Case Study: DOGSO or No?

Case Study # 1-2013
Date 1 Jan 2013
Competition Barclays Premier League
Fixture/Result Wigan Athletic 0 – 4 Manchester United
Referee/Badge Andre Marriner, FIFA
At Issue Should Manchester United defender Chris Smalling have been sent off for DOGSO-F in the 81st minute?

In the 81st minute of this match, play quickly switched from one end of the field to the other, as Wigan cleared the ball out of their own penalty area and played a long ball forward. Wigan striker Kone is clearly fouled by Manchester United defender Chris Smalling. Referee Andre Marriner whistled for the foul and issued a caution to Smalling.

For your consideration and discussion is whether a caution was the correct sanction or if a send-off for denying an obvious goal scoring opportunity by commission of a foul was warranted.

Recall that the considerations for DOGSO-F are:

[box]Denying an obvious goal scoring opportunity by an offense punishable by a free kick or a penalty kick.

In order for a player or substitute to be sent off for denying an “obvious goal scoring opportunity by an offense punishable by a free kick or a penalty kick” (number 5 under the seven send-off offenses), four elements must be present:

  • Number of Defenders: not more than one defender between the foul and the goal, not counting the defender who committed the foul
  • Distance to goal: the closer the foul is to the goal, the more likely it is an obvious goal scoring opportunity
  • Distance to ball: the attacker must have been close enough to the ball at the time of the foul to continue playing the ball
  • Direction of play: the attacker must have been moving toward the goal at the time the foul was committed

If any element is missing, there can be no send off for denying an obvious goal scoring opportunity. Further, the presence of each of these elements must be “obvious” in order for the send-off to be appropriate under this provision of Law 12.

“12.37 JUDGING AN OBVIOUS GOALSCORING OPPORTUNITY.” Advice to Referees on the Laws of the Game. US Soccer Federation Referee Program. Revised 2011. Chicago: United States Soccer Federation, Inc., 2011. 63. Print.[/box]

These guidelines are commonly referred to as “The Four D’s”. In your opinion, were the Four D’s met in this scenario?

15 responses to “Case Study: DOGSO or No?”

  1. IMO DOGSO is not present since the attacker never had possession of the ball to establish IF he could score a goal. The caution was exactly correct for a TACTICAL foul, which denied the attacker the OPPORTUNITY gain possession in order to score a goal.


  2. Defo Dogso !! – (wonder if the 4/0 scoreline this late in the game played into the Ref’s mind in the decision, that either way it was probably not going to impact the game) – but given what we see here it is pretty clear he should have been sent.


  3. For me, this is a definite send-off. The foul is clear and if Smalling hadn’t fouled the Wigan player, he (the Wigan player) would have been one on one with the keeper and none of the other defenders were in a position to recover. That’s pretty much the definition of DOGSO-F as far as I’m concerned. Granted, giving this card (especially in rec soccer, e.g. AYSO) will make you a very unpopular official, I’ve learned. I actually had a keeper come out of the box, foul a player who had possession and was heading toward goal, and be surprised that he was sent off for DOGSO-F when there was an open goal behind him.


  4. Unless the ball was moving very quickly and the GK had a chance at it, which doesn’t appear to be the case from these pictures, it pretty clearly meets the criteria for a red card.


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