Soccer Referee Resources
Ask a Question
Recent Questions

Previous You-Call-It's

VAR (Video Assistant Referee)

Q&A Quick Search
The Field of Play
The Ball
The Players
The Players Equipment
The Referee
The Other Match Officials
The Duration of the Match
The Start and Restart of Play
The Ball In and Out of Play
Determining the Outcome of a Match
Fouls and Misconduct
Free Kicks
Penalty kick
Throw In
Goal Kick
Corner Kick

Common Sense
Kicks - Penalty Mark
The Technical Area
The Fourth Official
Attitude and Control
League Specific
High School

Common Acronyms
Meet The Ref
Contact AskTheRef
Help Wanted
About AskTheRef

Soccer Rules Changes 1580-2000

Panel Login

Question Number: 30276

Law 1- The Field 4/11/2016

RE: Adult

Jamie of Levin, New Zealand asks...

This question is a follow up to question 12117

Goalkeeper handles the ball in the penalty arc. Should this be a direct or indirect free kick to the attacking team?

Answer provided by Referee Jason Wright

Hi Jamie,

The Penalty Arc is not part of the Penalty Area. It's only purpose is ensure players are 10yards away from the ball at a penalty kick - so it's a distance marker, not an area boundary. If a defender deliberately handles the ball inside the arc, it's simply a direct free kick, not a penalty kick.

Read other questions answered by Referee Jason Wright

View Referee Jason Wright profile

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Jamie
The arc is not part of the penalty area. It is there to assist at a penalty kick by keeping players other than the kicker 10 yards from the ball.
If the goalkeeper handles the ball in that arc the restart is a direct free kick. The offence nay also merit either a caution or a dismissal depending on the circumstances. It might just be a free kick only such as the GK carrying the ball out of the area in error on a punt.

Read other questions answered by Referee Joe McHugh

View Referee Joe McHugh profile

Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

Hi James,
only the base of the D arc (the straight section paralleling the goal line 18 yd away is part of the penalty area the curved portion is outside the PA as part of the FOP. If the ball is in contact/overhang with that straight section of 5 inch borderline within the arc then the keeper could use his hands . Other than that it is a DFK for handling the ball deliberately and possible cause for cardable misconduct resulting in a caution or send off. As mentioned its only function is to indicate where players can not be during the taking of a pk! Keeper upon running forward and punting the ball often extend their arms when tossing the ball out in front have been known to carry the ball outside the PA. We generally warn if it close but I have seen inexperienced keepers actually run to the top of the arc not grasping they are outside their PA.


Read other questions answered by Referee Richard Dawson

View Referee Richard Dawson profile

Ask a Follow Up Question to Q# 30276
Read other Q & A regarding Law 1- The Field

Soccer Referee Extras

Did you Ask the Ref? Find your answer here.

Enter Question Number

If you received a response regarding a submitted question enter your question number above to find the answer

Offside Question?

Offside Explained by Chuck Fleischer & Richard Dawson, Former & Current Editor of AskTheRef

This web site and the answers to these questions are not sanctioned by or affiliated with any governing body of soccer. The free opinions expressed on this site should not be considered official interpretations of the Laws of the Game and are merely opinions of AskTheRef and our panel members. If you need an official ruling you should contact your state or local representative through your club or league. On AskTheRef your questions are answered by a panel of licensed referees. See Meet The Ref for details about our panel members. While there is no charge for asking the questions, donation to maintain the site are welcomed! <>