In a recent game, player A is dribbling the ball and player B tackles from behind. They get tangled up and both players trip. Both players stand and player A swings at player B. B puts up arm to block the strike and protect self. Should player A be cautioned or sent off? Should player B be cautioned?

USSF answer (March 3, 2008):
In all events player A must be sent off for violent conduct.

The situation with player B is different. The referee must make a decision as to the nature of the tackle. If, in the opinion of the referee, the tackle by player B endangered the safety of player A, then we must follow the instructions in International F. A. Board Decision 4 to Law 12: “A tackle, which endangers the safety of an opponent, must be sanctioned as serious foul play.” However, if the tackle did not endanger the safety of player A, and player B did nothing else but raise the arm to block the blow to protect him-/herself, then there is no need to caution B.

Leave a Reply