The score was 6-0 at half time. To make matters worse, the losing team had started the game with 10 men and had one man quit in the first 10 minutes bringing them down to 9 players.
“Neymar” was playing right wing for the winning team. I call him Neymar because he wore #11, had the Neymar colored hair and cut, and had Neymar-like technical skills (at least compared to the rest of the players on the pitch).
For whatever reason, “Neymar” decided to have some fun in the second half. It started with a rainbow over the defender that he successfully collected after running around the defender.
A few minutes later there was the double foot behind-the back toss over the defender (fortunately a different defender at least) that he successfully collected when the ball came back down. You know, this one:
This made me furious as a parent, as a coach and as a player. But as a referee I wrestled with my options. Law 12 of the Laws of the Game allows for yellow cards to be issued for “Unsporting Behavior.” One of the conditions that could apply is – “If a player acts in a manner which shows a lack of respect for the game.”
Loosely interpreted this could apply. However I will say that in both showboating occurrences “Neymar” was performing these tricks in line with his path to the goal (about 25 yards out). So it’s not like he turned around and started truly toying with the guy.
In the end, my card stayed in my pocket. I had a quiet but polite word with “Neymar” when I had an opportunity and left it at that.
Should I have given a yellow card? Was Law 12 appropriate here? Please– I would love some feedback on this one.