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The Laws of Soccer 101: Misconduct

Whether we are talking about soccer or society, it is a fact that misconduct must be penalized. If there were no threat of punishment for committing a crime, bad people would likely reign over the moral with ease. That is why in society we have laws, and in soccer we have Laws of the Game. Laws set forth standards of conduct that must be obeyed. 

In soccer, if you break a rule, you can give the other team a free kick (direct, indirect or penalty) and if you do something really bad (or persistently enough), you can get cautioned or even sent off. The red card is soccer’s version of the electric chair, the guillotine, and lethal injection all rolled into one. What does a player do to get a red?

Well, for the answer, we now must turn to our Pop Quiz Question: Which of the following offences can lead to a red card:

A. A serious foul featuring violent conduct;

B. Denying an obvious goal scoring opportunity via a foul;

C. Spitting at an opponent, engaging in verbal abuse, or just about anything else that pisses off the ref;

D. All of the Above.

It is, as always, (D). My point here is that the 12th Law of the Game dealing with misconduct – like many of the game’s rules – is subject to (for lack of a better word) subjectivity.  Punishments are left up to the ref, soccer’s feeble-minded judge. Just as in society, some soccer offences abhor almost everyone. Everyone thinks murder should be a crime.  

Pretty much everyone also thinks grabbing an opponent’s nuts a la Vinnie Jones in the picture above should be a red card. I don’t think that player/victim would complain about misconduct though. He would be too busy complaining about his missing testicles. Please come back soon to learn about Law 13, which is one punishment for misconduct.

The Free Kick (but not the Free Kick to the Nuts, at least unless Vinnie is playing).