Case Study: Issuing a Caution for Shirt Removal

It is not news to regular readers of this space that a player who removes his shirt during a goal celebration is subject to sanction.  The FIFA publication “Interpretation of the Laws of the Game and Guidelines for Referees” addresses the issue directly.  Page 118 of the electronic version (published with the LOTG), under the heading “Celebration of a goal”, states, in part that “a player must be cautioned if. . .he removes his shirt or covers his head with his shirt.”

This much, most of us know.

In a recent UEFA Champions League match between Juventus and Chelsea, Juventus player Sebastian Giovinco (#12) scored a goal and celebrated by removing his shirt.  Giovinco fully expected to be cautioned by Turkish referee Cüneyt Çakır, and Çakır obliged.  But not before instructing the player to put his shirt back on, which is the point of this case study.

If I’m honest,  it never occurred to me that there were proper mechanics for issuing a caution in these circumstances (I’ve personally dealt with shirt removal a total of one time).

In the scheme of things, this is probably of little consequence.  However, this procedure makes perfectly good sense, and is something for all of us to tuck away in the memory bank.

Case Study: Atkinson Shows Cards Aren't Always Necessary

On 25 August 2012, Martin Atkinson was the referee in a Premier League (ENG) match between West Ham United (blue) and Swansea FC (white).

Early in the match, #4 white was attacking down the right side and lost possession of the ball to a blue defender (images 1 to 3). He subsequently fouled the defender, which was rightly called by the assistant referee and whistled by referee Atkinson. After #4 white got to his feet, he promptly kicked the ball away (image 4).

While the Laws explicitly state that this is a cautionable offense, referee Atkinson chooses not to issue a caution. That is not to say that he let the tactic go unnoticed, as seen in the last image.

A small illustration that player management doesn’t always require the use of cards.