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Question Number: 28710

Law 10 - Method of Scoring 9/7/2014

RE: D1 College

Nick Sarris of Mentor, Ohio USA asks...

Our player (forward) heads a ball at the same time as their goalie catches it, but goalie falls back into goal with ball. Is that not a goal? Results were our player received a yellow card and no goal was called.

Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

Well Nick,
given the referee in the match did not consider it a goal, we are without a video to analyze, chances are slim we could arrive at a different decision. We can make only assumptions. It is not unimaginable that the head and hands could arrive at the same time but if the bodies are in the air the referee will be looking at the speed, direction and care shown with regards to the safety of the participants. You might envision it a tie and a fair 50/50 but if there was bodily contact. If the force of that challenge knocks the keeper over, since it appears the referee had determined the keeper had ball possession, (from which an opponent must pull out of any challenge) and that the contact by your striker was reckless. There can be no goal awarded if in the opinion of the referee, the opposition has fouled the keeper. If the keeper had simply fallen into the goal carrying the ball with him over the goal line under the cross bar and between the posts without the referee being convinced of your striker's unfair nudge, only then might a goal have been awarded. The restart should be a direct free kick out from anywhere inside the goal area given your version of the events.

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Answer provided by Referee Jason Wright

Hi Nick,

Often the keeper will fall back as part of a legal aerial challenge, and if - in doing so - he wholly carries the ball over the line, then that's a goal. When you have 2 players coming together in the air then as long as neither player is unfairly playing the opponent, then a collision will often happen. Sometimes the keeper is also simply off-balanced when he lands.

What sometimes occurs here (and bear in mind the referee was probably closer than you were, so may have been able to sport something you couldn't) is that the attacker will move his body into the keeper while/before jumping to block or even knock him off balance for the challenge. In doing this there can be a fine line between a foul challenge, and fairly muscling for position. The other possibility, of course, is that the striker either pushed the keeper, or had a hold of his jersey holding him down (which can be hard to spot from the wrong angle).

The card could be from the severity of the challenge, or from what the referee perceived to be the extremely unfair act of committing a foul to score a goal (that's not necessarily going to be a card, but I know some referee are fairly quick to card in that situation).

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Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Nick
What I suspect has happened here is that the referee has considered the aerial challenge by the attacker on the goalkeeper as reckless, knocking him back into the goal with the ball in his grasp. That will result in no goal being awarded, a caution for unsporting behaviour to the forward and a free kick to the defending team inside the goal area.
Whether there was foul contact or the manner of same that is a judgement call by the referee based on his angle of view and what he saw. Without seeing it but if the contact between the goalkeeper who has caught the ball and the forward is sufficient to knock the goalkeeper back into the goal with the ball in his grasp that will be considered reckless. Rarely will the ball be headed first in these situations with the goalkeeper then able to grasp the ball and hold on to it.
If the goalkeeper has lost balance and fallen with the ball into the goal then there is no foul and a goal will be awarded.

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