Playing in dangerous manner: a low header by a player. Leicester player Albrighton played the ball with his head near the ground while a Newcastle player wanted to kick the ball. Is it a foul? How do you continue/restart? Answers to this for you as referee can be found in the blog post below.
Did you ever whistle for a low header?
Did you ever hear about a low header? I did, because I’ve seen something before. But how often did it happen in your game? It’s quite rare. In the game mentioned, referee Rob Jones blew his whistle for this. Was he correct based on the Laws of the Game?
LOTG on playing in dangerous manner
The Laws of the Game say: “An indirect free kick is awarded if a player plays in a dangerous manner.”
But what is that? “Playing in a dangerous manner is any action that, while trying to play the ball, threatens injury to someone (including the player themself) and includes preventing a nearby opponent from playing the ball for fear of injury.”
The Dutch FA (KNVB) gives even “low header” as example of endangering your own safety. So the restart of play should be an indirect free kick. As referee you need to be aware if there’s contact between the two players. It might not be on the head, but on a different body part. Due to contact the impact of offences increase, so then the restart is a direct free kick or a penalty kick.
The Laws of the Game add to that in a normal challenge disciplinary action is not needed and if there’s risk of an injury, the refere should caution the player.
Low header and DOGSO?
But what if there’s a low header and the player denies his opponent a goal-scoring opportunity? I’d love to hear what your thoughts are about the clip below. It’s footage from a game between Manchester United and Arsenal from a few years ago. Phil Jones heads the ball away while lying on the ground. Playing in dangerous manner or not?
Firstly, you need to ask yourself: is this playing in dangerous manner? If yes, you have to make a decision on how to restart when you whistle for a foul.
Secondly, your most important question is: would Giroud be in a goal-scoring position if Phil Jones did not touch the ball? It was quite difficult to find an overview of the situation.
There is a defender just entering the penalty box, but in my opinion Giroud was able to shoot before that other defender could prevent him from doing that. Yes, the angle is a little difficult. But I think Giroud would be able to score from the position Phil Jones made the foul.
If you consider this situation with Phil Jones a DOGSO, then the following applies. “A player, substitute or substituted player who commits any of the following offences is sent off: denying a goal or an obvious goal-scoring opportunity to an opponent whose overall movement is towards the offender’s goal by an offence punishable by a free kick.”
Playing in dangerous manner itself is an indirect free kick offence, as long as there is no contact.
Want more case studies? Check them all out.