Call foul (soccer/football)

keramus

Senior Member
Persian
Hello everybody

According to Oxford Collocations Dictionary, "call foul" is used in Basketball.
Can we use "call foul" in football/soccer?
The referee called foul and sent him off.

Please tell me your opinion.
 
  • Keith Bradford

    Senior Member
    English (Midlands UK)
    You can use this term in any activity. It's what a player or spectator (as well as the referee) may do if he sees an offence. "Foul, ref! Do you need glasses? That was a foul - where's your white stick?" and other such insults.

    In other contexts, e.g. "The opposition leader called foul when he saw police preventing citizens from voting."
     

    dojibear

    Senior Member
    English - Northeast US
    I agree with #3. Soccer uses the terms "foul" and "misconduct" (worse than "foul"). But the phrase "call foul" is new to me. I don't remember hearing "call foul" used in any sport.

    The word "foul" is a countable noun (in this meaning). So it requires "a/the" before it. More common is "the referee called a foul".

    "Foul" is also a verb meaning "commit a foul". "Robinson fouled Sanchez" means Robinson committed an action against Sanchez that is a "foul" by the rules of the game. In AE we would say this, even if the referee did not call a foul.

    Note that in some sports, "foul" a synonym for "out of bounds". This is normal in baseball, for example.
     

    PaulQ

    Senior Member
    UK
    English - England
    Yes. That is idiomatic.

    (There is a difference between "call foul" and call a foul".)
     

    dojibear

    Senior Member
    English - Northeast US
    Excuse me, can I use "give a foul"?
    The referee gave a foul.
    A "foul" (noun) is an action by a player. It is not something that the referee gives a player.

    The phrase "The referee called a foul on Thomas" means that the referee (after stopping the game) announced that Thomas had committed a foul. The referee might then "give" Thomas a penalty for the foul, or "give" Thomas' team a penalty.
     

    JulianStuart

    Senior Member
    English (UK then US)
    A "foul" (noun) is an action by a player. It is not something that the referee gives a player.

    The phrase "The referee called a foul on Thomas" means that the referee (after stopping the game) announced that Thomas had committed a foul. The referee might then "give" Thomas a penalty for the foul, or "give" Thomas' team a penalty.
    This is AE usage. I have not yet got a clear picture of how it all works for each sport in AE and BE. (For example, in basketball, it is possible to say “Team A has a foul to give” but that’s completely different from a foul in soccer.)
    I grew up with the use of “on” referring to the player that suffered the foul, not the one who committed it, so if I caught the end of a sentence: “... a foul on Thomas” I would interpret it (then) as someone fouled Thomas (but now, in AE, I would hear it as Thomas committed the foul. And if Thomas was offside, for example (playing the ball in an offside piosition is a “foul”) then he would be called offside, and not “Offside was called on Thomas”, as perhaps AE soccer commentators might. So I remain confused - one of the few areas my bilingualism lets me down:( :D
     
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