Could you explain the decision in the following scenario. It caused a lot of controversy in a recent match and teams still expect an explanation from me:

A player shoots towards goal, first time, as soon as he receives the ball from a team-mate. Just as he shoots, an opposition player tackles him very hard. The tackle deserves either a red, or a yellow card, but the player’s shot goes in (ie. he scores but is left injured). In either situation, whether the tackling player deserves a red, or a yellow card, does the goal stand? Would an advantage be allowed in any case (red or yellow)? Does this apply to all outfield players and the goalkeeper or are there slightly different rules regarding the keeper (committing the foul)?

My thoughts would be since its a “dangerous” tackle, advantage should not be allowed, and the very second the tackle was made, the game stops immediately, therefore, the player who fouls receives a red/yellow card, and the fouled team get a free kick/penalty.

Alternatively, the goal stands and the player is not cautioned or sent off at all. One thing I thought definately shouldn’t happen is for the goal to stand AND the player cautioned/sent off using the “advantage” rule. I thought this is not permitted since the game should immediately stop from the second a dangerous foul is committed, regardless of whether the subsequent shot ends up in goal or not.

USSF answer (February 11, 2009):
Yes, the goal stands, because the referee will sensibly have waited a moment or two to see what happens, applying the advantage but waiting that moment or so to see what happens before announcing it.

The same rules apply to goalkeeper and outfield players for such an infringement. Why would they differ?? In this case, if the referee decides that the tackle was excessive and that it was delivered with no intent to play the ball (e. g., late or from an angle opposite to the ball), then it is and should be reported as violent conduct.  If the referee decides that the player was attempting to play the ball with excessive force, then it is and should be reported as serious foul play.

If there is a chance of a goal, the referee will wait that extra second or so to declare the decision already made: That the tackle was done with excessive force and is therefore serious foul play or violent conduct. The referee must NEVER take away a deserved goal, no matter that the player has been injured. If the ball does not enter the goal, the referee will stop play, send off the opposition player for serious foul play, and restart with a penalty kick or a direct free kick, whichever is correct for the place where the foul and serious misconduct took place.

The referee must make the decision as to what he or she will do at the moment the particular infringement occurs. That will not change for whatever else may happen after the infringement. In this case, the goal was scored and the rest follows automatically.

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