One of the hardest concepts for referees to master is recognizing when a challenge for the ball is unfair. There are many angles to view a play from and it might be possible for a referee to see a foul from one position and not from another. Foul Recognition is the bread and butter of refereeing and the better you become at it the better your officiating will be.
Fouls are generally caused during the challenge for the ball. While it is very rare to have a perfectly legal challenge for the ball, since players in the heat of the moment will commit trifling fouls all the time, there are some very basic elements of a “fair challenge” that should be present. Those elements are:
The contact must be in the shoulder area.
The arms must be close to the body.
Both players must have at least one foot on the ground.
The ball must be in playing distance of both players.
It must be non-violent.
Referees should look for these elements when determining whether or not a challenge is fair. If one or more of these elements are missing then you may very well have a foul on your hands.