I was watching the two big games in the Champions League this week and both of the games were spoiled by the red cards (the card in the City-Barca game was a clear red as it was a clear clear goal scoring opportunity whereas the Arsenal-Bayern game was not so clear cut). It got me thinking;

1: when was the rule around clear goal scoring opportunities introduced and

2: was there a case that made them introduce it? I'm thinking something like when they clamped down on tackles from behind because it was this kind of tackle that forced Marco Van Basten into early retirement or Lampard's goal in the 2010 World Cup which got a debate on goal line technology going.

  • I cannot give a time frame on when it was introduced but the case is simple enough, if you are the last defender and you stop the attacker, or the ball, with an action that would normally be a foul (a tackle or handball), that's a red card for unsportsmanlike conduct. The case is to hinder teams from committing desperate fouls to prevent an almost certain goal. Specific cases may trigger commitment to a rule change but the arguments have certainly been out there for a while in most rule changes.
    – posdef
    Feb 20, 2014 at 17:34
  • I understand why the rule is in place I was wondering was there an incident that caused Fifa to introduce the rule
    – RoB
    Feb 21, 2014 at 9:45

1 Answer 1


This rule was first issued to the Football League referees prior to the 1982-83 season. FIFA instructed its referees to send off for this kind of foul prior to the 1990 World Cup. IFAB(International Football Association Board) incroporated this law in 1997.

The concept gained notoriety in association football after an infamous incident in the 1980 FA Cup Final when Willie Young of Arsenal committed a deliberate foul on Paul Allen of West Ham, when Allen had a clear run at goal. As the laws of the game stood, the referee (George Courtney) could only award West Ham a free kick, which he did. This provoked a national debate on deliberate fouls that denied opponents the chance to score a goal.

Source: WikiPedia
Video: YouTube


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