I have a question about a game yesterday that I was an AR of a U14 Boys Select game. This was the second game of a double header between the same 2 teams. I was the referee for the first game. During the second game, a player for “blue” tried a slide tackle from behind and completely missed the ball and the player. The “white” player kept the ball and was moving up the field. Seconds later, the same “blue” player tried another tackle from behind, and caught the cleat of the “white” player causing him to twist and then fall. He came nowhere near the ball. The ball was within playing distance of the “white” player. The “white” player remained on the ground and had to be helped off the field a minute or two later. In my opinion, this was definitely reckless and probably endangered the safety of his opponent. The referee gave him a yellow card. As the referee was writing in his book, I observed the cautioned “blue” player exchanging a “high five” with a teammate behind the referee’s back. I informed the referee and it was decided to require this “blue” player to have a substitute replace him. He returned to the game later on. My opinion was that the “blue” player targeted the “white” player purposely. Afterwards, I thought about what I would have done in this situation. In this case, there were no more issues in the game related to this player, but I think that he should have been shown the red card and sent off because the “high five” indicates to me that he was trying to take the player out on purpose.

So here is my question, if I did decide that he should be sent off, what would be the best procedure to follow? Note that play has not restarted. Here are two thoughts that I have:

A. Change the yellow card (for unsporting behavior) to a red card (for serious foul play).

B. Leave the caution and give him a second caution for unsporting behavior (celebrating after injuring an opponent) and then sending him off.

I was leaning toward option A, but maybe there is something else that I am not thinking of. In either case, I believe a caution would be warranted to the other “blue” player for unsporting behavior.

USSF answer (May 6, 2008):
As we are answering as if you were the referee, it makes our task easier.

If you believe that the tackle by the blue player placed the white player in danger, the answer is clear. According to Law 12, International Board Decision 4, “A tackle, which endangers the safety of an opponent, must be sanctioned as serious foul play.”

Any subsequent misconduct, such as the high-fiving with the player’s blue teammate, would be included in the match report.

We also believe that the second blue player should be cautioned for unsporting behavior and shown the yellow card.

The restart would be for the original foul (and misconduct) on the white player.

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