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What is (or should be) a foul?


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I’ve always thought that the handball rule was correct in requiring intent - because in my view the purpose of the rule is to prevent cheating by intending to control the ball with the hand/arm, not an accidental contact.

There is no such requirement for fouls. But should there be? When I was younger, it seems to me it was generally accepted that players bumped into each other when both going for the same ball, and that was often accidental. Fouls were largely given for deliberate kicks, trips, pushes and holding. The intent is often obvious. Nowadays it seems to be accepted that if a player is “contacted” by another and falls over, there must be a foul. I accept that trips sometimes happen accidentally when a tackle is mistimed. However, I’m getting more and more frustrated by players creating fouls by putting themselves between the ball and a player who is about to kick it.

There was an example with the Arsenal penalty today. A Palace defender is halfway through swinging his boot at the ball to clear it; the Arsenal striker deliberately (in my view) sticks his leg in the way at the last moment and is kicked. Result- penalty. The MOTD pundits seem to be praising the attacker for being cute and criticising the defender for not seeing this coming. Seems crazy to me . For me, the striker made no attempt to play the ball and was trying to be kicked. The defender just tried to clear the ball.

Am I the only one seeing this as cynical gamesmanship by the striker? I believe this should fall under “ungentlemanly conduct”.

It may be impossible to require intent for fouls, but I think something like this is akin to diving.

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I was just about to start a VAR thread Leveller.

Not just the Arsenal decision, but a host of decisions over the week-end leave me absolutely mystified, as there is little or no consistency in the decisions and it seems that they are now applying laws of the game with which I am completely unfamiliar.

The real danger seems to me that increasingly more and more decisions are being decided by someone sitting in a studio and not the on field referee. As Peter Crouch pointed out on MOTD 2, why don't referees refer to the pitch side monitors? In the case of the Arsenal disallowed "goal" there is a very strong chance that if advised of the Arsenal player's push the referee had reviewed it on the monitor, he, like the pundits in the MOTD studio, would struggle to see anything other than 6 of one half a dozen of the other, and let the goal stand. Except, that I suspect they don;t want referees disagreeing with VAR decisions as this would increase the confusion and uncertainty over VAR's application.

 

 

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Intent is a nonsense because nobody knows what the intent was and in handballs it clearly doesn't work.

The question for a foul is imo simple. Does the contact happen before the ball is played and does it impede the opponent from carrying on? If yes to both then it's a foul, and only then.

The solution to diving is aggressively applying ten match bans on retrospective video evidence for cheating.

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2 minutes ago, Nibor said:

Intent is a nonsense because nobody knows what the intent was and in handballs it clearly doesn't work.

The question for a foul is imo simple. Does the contact happen before the ball is played and does it impede the opponent from carrying on? If yes to both then it's a foul, and only then.

The solution to diving is aggressively applying ten match bans on retrospective video evidence for cheating.

So you think it’s fine to deliberately stick your foot in the way when someone else is about to kick the ball, even if you’re not trying to play it yourself?

And you would give handball if the ball hits someone’s elbow from behind and they didn’t see it coming? I think the intent rule generally works fine, though intent is sometimes inferred from actions (eg putting your arm in an unnatural position).

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1 minute ago, Leveller said:

So you think it’s fine to deliberately stick your foot in the way when someone else is about to kick the ball, even if you’re not trying to play it yourself?

And you would give handball if the ball hits someone’s elbow from behind and they didn’t see it coming? I think the intent rule generally works fine, though intent is sometimes inferred from actions (eg putting your arm in an unnatural position).

1) I don't really understand your scenario, but if you can get in between your opponent and the ball without kicking them you should and if your opponent subsequently kicks you and in doing so impedes you from playing the ball it's a foul.  Nothing wrong with that.

2) No because that isn't the rule right now but I'd prefer it to be the rule because it is objective not subjective (and the case you describe almost never happens).  Deliberate handball is very often misjudged in my opinion, frequently given when there is no way the player meant to put a hand in the way of a ball because of the time between the ball being kicked and striking a hand.  It's very inconsistent, misunderstood by fans almost all the time and it's generally a terrible rule. 

 

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The solution to VAR is simple by the way.  Use some common sense.  Either a) get rid of it except for hawkeye type ball over the line, or b) never use it except for when there is doubt in the refs mind about a key decision around a goal / pen / sending off offence, let the ref decide, show it on the big screen and explain the decision to the captain on the mic.  Like the rugby.

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7 minutes ago, Nibor said:

1) I don't really understand your scenario, but if you can get in between your opponent and the ball without kicking them you should and if your opponent subsequently kicks you and in doing so impedes you from playing the ball it's a foul.  Nothing wrong with that.

2) No because that isn't the rule right now but I'd prefer it to be the rule because it is objective not subjective (and the case you describe almost never happens).  Deliberate handball is very often misjudged in my opinion, frequently given when there is no way the player meant to put a hand in the way of a ball because of the time between the ball being kicked and striking a hand.  It's very inconsistent, misunderstood by fans almost all the time and it's generally a terrible rule. 

 

1) have you seen the Arsenal pen on MOTD tonight? In my view this is happening quite a lot now. 

2) I agree that deliberate handball is sometimes misjudged and I would give fewer. But I don’t think this is a reason to scrap the intent element. I accept the “ease of decision” argument, but I’d go back to the point that you are trying to punish cheating, not the ball accidentally hitting someone’s arm.

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I was at the Arsenal v Palace game today and it's the first time I've experienced multiple VAR decisions live. What is ridiculous, as many other people have stated, is how clueless the crowd are with what is happening. I still haven't seen a replay of the foul on Zaha which was given as a penalty after the VAR officials overturned the initial decision. Similarly, I had no idea why Arsenal's third goal at the end was ruled out. It is clear that it's ruining the game for fans in the ground and the euphoria of a goal, as you live in fear of it being overturned. 

Having watched both the rugby games this weekend, I couldn't help but feel the only way to go is to mic up the referee, who then analyses any incident on a screen. In rugby it is clear why they're awarding a foul or overturning a decision. The final call is made by the on field referee who has a feel of the pace of the game and has set the tone of the match based on his previous decision. The system needs a serious review at the end of this season as it's creating more far more controversy than we had to begin with. 

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1 minute ago, Leveller said:

1) have you seen the Arsenal pen on MOTD tonight? In my view this is happening quite a lot now. 

2) I agree that deliberate handball is sometimes misjudged and I would give fewer. But I don’t think this is a reason to scrap the intent element. I accept the “ease of decision” argument, but I’d go back to the point that you are trying to punish cheating, not the ball accidentally hitting someone’s area.

1) The Zaha one was a dive.  He wasn't impeded by Chambers' poor challenge, he chose to throw himself on the floor.  He dives all the time, worse than most but they all do it now.  It is why I think ten match bans is the only thing that will work.

2) I tend to agree we want to punish cheating but we've proved we can't get that right in cases where it's so subjective.

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11 minutes ago, BcFcOneLove said:

I did think the Liverpool penalty today was a bit dubious. Aurier inadvertently kicking Mane's leg trying to clear the ball with clearly no Intention whatsoever, just seems an unjust way for a game to be decided.

Whoops! I’ve confused the issue by referring to the Arsenal game, as the Mane incident is the one I meant! 

Apologies all round. 

Clearly Aurier meant to kick the ball, and had no way of avoiding kicking Mane, who inserted his leg at the last instant. This may not have been deliberate, but I do think attackers are doing this deliberately to get penalties.

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6 minutes ago, Leveller said:

Whoops! I’ve confused the issue by referring to the Arsenal game, as the Mane incident is the one I meant! 

Apologies all round. 

Clearly Aurier meant to kick the ball, and had no way of avoiding kicking Mane, who inserted his leg at the last instant. This may not have been deliberate, but I do think attackers are doing this deliberately to get penalties.

No need to apologise. Mane certainly intended on recieving the kick, you have to admire his quick thinking but ultimately it is cheating. Just not in the most obvious form.

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5 hours ago, Leveller said:

Whoops! I’ve confused the issue by referring to the Arsenal game, as the Mane incident is the one I meant! 

Apologies all round. 

Clearly Aurier meant to kick the ball, and had no way of avoiding kicking Mane, who inserted his leg at the last instant. This may not have been deliberate, but I do think attackers are doing this deliberately to get penalties.

I can see what you're saying about that one but I can't see how a pen is avoidable there when he's full on kicked him. If he'd not connected I think Mane stays on his feet and has a chance.

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‘Contact’

How this word has entered the discussion is a disgrace.

It has become a byword for cheating in my opinion. Phrases such as ‘He initiates contact...’ or ‘there was contact so he had the right to go down’, are simply saying the striker has dived or cheated, not the defender.

I’ve said it before, but I’ve come to realise that he who falls over first, feigning injury, wins the foul.

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8 hours ago, Leveller said:

I’ve always thought that the handball rule was correct in requiring intent - because in my view the purpose of the rule is to prevent cheating by intending to control the ball with the hand/arm, not an accidental contact.

There is no such requirement for fouls. But should there be? When I was younger, it seems to me it was generally accepted that players bumped into each other when both going for the same ball, and that was often accidental. Fouls were largely given for deliberate kicks, trips, pushes and holding. The intent is often obvious. Nowadays it seems to be accepted that if a player is “contacted” by another and falls over, there must be a foul. I accept that trips sometimes happen accidentally when a tackle is mistimed. However, I’m getting more and more frustrated by players creating fouls by putting themselves between the ball and a player who is about to kick it.

There was an example with the Arsenal penalty today. A Palace defender is halfway through swinging his boot at the ball to clear it; the Arsenal striker deliberately (in my view) sticks his leg in the way at the last moment and is kicked. Result- penalty. The MOTD pundits seem to be praising the attacker for being cute and criticising the defender for not seeing this coming. Seems crazy to me . For me, the striker made no attempt to play the ball and was trying to be kicked. The defender just tried to clear the ball.

Am I the only one seeing this as cynical gamesmanship by the striker? I believe this should fall under “ungentlemanly conduct”.

It may be impossible to require intent for fouls, but I think something like this is akin to diving.

I'm with you all the way. I think we need to remember the original intent of laws and why they were made .A foul was someone blatantly trying to impede the opposition. People putting their foot in to ensure contact and 'win' a free kick and general gamesmanship is probably one of the reasons that I very, very rarely watch any match on TV as a neutral.

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What annoys me is that Football is a contact sport

 

VAR is taking that out the game. Michael Keane accidentally stepping on the Brighton strikers foot, never a penalty, VAR zooms in sees contact and calls for a pen?? I’ve had people stand on my foot in the Old EE after celebrating a goal, no offence but a lot of you guys weigh A LOT more than Keane and I didn’t throw myself to the floor. 

If they are going to use VAR they should use it like they did at the World Cup, the guys in the studio have a look and say the ref in the middle, you may have made a mistake I’d check that one out if I was you, they run over to the monitor and make the decision themselves. Not saying that worked but it worked a lot better than what’s happening now

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I really do dislike VAR, I would rather not have it in the game at all, but the cat is out of the bag now and I think it is fair to say that it hasn't been universally welcomed and changes are needed. maybe an appeal system similar to that in cricket. Both teams limited to 3 appeals a game and other than that, stick with the on field decision.

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57 minutes ago, 054123 said:

‘Contact’

How this word has entered the discussion is a disgrace.

It has become a byword for cheating in my opinion. Phrases such as ‘He initiates contact...’ or ‘there was contact so he had the right to go down’, are simply saying the striker has dived or cheated, not the defender.

I’ve said it before, but I’ve come to realise that he who falls over first, feigning injury, wins the foul.

Equally, when was the last time you saw a penalty given when the player doesn't go to ground. Often see blatant trips where the player tries to stay on his feet but is off balance and loses the ball. Never gets the pen. It encourages players to go down at the slightest touch.

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14 hours ago, Leveller said:

Whoops! I’ve confused the issue by referring to the Arsenal game, as the Mane incident is the one I meant! 

Apologies all round. 

Clearly Aurier meant to kick the ball, and had no way of avoiding kicking Mane, who inserted his leg at the last instant. This may not have been deliberate, but I do think attackers are doing this deliberately to get penalties.

Wasn't the penalty Danny Coles gave away on Iwelumo in that dreadful play-off final in 2004 vaguely similar? Coles swinging to clear the ball but Iwelumo runs in front and takes a boot to the leg. Not deliberate on Iwelumo's part for that one but similar.

The keeper in me hates the way so many penalties are won by the attacker beating the keeper to a 50/50 ball and kicking the ball practically anywhere then waiting for the keeper to take them down. If the striker gets there first, it's a pen, even though they are never going to score - even if the keeper avoids taking them out.

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VAR imo should only be used to see if a ball has gone fully over the line.

Football is organic and physical and open to human error and misjudgement. I'd rather have a ref make a mistake. It's all part of the entertainment.

I would amend certain rules though... especially the penalty rule.

Penalty only given if fouled when clear shooting chance stopped unfairly or deemed deliberate hand ball. Other than that, direct free kicks allowed again inside box.

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16 hours ago, Nibor said:

The solution to VAR is simple by the way.  Use some common sense.  Either a) get rid of it except for hawkeye type ball over the line, or b) never use it except for when there is doubt in the refs mind about a key decision around a goal / pen / sending off offence, let the ref decide, show it on the big screen and explain the decision to the captain on the mic.  Like the rugby.

We don't need* any more hawkeye at AG.  Goddamn ref, and his tinkling watch.

 

*If people disagree with this, I'm willing to compromise.  This doesn't apply when the ball just crosses the opposition line.

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15 minutes ago, Super said:

Are people actually debating the Mane and Zaha pens? Two of the most blatant i have seen!

Yes, Mane was kicked. But did he deliberately put his foot between the ball and the defender to ensure he was kicked, rather than trying to play the ball? If so, should the defender be punished? That is the point of the thread, which you may have missed. 

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