In dubio pro reo principle in football?

In fact, the in dubio pro reo principle that the attacking player is proved right in case of doubt, i.e. the game is not interrupted, has never existed in football. This is not about the principle of presumption of innocence.

Sometimes this principle is confused with the existing advantage rule. However, this rule is used when a team has a disadvantage (for example a foul play), but remains in possession of the ball.

In the offside rule, the rule of „same height“ is often mistakenly considered to be the dubio pro reo principle. The „same height“ rule is still part of the offside rule, namely since 1990, at the suggestion of the FA and the Scottish FA. However, it only applies to the case where the player of the attacking team is not offside, even if s*he is at (exactly!) the same height as the second last player. It has also been interpreted in this way before, namely in Germany in 1929.

The referee evaluates everything s*he has seen or has been informed about through his/her assistants. If necessary, s*he shall then consult with them or the player concerned. Anything not seen by him*her will not be assessed. (Also, the VAR is an assistant referee. The abbreviation resolved means video assistant referee).

But even this does not correspond to the dubio pro reo principle, but to the referee’s decision of facts. This was introduced in 1893 at the suggestion of the FA: The decision of the referee is final when the game is restarted. And that is why it is so important that he/she is really sure about the evaluation.

Since the Laws of the Game 2019/20, the referee cannot review the restart of play, but may, under certain circumstances, show tickets for a previous incident. The reason for this: if an assistant referee (AR) indicates that a yellow or red card is to be imposed for an offence, but the referee does not see or hear about it until after the restart, the cards can still be imposed retrospectively. However, the restart associated with the infraction does not then apply.

Kategorie: English


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