Case Study: Raise Your Hand

With all due apologies to Eddie Floyd, today we look at a case study where a player clearly raises a hand to the face of another player.  The fact that this is a sending off really shouldn’t be open for debate (the ignorant protests of commentator Danny Mills notwithstanding).  It’s what the US Soccer Federation refers to as “100% Misconduct” and must result in a send off.

What is more intriguing for those of us who referee (well) below the Premier League level to consider is whether a similar issue in one of our matches could be avoided.

You’ll have to wait until about half way through the clip to see a replay of the entire sequence of events, but one wonders whether this ugly incident might have been avoided by whistling for a foul.  There were several possibilities to choose from for referee Neil Swarbrick.

That said, at the Premier League level, players are expected to play through physical contact, and are further expected to control themselves, even when they feel aggrieved by the play of an opponent.  So, it is understandable that referee Swarbrick chose to allow play to continue.

At the lower levels, however, and especially in the youth game, raging hormones and still developing psychology can conspire to create opportunities for misconduct like this.  Given that play was at the halfway line, a foul given in either direction would be very unlikely to have any impact on the outcome of the match.

Referees should consider that “finding a foul” in a situation like this is an opportunity to settle the game and remove some of the ingredients found in a typical recipe for misconduct.

4 responses to “Case Study: Raise Your Hand”

  1. Wow…what a scrum. The first push in Back should have been called a Foul. Hard play, some retribution, gamesmanship challenges. Again good officiating. Raising the Hand was ok until he pushed it in the white players face. Red Card.


    • And with good reason, I believe.

      In the end, I chose to publish the study because I believe that “finding a foul” can be a useful tool for referees.

      To the extent the reader is led to believe that the case study is an indictment of Swarbrick’s handling of this specific incident is a clear indictment of the study author’s writing acumen.


  2. i totally agree that other fouls are made before Benteke’s VC against Maison,but arguing about this “sent off offence”,i believe that also Maison is guilty of VC against Benteke,cause he initiates the first,consuming a VC,bucking his opponent,when not challenging for the ball.So,Maison has consumed the same offence as Benteke,but with other means,and what is the most important,the first.


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