Level 4 Referee
As a solicitor you will probably have noticed that if you followed the good book and all its relevant circulars you would come out with some interesting decisions given its poor copy..You have explained the decision that you would give on the field of play, absolutely. I fully appreciate that. But my instinct - probably because of my job as a solicitor - is to go back to the source material for the offence. I think that given the emphasis on this forum about being "correct in law" that this is an instinct most referees also share. Going back to the source material for the offence, which includes the FIFA Circular, it is necessary to consider whether, by kneeing the ball, the player is circumventing both the text and the spirit of the back pass law. I have suggested that the spirit of the back pass law is to avoid time-wasting and Peter Grove agreed with that (stating "The intent of the law being about time-wasting is... applicable to the backpass law"). So I think the position is one of the following (and, look, I am not trying to "win" an argument, I just genuinely love this analytical process and trying to get to some kind of objective truth):
(When I refer to "you" above, I mean the various posters, not just you specifically.)
- to support the decision you would give on the field of play, you feel the spirit of the back pass law is not (just) about time wasting; or
- the decision you would give on the field of play feels intuitive, but by the wording of the law is actually incorrect.
If it is the first bullet point, that's great, the conversation moves forward and my next question is "how do we identify the spirit of the back pass law", which perhaps means referring to the FIFA meeting where the rule was introduced to see what their purpose was.
If it is the second bullet point, that's great too, there is nothing wrong with misunderstanding something, and now we have all learned and move forward.
And if you think there is a third option, please let me know what this is. Genuinely just here to learn.
Let's not get caught up on a circular that predates the current edition of the laws. The game expects circumvention to be Penalised.
In my view, that's the only test. Was the players action designed to circumvent the law. If that is true it should be Penalised. You are far far over complicating it.