Multiple times against the same striker in a casual game, he ran straight at me (defender who has played international tournaments) at fast speed and did a last minute slight direction change. I have fast reflexes + predicted it + the ball a bit out of his control/about 2 meters in front of him due to speed + direction change was very slight and still close enough to me so I barely had to move my leg to the side. I put my foot behind the ball zooming past me, stopping it dead... he then continued his run trying to dribble the ball at speed. However, when he made next contact with the stationary ball which I had stopped with my foot behind it, he tripped over it and went flying as if he had kicked a brick at full pace. Absolutely 0% contact with my leg, it was 100% ball contact. whistle blows

This happened 3 times in the same game, same reckless striker relying on speed to get past but not changing direction enough to kick the ball past me, however I was the one who got penalised all 3 times. However, I feel this is wrong because I was in full control as a defender with perfect timing to stop the balls, and barely counts as a tackle on him anyway since the ball was a few meters in front of him. He was the one charging in my direction and not in control which is the only reason he went flying after tripping over the ball which I personally felt had converted to my control since it was dead at my feet.

Thoughts? or do I have this wrong?

  • Hard to tell without seeing it, but to me, you did nothing wrong and the referee made the wrong call unfortunately. Even if you had some contact with the other players leg/whatever, this would not be an (obvious) foul. In my interpretation of the story off course. The speediness of your opponent might give the wrong impression to the referee? For the future, and be cautious and polite, try talking calmly to the referee if you feel he is open to it and point out the obvious -> ball in your feet. (YMMV on this though). He won't revert his call, but his decision on next plays may differ.
    – Don_Biglia
    Apr 17, 2023 at 9:50
  • To answer the question though, YES you can make a foul without touching your opponent as @dly answered
    – Don_Biglia
    Apr 17, 2023 at 9:53

2 Answers 2


Yes you can commit a foul without touching your opponent and even playing the ball.

12.2 Playing in a dangerous manner

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.

If you stop the ball dead with your sole towards your opponent you risk them breaking their leg. Playing like this gets whistled off even without hitting your opponent. And doing this with a sliding tackle is a straight red card. The distance to the other player isn't much. 2 meters at full speed are two steps at best and it's pretty much impossible to stop to zero from there. They could have changed direction, but even then would probably have had enough velocity to run into you.

Answer on your incident (personal opinion)

Hard to tell from plain text, but I'd say you possibly violated Law 12 at least once.

  • This is about fouls where the ball is not played. In my opinion the way OP states the question there is no foul. You can stop the ball. If opponent then tries to kick it and falls that's his problem - he can foresee that you will attempt to play the ball. The only way it can be interpreted as a foul is if you move into opponents path, thus blocking him. Dec 1, 2022 at 15:22
  • 1
    The ball is being played. Op stopped it when the striker played it badly. Without seeing the actual situation you can't make a call anyway, but the description leads kinda towards PIDM. When I get a ball straight on me I can stop it with the sole. This can be PIDM when someone tries to play the ball while I do that.
    – dly
    Dec 1, 2022 at 16:40

I barely had to move my leg to the side.

Whenever you move/stretch your leg, it's considered an action. There are differences between shielding, impeding and interference, and it can be the referee's call and interpretation. But, as close as 2 meters as you say you were, it's clearly a way, at full speed, to potentially injure your opponent. Therefore, you violated Law XII, because you interfered with the player.

Your move was intentional, interposing (a part of) your body so as to impede an opponent's movement ("he tripped over it and went flying as if he had kicked a brick at full pace"). As you describe it, even if you didn't intend to foul him, your move was clearly falling into one category of "foul and misconduct". Referee had to blow the whistle.

Law 12 states that a slide tackle made from outside the peripheral vision (the rear 180 degrees) of an opponent in control the ball also is a violation, even if first contact is with the ball. From your statement, your were not in that outside area, but you were on the side, and you moved your leg to the side. Referee can interpret that move as a side tackle, out of sight, and a leg trip. He can combine any parts of the law to consider this a foul, and he did.

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