Thursday, 30 December 2010

Urban Myth No 2. "He has to let him up".

"How often do we hear this?

Loose ball, defender goes to ground to gather it.  Attacker arrives over the defender and everyone shouts "he has to let him up".  Usually the attacker obliges by waiting for the defender to get to his feet before tackling him and putting him straight back onto the floor.  But does he need to?

The simple answer is no.  The phrase "he has to let him up" isn't mentioned anywhere in the 'Laws of the Game'.  A better phrase to shout might be "play the ball".

Let's look at what the law actually says:


(a) A player with the ball must immediately do one of three things:
• Get up with the ball
• Pass the ball
• Release the ball.
Sanction: Penalty kick

(a) Falling over the player on the ground with the ball. A player must not intentionally fall on
or over a player with the ball who is lying on the ground.
Sanction: Penalty kick

So what does that mean exactly?  Well the clue is in the definition at the front of the law and specifically one phrase:

The Game is to be played by players who are on their feet. A player must not
make the ball unplayable by falling down. Unplayable means that the ball is not
immediately available to either team so that play may continue.

So the player who goes to ground must do one of three things "immediately".  Get up, pass, or release the ball.  If an opposition player arrives, who is on his feet, the ball must be immediately available to him if he wants it, providing he stays on his feet.

So the player on the floor has three options, but if a player on his feet wants the ball he MUST release the ball to that player.  His options evaporate at that time, "the man on his feet is king".

There is no obligation for the arriving player to let him, up, only to stay on his feet and play the ball.  The man who is off his feet must then release it, immediately.

Urban Myth No 2...........Busted!

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