Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Tactical Foul

Part of the Game Management model from US Soccer includes 100% Misconduct. This means that when we are faced with a case of 100% Misconduct (a "mandated" caution/send-off) we must give it. I know this gets confusing because there is a lot of talk about allowing physical play, even trying to minimize the number of fouls we call and cards we give. There are times when we can be flexible in our application of misconduct but we have to recognize when we don't have that option.

First, please review the Directive on 100% Misconduct: Tactical and Red Card Tackles. Now, let's take a look at the following video keeping in mind the elements of a tactical foul.

This foul hits several of the criteria listed in the directive:
  • Attacking end of the field
  • Numerical advantage
  • Quick attack means that there is less time to defend
  • The defender knows he is beat and must foul to prevent the ball from advancing

Do you agree that this is a tactical foul? For me, its important to be familiar with the criteria that US Soccer puts out for tackles like this one because then when you see the foul the decision is easy, its practically been made for you. The same can be said for DOGSO, reckless/excessive force tackles, elbows to the face (FIRE), etc. Know the criteria and when you see it happen, react appropriately. But when you don't have all the criteria met you know there is some flexibility that you can work with to decide whether to caution or just give a stern lecture.

This particular foul was all around pretty easy to get right. If it wasn't tactical, the reckless nature of the foul would make it an easy target for a caution anyways. But I want you to think about the criteria and how to apply it. If an assessor asked me why I gave this player a caution, I can say: "Per the USSF Directive on 100% Misconduct he committed a tactical foul that requires a caution."

The final thing to think about is positioning and whistle. This foul happened on a quick attack and I should've been positioned more towards the attacking end of play at the taking of the throw-in. This would've been more proactive and I wouldn't have had to sprint as hard to be close to the foul. Fouls in the "red-zone" - like in front of the bench - require us to be close to play and ready to take action. You can hear how the players, coaches and fans reacted to the foul. This is an indication that a long, hard whistle is needed to show your presence and tell everyone a card is coming. I chose to have the card out at my side immediately to calm everyone but that's not always needed. In this case, I think it quelled the angst of the attacking team's bench quite quickly.

Anything that I should have done better here? What do you guys do to ensure you get the required cautions right in your games?

1 comment:

Mark said...

Kris, your observation about positioning was the first thing I noticed about the clip. The throw-in is clearly an aggressively long one designed to exploit a defense that is disorganized. A more pro-active move toward the bench area and the target of the throw may have had a positive influence on the defenders choice of action.

As for the LOTG (which for us includes the FIFA Interpretations, ATR, Guide to Procedures, Memorandae and Directives), you've hit the nail on the head. This clearly meets the criteria of a tactical foul and must be dealt with appropriately by the referee.

For those uncertain of this, watch the clip again and remove the defender from the equation. What will the attacker be able to accomplish without the foul?