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Question Number: 32865

Law 12 - Fouls and Misconduct 11/5/2018

RE: Rec Adult

Russell of Sydney, Australia asks...


Fast forward to the 7.10 mark in the link below.

Could this have been an IDFK when the Southhampton defender nips the ball away from the chelsea forward?

I feel the defender knew exactly what he was doing in intercepting the ball and playing it back to his keeper in this day and age of keepers playing with their feet, however, I don't think he expected the keeper to use his hands.

Very very unusual to see a something like this regarding the location / intervention of the play. It just reeks of a deliberate kick to the keeper, but with the surprise the the keeper dived on the ball.

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Russell
I watched this match in real time. It was viewed as a challenge by the Southampton player and therefore not a deliberate kick to the goalkeeper.
I have opined for a long time that this law should only be used to deal with the *deliberate* kick to the goalkeeper not situations that are doubtful / trifling involving tackles, deflections etc
In this instance it was debateable what the defender was trying to do. Yes he might have being trying to kick the ball back to the GK in the tackle yet he may also have been trying to kick it out for a corner or to an outfield team mate? In addition the GK has 6 seconds to release the ball back into play..
The referee by calling this would have created bother for himself and the game. It gets into then dealing with dissent / complaints, setting up walls, dealing with encroachment etc when the simple decision is to do nothing and see it as not deliberate.

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Answer provided by Referee Peter Grove

Hi Russell,
I used to referee a lot of youth games, where the line between what is deliberate and what is accidental, is even more blurry than in adult games. I may have gone a little bit too far in the other direction but I had a purely personal rule of thumb in such 'u-little' games that unless the player pretty much had the ball under control, turned, made eye contact with their keeper and then played it back, I wasn't inclined to give it as a deliberate kick to the keeper.

Unless there is something else of a clear nature that raises suspicions as to what is going on I would still be tending towards giving the benefit of the doubt to the defender even in adult games, especially whenever their playing of the ball came as part of a challenge for the ball with an opponent.

I quoted a phrase in a previous response on this topic, that came from FIFA circular 488. The phrase was that, ''the referee must only be convinced that this was the player's motive.'' Although the phrase was actually being used in relation to the 'deliberate circumvention' offence, as I said then, I think the same principle could be applied to the 'deliberate kick to the keeper' offence. So for me, unless the referee is convinced that the player's motive in kicking the ball was to play it to their keeper, they should probably not give it as an offence.

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Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

HI Russell,
it is interesting that the LOTG in this instance would prefer us to base our decision on what we THINK was the defenders intent rather than the direct result of his actions. I question this slightly because the direct effect of the ball being kicked by a teammate to the keeper the opposition CAN attack, pursue & pressure that ball in that instance given the LOTG state the keeper cannot use his hands. I have seen hasty clearances where the keeper was unsure if he could use his hands botch the kick and in effect turn it over or even have a goal scored against him. I say this is exactly what the law was passed for, to prevent wasting time & more importantly reward attacking soccer! Where I am more lenient is if no attacker is pursuing or creating a challenge then it becomes in my mind more trifling not necessarily doubtful. None of us want an accidental redirect off a legitimate challenge to be mistaken for a deliberate kick to the keeper. I think most of those, given there is a potential for a foul in stripping the ball, is COMPLETELY different than if the defender in holding the ball & afraid of losing to the attacker and kicks the ball away towards the direction of the keeper due to being pressured for control. WE should not reward mistakes and when opponents CREATE the situation through their effort to win the ball, I think, perhaps as my own opinion, they deserve to be rewarded if the keeper use their hands when they really should not! IN any match you as the referee can indeed go with the decision for an INDFK if you as referee feel that was indeed the object of the defenders deliberate kick & the keeper should NOT be able to use their hands.

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