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Question Number: 32868

Law 12 - Fouls and Misconduct 11/6/2018

RE: Rec Adult

Russell of Sydney, Australia asks...

This question is a follow up to question 32865

IDFK follow up.

Important points to consider in the feedback from the panel.
I asked the question to promote dialog on what to and what not to consider when moments like these come our way, and certainly only want to make a call on what I feel is right, and at the very least in the spirit of the game " or as the panel like to say 'what would the game expect or want'.
As Ref Grove mention's, we might look at this differently depending on the age and skill level of a match.
Ref Dawson makes a good observation that if the attacking team are not pursuing the ball " do we need to bother with 'gotcha' rulings.

All that said, I wonder if we are placing too much attention on the defenders part in this as it is not an offence to pass the ball deliberately to a keeper. It is an offence if the KEEPER subsequently uses their hands.

Having seen so much football, played so much football (in every position on the park), ref'd a reasonable amount of football, I still feel this was a deliberate kick as his mechanic's are all made with what appears to be his intension and that is perfectly legal. He could have cleared it for a corner as Ref McHugh mentions, but that would have needed different body position and leg movement etc.
I say this as I still see this particular incident as a deliberate kick to the keeper and have no issue with it, and as a sidebar, applaud his strength of character to place belief in himself and the keeper to deal with it, and by itself it is not a foul. The keeper created the potential for the IDFK by using their hands.
While we know a CR has one shot at it, and we must learn our trade knowing this, I wonder that, maybe we should not dismiss the ability to sit in an armchair with remote in hand to make ruling as these days VAR is becoming part of the fabric of the game, and who's to know if any reader of this site will one day sit on a VAR panel.
If VAR was used in this match, I would imagine they would review this incident and make a call on it - whichever way it goes.

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Russell
I played the game long before the so called *back-pass* rule. As a result it only sits well with me when the situation is the certain deliberate kick to the goalkeeper when there is no doubt or possible question about the intention.
When there is doubt I see little reason to find that a clear offence exists that needs to be called.
Let me pose this scenario that happened in a game that I officiated a few years ago. At a goal kick the ball was somewhat miskicked by the goalkeeper. The centre half trying to recover the situation tried to kick the ball which he did some 15/20 yards shorts if half way. The ball went flying back to the goalkeeper who had to save the ball knocking it around the post. I awarded a corner kick. In my mind I did not know what the defender was trying to do. It was certainly a deliberate kick yet was it intended for the goalkeeper, was he trying to kick it on across /up the field and both were miskicked? Interestingly there was no appeal as the players believed it could not be a *passback* yet without knowing the mind of the player it could easily have been just very poorly executed.
In the slide challenge, tackle under pressure there is significant doubt as to the intention so I opine that referees should lean towards the no call.
In the scheme of things the presence of the law has stopped the reason it was introduced which was to prevent constant back passing to the goalkeeper who then withheld the ball from challenge. It is a pretty rare offence now and for that reason the doubtful ones do not need to be called.

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Answer provided by Referee Peter Grove

Hi Russell,
I may be misconstruing what you are saying but it seems to me that you are leaning a bit too much towards the interpretation formerly espoused by the USSF (and which I think was wrong) that pretty much all the referee has to decide is whether the ball was deliberately kicked or not. You actually say in your question, ''I still feel this was a deliberate kick ...'' However the law does not say that it is an offence simply because the ball was deliberately kicked and (to use your words again) ''the KEEPER subsequently uses their hands.''

What the law says is that it is only an offence if the ball ''has been deliberately kicked to the goalkeeper.'' For the offence to be judged the way I think you seem to be suggesting, we would have to remove the words ''to the goalkeeper.''

So if the wording was, ''An indirect free kick is awarded if a goalkeeper, inside their penalty area, touches the ball with the hands after it has been deliberately kicked by a team-mate,'' then you would be right to give an IFK for the incident in question and the USSF would have been right in their former interpretation of this kind of offence. But that's not what the law says.

As I said before, this law for me all comes down to the phrase that I have lifted from the 1992 FIFA circular on circumvention, about the referee being convinced about the player's motive. I firmly believe the offence should only be given if the referee is convinced the player intended to play the ball to the keeper and to borrow another phrase - but from a legal setting, I think the referee has to be convinced ''beyond a reasonable doubt.'' If there are grounds for reasonable doubt as to the player's motive, I think the offence should not be given.

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Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

HI Russel,
based on your view the keeper should NOT have used his hands but then did he have a clear view of WHAT the defender did? It is interesting that intent is a consideration when in fact they, meaning IFAB/FIFA tried to take intent out of most fouls to look at the deliberate action itself to determine fair or foul be it careless reckless or excessive. Here as a technical infraction I digress it would use the phrase, only a deliberate kick, because for the very reason a slide tackle intended to knock a ball away from an opponent could easily be directed towards ones own goal and of course the keeper would try to stop it as a save using the hand. If you were of the opinion the defender tried to play the ball back to the keeper using a deliberate kick and the keeper used their hands it is an INDFK. If you thought a ball was simply kicked away from an opponent by the keeper's team mate and it went in the general direction of the keeper you are entitled to think it not an offense to pick the ball up given how it occurred . Do we really think defenders want to score an own goal? In essence it is a techy call that can award a scoring opportunity out of nothing , however, we must still realize that the non handling restriction CAN benefit the opposition & if they are in pursuit, creating the pressure which caused the defender to attempt to play the ball towards the keeper using a deliberate kick we do not reward mistakes.

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