(Originally published on 7/30/17, “Operation Restore”)
Jim, a U13 – U19 coach, asks:
A player is on a breakaway and scores with a clean shot past the goalie. The goalie makes an aggressive tackle and injures the player on the play inside the 18 yard line. The goal is subsequently called off because of an offside violation. Obviously the goal is not allowed, but what is the correct call in relation to the dangerous tackle on the now injured player?
We are going to treat this as a straightforward sequence of play and not delve into any of the possible complications, interesting though some of them might be. Accordingly, our answer is based on the following: attacker makes a shot on goal which goes into the net, then the defending goalkeeper aggressively tackles the opponent and injures him, then the decision is announced that the goal is not allowed based on the attacker having committed an offside violation.
Where several offenses occur sequentially (i.e., one after another), the first offense determines the restart. Here, the first offense was an offside violation so the punishment is an indirect free kick taken from where the attacker became involved in active play by touching the ball (which subsequently went into the net so the apparent goal has to be canceled).
The second offense was a tackle which, by its description, would seem to meet the definition of having been taken with excessive force and without regard for the safety of the opponent. However, because play was already considered to have been stopped when the offside offense was committed, the goalkeeper’s action was not a foul but it is misconduct. The goalkeeper should be sent off and shown the red card for violent conduct.
Just as an indication of how and where this could become sticky, the offside offense and the excessive force tackle could have happened at the same time — we would not like to try to figure that one out. Most referees would probably avoid the problem by declaring the events were sequential rather than simultaneous.