is if the ball is kicked from within a yard or so.

    Anything further away, and the player needs to work on their reflexes so they're no so scared of the ball anymore. I've yet to see a football cause permanent injury.
  14. onefineesq

    onefineesq Member+

    Sep 16, 2003
    Laurel, MD
    DC United
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    I also agree with the call. i know that i wasn't there, but it seems to me that at this age, if you have time to throw up your hands and block the shot, you also had time to either head the ball or move out of the way. throwing your hands up takes at least as much time as either of those options. you have to award the PK there.
  15. whipple

    whipple New Member

    May 15, 2001
    If, in the referee's opinion, the player has instinctively raised their hands to protect their face, irrespective of distance from the ball, or velocity, then there is doubt as to whether they have committed the foul of deliberate handling. When there is doubt, we do not call the foul.

    It is important to remember that the offense is not the ball contacting the hands, but the player deliberately playing (parrying, catching, punching, and other forms of controlling or directing) for which we award a DFK. We judge what they did, not what they could have done. Further we must judge effect.

    Ask yourself, would the effect have been any different had the player taken the ball full on their face? If not, what difference did it make that it struck their hands?

    Again, this ain't gotchaball. Should we be unfarily penalizing players for that which may not be a deliberate breach of the Laws? Unless we are certain that it was a deliberate breach, it is probably not a foul and, if the head was already in the way, absolutely not misconduct.

  16. Crowdie

    Crowdie New Member

    Jan 23, 2003
    Auckland, New Zealand
    When looking to see if the player was protecting herself you could look for:

    i) The player's head will move away from the ball. So if the ball is coming from the player's left she will move her head over her right shoulder
    ii) The player's face will turn away from the ball so she will lose sight of the ball
    iii) The player's arms/hands will come across her head but NOT move away from her body towards the ball
    iv) The body will drop slightly to the right (to try to dodge the ball)

    The player is trying to protect themselves by getting out of the way of the ball and protecting her face.

    These are general rules and you always get some differing reactions.

    Hope that helps.

  17. Grizzlierbear

    Grizzlierbear New Member

    Jul 18, 2001
    canada no it is not
    It is a foul or it is not. I do not buy the PK but not the red card if DOGSO is present.

    As long as the arms are ONLY there for protection there is no foul. Handling is not a foul unless it was deliberately playing the ball. Protecting the face is not deliberately playing the ball, age is not a factor, sex is not a factor, in determining whether the ball is DELIBERATELY played. The fact that it LOOKS unfair and the myth that surrounds this part of the game is so ingrained even those that know still find it difficult to apply. Why? If the ball would have impacted and smashed the nose the fact it impacts the arm or hand and deflects it is not directed anywhere or played to a teammate. The arms are just another body part the same as any other. The illegal use of them is not in the intent nor in the action , yet if the result looks bad we seek the easy out to appease the opposing team?

    We are instructed to avoid calling doubtfull fouls.

    You state specifically she raised her arms to protect herself. Nothing in the senario convinces me the arms were there to redirect the ball unfairly so no foul in my opinion.

    Yet you also felt if it was a foul then the DOGSO criteria was met.The spirit or letter of the law is not in application of a protective relex. Takes as much courage NOT to make a call that everyone expects but you know is not a foul. But to call a foul on something that your were in doubt then not fullfill the requirements means you were not convinced. If I call a deliberate handling designed to unfairly affect play and there is DOGSO attached it is given because the act is what it was not what it looks like to others.
  18. Turin

    Turin New Member

    Sep 14, 2003
    Did the player intentionally play the ball in the opinion of the Referee? If so, and the infraction denies an obvious goal scoring opportunity, then a send off would be required. However, what was the score of the game? Would the goal have affected the outcome of the game? You must not always make your decisions by the book, but for the good of the game. The book is a guide, but so much of the game is not in the book. Use your heart when you referee, and ask on calls such as these, "Is this for the good of the game?"

    This may be an idealistic point of view but its what I referee by.
  19. Alberto

    Alberto Member+

    Feb 28, 2000
    Northern, New Jersey
    New York Red Bulls
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Re: Re: Right to protect your face?

    An excellent post. The issue of handling is one of consternation for referees. I recall the case during the 1998 world cup when a player took a shot on goal and the ball caught a defender's arm or hand even as he tried to move his arm away. The shot was taken from about 10 yards away. The referee called a penalty. The late Ken Aston commented on it in an on-line article on the FIFA website of yet another case of handling being called when the player made no attempt to deliberately play the ball.

    In the example cited in this thread there is no intent to play the ball and therefore there should be no foul, since the player is not trying to gain an advantage from deliberately playing the ball. Let me reiterate she is not deliberately playing the ball by trying to protect her face. The ball played her hand. Her hand the ball.

    I do want to touch on a very important aspect of handling. Particularly at the professional or elite youth level. Can we judge intent by a players lack of actions. At higher levels some players may leave their arm in an apparent natural position to gain advantage of playing the ball. By this I mean a player may see a ball played in his/her direction and said player makes no attempt to avoid moving his arm or hand from making contactwith the ball as a means of controlling or trapping the ball. I think that many European players are schooled in this practice. Your thoughts.
  20. Statesman

    Statesman New Member

    Sep 16, 2001
    The name says it all
    A similar thread was already discussed extensively in the recent past on this issue, so I will keep my comments brief here. The only point I wish to stress again is that an act done with deliberation implies conscious choice by the player. A reflex or instinctive reaction is not a conscious choice, it is built into the human psyche. In most instances an experienced player can override the desire to react defensively to an oncoming ball and consciously choose a more advantageous action. We have to be very alert as referees to distinguish between that which is pure reflex, and that which is disguised as reflex for this reason.

    If a player makes the conscious decision they will use their arms to deflect an oncoming ball while other options are equally viable, that player is guilty of deliberately handling the ball. The excuse that "the ball would have hit her anyway" is not valid if the player could just have easily stepped aside or turned so that the ball would rebound from her safely without the arms. Furthermore we do not judge the result, only the action, so any advantage gained from the handling has no impact on the decision.

    I'm going to take a page from Bob Evan's teachings here as well, as he stresses this point in nearly all of his clinics. DOGSO is not a discretionary decision. If the action denies a goal scoring opportunity, as defined by USSF and FIFA, then it is a red cardable offense, period. Referees are not trained to determine which DOGSO are worthy of a send off and which ones are not. They are trained soley to recognize DOGSO when it occurs, and instructed to take the appropriate action. Either the a foul was committed where the player was guilty of DOGSO, or there was no foul at all. There is no middle of the road in this decision.
  21. AvidSinger

    AvidSinger New Member

    Sep 6, 2002
    By that argument, we should not penalize a young player who instinctively reaches his arm out as if to catch a ball that is struck from several yards away. After all, it is only a reflex.

    IMO, part of football training is to train your body to react properly to different situations. For young players, I grant more leeway as a referee since the players are not sufficiently experienced to know better. For older children and adults, I don't think it is unreasonable to expect them to know that sticking your hand up to parry a ball struck more than a short distance away is handling.
  22. AvidSinger

    AvidSinger New Member

    Sep 6, 2002
    I think in this particular example, however, the case can be made that this was not DOGSO, since the player's head would still have been in the path of the ball had she not handled it.

    Otherwise, you're correct. DOGSO is simply a boolean function and the referee is not at liberty to give a lesser penalty than a red card if DOGSO has indeed occurred.
  23. whipple

    whipple New Member

    May 15, 2001
    Exactly! Such an act may be at best a doubtful or trifling breach. If the opponent was not disadvantaged and there was no effect, why stop play to award a DFK?

    Read the words of Ed Rae, the Massachusetts SDI and national instructor:


    How to judge?

    Did the ball hit the hand? No whistle

    Was it an instinctive, reflexive reaction? No call.

    Protecting vital body parts? No call.

    Was it just an aimless, bouncing ball? Nothing then.

    Accident? No call.

    No fault? No call.

    Not on purpose? No call.

    Did hand hit ball? Rare. But it might happen. If, in the opinion of the referee, it was deliberate, then, and only then make the call.

  24. AvidSinger

    AvidSinger New Member

    Sep 6, 2002
    I think you missed my point. I'm talking about kids who stretch their arms way out to the side to grab a ball as it passes them. For young players, this is simply a reflex, but it still classifies as intentional handling.
  25. Statesman

    Statesman New Member

    Sep 16, 2001
    The name says it all
    I wouldn't consider that an instinctive reaction at all, Avid. They might not be thinking about the consequences of the action but people do not just throw their arms outstretched out of reflex, child or not.

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