I encountered a frustrating scenario in a soccer match that I would like your opinions about. During a play, the attacking player prepared to take a shot, but I was quicker and managed to kick the ball from behind just before he was able to take a shot, but as the attacking player had already begun their kicking motion, he striked my heel instead of the ball, fell to the ground, and a free kick was given to him.

How could a free kick be justified in this situation?

  • Impossible to review by just reading a (subjective) written version. It can indeed be seen as dangerous play, and at a moment in time almost any challenge from behind was considered a foul.
    – Don_Biglia
    Aug 10, 2023 at 12:36

1 Answer 1


Law 12.1 Direct free kick, emphasized with the relevant point:

A direct free kick is awarded if a player commits any of the following offences against an opponent condidered by the referee to be careless, reckless or using excessive force:

  • charges
  • jumps at
  • kicks or attempts to kick
  • pushes
  • strikes or attempts to strike (including head-butt)
  • tackles or challenges
  • trips or attempts to trip

If an offence involves contact, it is penalised by a dirct free kick.

  • Careless is when a player shows a lack of attention or consideration when making a challenge or acts without precaution. No disciplinary sanction is needed

Placing your body in a position that almost guarantees you will be kicked meets this requirement. It should be sanctioned to discourage actions which increase the likelihood of injury, whether to others or yourself. The sanction is a direct free kick for this offence.

If you continued to play this way within the same match, you may be justifiably cautioned for persistent offences under Law 12.3, Disciplinary action.

Had you made the tackle successfully without causing contact, in a way that "threatens injury to someone ... and includes preventing a nearby player from playing the ball for fear of injury" you could and should still be sanctioned with an indirect free kick under Law 12.2, Indirect free kick for playing in a dangerous manner.

  • I strongly disagree. From the description, the defensive player makes a legal tackle/challenge as he does not touch the offensive player. It is the offensive player that then commits the foul by not aborting his kicking motion and therefore is careless while attempting to kick. The free kick should be given to the defensive player.
    – treuss
    Aug 11, 2023 at 10:11
  • You can disagree that it is the correct decision in any particular circumstance, but it is the correct decision in many circumstances. Either way, it is justified by this law, as the question asked about.
    – Nij
    Aug 11, 2023 at 21:19
  • @treuss there's nothing to disagree with... Very aggressive tackles can result in very serious injuries, so that rule exists for the referees to judge dangerous challenges, even if they result in ball hit. Hard to say if it was a foul in this case without seeing footage of the play.
    – Destroy666
    Aug 29, 2023 at 21:58

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