Where the offence occurred



9.9. Players must not intentionally raise the ball from a hit except for a shot at goal.

A raised hit must be judged explicitly on whether or not it is raised intentionally.

9.8 Players must not play the ball dangerously or in a way which leads to dangerous play.

A ball is also considered dangerous when it causes legitimate evasive action by players.

The penalty is awarded where the action causing the danger took place.

13.1 Location of a free hit :
a a free hit is taken close to where the offence occurred

‘Close to’ means within playing distance of where the offence occurred and with no significant advantage gained.

 When any play is dangerous play in midfield a similar play when a shot at the goal is taken  has also to be considered dangerous play – the same play must be treated in the same way in both circumstances.

The legality of a lifted hit is an entirely different matter from dangerous play – although a raised hit may be directly dangerous to another player or lead to dangerous play, it may not always do so. I have yet to see a raised hit-shot at a goal that was hit above the standing head height of a defender or a drag-flick that was going over or, not close to but past the head of a ducking defender on the goal-line, penalised as dangerous play – and it is unlikely I ever will, because evasive action is not necessary in such circumstances and therefore cannot be legitimate (necessary, genuine, rather than legal, evasive action is always legal).

The word ‘also’, recently added to the Explanation of Application of Rule 9.8. A ball is also considered dangerous when it causes legitimate evasive action by players. although useful in other circumstances ‘muddies the water’ a bit in the scenario shown in the video, but there should be no confusion if common sense is applied. (An impossibility I know)

The correct location of a free ball (or penalising the right team for the wrong offence) may seem trivial matters, but if umpiring is seen by players to become this sloppy or mistaken  they quickly lose confidence in the judgement of umpires and this can have an effect when the umpires are making more important – game result changing – decisions.

The free ball should have been awarded for the intentional raising of the ball with a hit, not for dangerous play – as it happened the danger (if there was any danger) was not caused at the place it occurred – a distinction lost on those who do not understand that there is a difference between the meanings of ’caused’ and ‘occurred’ –

It is interesting that the umpire who did not penalise the hitter (or was it the other way about?) did not intervene when his colleague ordered a free ball taken, for an offence that did not occur, about 20m from where it should have been taken for the offence that did occur. A double ‘brain fade’ or umpires so intent on supporting each other that one would not correct the other even when the mistake made was obvious? There is an element of this apparent in some video referrals: it should not happen, the umpires should work together to achieve the correct decision – not just to spare each others blushes.

Even if there was endangerment of the NED midfielder the free ball should have been awarded for the intentionally raised hit – it would have been the first offence and much the nearer to the BEL goal – so a penalty awarded where the offence occurred and the more advantageous positioning for the team offended against.

Here is another similar type of odd decision about the placement of a free ball following an intentionally raised hit. The first offence was the illegal hit not the illegal contesting for the aerial ball at the place it was landing. The free ball was placed some 40m behind where it should have been.





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