One of my match incidents from Week 10 Sunday deserves a post of its own because the argument rolls on and not to mention that it ruined my whole day.
Deliberately Handling the Ball
A defender is four metres from the top of the penalty area and in possession of the ball. The concentration of players were in that half (Futsal). The defender attempted to clear the ball and pulled his leg back for the clearance. Meanwhile an attacker quickly stole possession of the ball but the defender was slow to react and kicked to attempt to get the ball but missed. He instead kicked the attacking player on his heel.
The attacker fell down in a heap with a yell. The referees didn’t react and allowed play to continue. The ball was threateningly passed around the penalty area in an attempt to find a goal-scoring opportunity while the attacker was still on the ground on his side not moving, holding his shin and the side of the face on the ground.
Play then moved away from the penalty area from a clearance and after what was 10 seconds later, a defender jumped up in the air in the centre circle and struck the ball in the air with an outstretched arm to stop play. An attacker four metres away yelled to appeal while the defender indicated that he was stopping play for the injured player. The whistle was blown to award a free kick for deliberately handling the ball. I attended to the injured player and there was no unrest/disagreement. Meanwhile my partner went directly to the defender to caution him for unsporting behaviour. I saw this coming and quickly tried to calm him down since the caution wasn’t necessary nor warranted.
From our half-time discussion, there was misunderstanding that blatant handling is worthy of a caution. It can be circumstantially.
Disciplinary sanctions & LOTG references
There are circumstances when a caution for unsporting behaviour is required when a player deliberately handles the ball, e.g. when a player:
- deliberately handles the ball to prevent an opponent gaining possession
- attempts to score a goal by deliberately handling the ball
Page 119, FIFA LOTG 2013-2014
The word blatant was in the LOTG before but removed due to translation issues into other languages and not a necessary description of an incident. But do you see anywhere it says blatant? I certainly can’t and have been trying to convince my colleague as such.
There also lies the Unsporting behaviour edge case which the black hole of all things wrong in the game.
There are different circumstances when a player must be cautioned for unsporting behaviour, e.g. if a player
- acts in a manner which shows a lack of respect for the game
Page 123, FIFA LOTG 2013-2014
I ended up rescinding the card. The heat and temperature of the match had increased upon display of the card but I was able to quell it after taking it back. It looked poor on behalf of the referee team but was the right decision. What’s more important? Making the right call or standing solid as a team with a decision without wavering?