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: 33619

Law 9 - The Ball in and out of Play 9/4/2019

RE: Ex Referee, 5 a side football comp Adult

Geoffrey Collier of Eastbourne, East Sussex United Kingdom asks...

Handball ? I know what Rule 12 states but for clarification....

Goalkeeper is in the penalty area but picks up the ball which is half in and half outside the penalty area line by stretching out his hands over the line to collect it. His feet stay in the area

Handball ?

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Geoffrey
It is an accepted norm in the laws that all of the ball has to be over all of the line to be outside the area to which that line delineates. If part of the ball is touching the line it is considered that it is in that area
So if any part of the ball is-touching any part of the penalty area line or plane of the line the ball is deemed to be inside the area.
Once the ball is deemed inside the area the ball can be touched by hand by the goalkeeper and there is no offence.
The position of the body or the hands are not relevant. At an extreme a goalkeeper could be totally outside the penalty area and use his hands to touch the part of the ball that is over the line with part of the ball on the line and there is no handling offence.

Read other questions answered by Referee Joe McHugh

View Referee Joe McHugh profile

Answer provided by Referee Jason Wright

Hi Geoffrey,

We don't consider which part of the ball is being handled (which is a bit different to fouls against players - where a kick of a leg outside the PA when the player is half inside the PA would NOT result in a PK). We simply consider the overall position of the ball - and 'half in, half out' of the PA is considered in the PA. So, if any part of the ball is being handled - even if it's JUST the part outside, we consider it to be inside the PA.

Look at it another way - what if the ball was on a boundary line, 50% out. And a player handles only that part of the ball that's out - what are you going to do?

You award a DFK on the line, because the ball is still in. So, the same principle applies around the PA.

Read other questions answered by Referee Jason Wright

View Referee Jason Wright profile

Answer provided by Referee Peter Grove

Hi Geoffrey,
If I understand your description correctly there is no handball offence here. I have to say I'm a little puzzled by your use of the wording 'half in and half outside the penalty area.' Because in law, there is no such thing. If any part of the ball is overhanging the penalty area line, the ball is inside the area. If no part of the ball is overhanging the line, it is outside the area.

It's similar to the ball being in or out of play. Just as the ball is either out of play or not, it's either in the penalty area or not - there are no halfway measures.

Finally, it's not the position of the player that counts, it's the position of the ball. If the ball is in the area (which as mentioned, includes when it's overhanging the line) when the keeper handles it, there is no offence. It makes no difference where the keeper's feet are.

Read other questions answered by Referee Peter Grove

View Referee Peter Grove profile

Ask a Follow Up Question to Q# 33619
Read other Q & A regarding Law 9 - The Ball in and out of Play

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! <>