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Question Number: 33690

High School 10/5/2019

RE: Competitive High School

Jim Lynch of Tacoma, Washington Pierce asks...

10/5/19- ball kicked by player to the feet of opposing keeper, but keeper waits a LONG time before picking it up in an obvious attempt to stall, and then waits 30+ seconds after picking it up before punting or otherwise distributing it. Are there any rules regarding how long a keeper can stall, and what is the consequence for violating those rules? PK? Yellow card on keeper?

Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

Hi Jim,
while the keeper IS restricted by the LOTG for holding onto the ball too long with his hands during active play, it does offer a reasonable time limit to release the ball ONCE he has physically picked it up in his hands (6 seconds plus some time to compose themselves)

There is NO restriction on how long the keeper or in fact any player can dribble the ball around with their feet or other legal body parts on the FOP while the ball is in play. The keeper has use of hands inside their own PA but only for a very short time and only under certain circumstances.

There is misconduct possible for delaying the restart of play AFTER the ball is not in play, on things like free kicks or throw ins. A caution show a yellow might be necessary. You need to reflect on time to retrieve ball and sorting things out, ball placement, whether a substitution is occurring. So the margins of time will be quite long, however, once the ball is placed & ready to be put in play the player will be held accountable for fooling around & delays as USB.

You can USE up time legally as long as the opposition is not prevented from challenging for possession while the ball is in play. In cases where during live play the keeper gain possession of the ball with the hands the 6 seconds to release it are not always exactly 6 seconds I grant you, but 30 seconds is FAR too long.

Usually the referee will warn the keeper to 'get on with it!' and if it continues an INDFK awarded . No real reason to caution the 1st time given an INDFK scoring opportunity is very good deterrent . A keeper would have to be very obtuse or a referee extraordinary lenient to engage in such theatrics.

In a match where an offside player was in pursuit the ball, the AR popped an early flag which was waved down by the CR because the keeper was clearly going to get to it well ahead of the offside player. The keeper though was a thinker, the ball rolled tight up and into the PA area off to the side of the goal area about 3 yards from goal line. The wet grass had slowed the ball to a dead stop.
The keeper looked down saw the PIOP veer away
The PIOP was fully expecting the keeper to pick the ball up.
The keeper just stood there over the ball.
The PIOP restriction was not reset BECAUSE the keeper had NOT yet touched the ball. Our PIOP begins his run in a 2nd time to force the keeper to play the ball
In doing so could give up an INDFK for offside if in fact he did so.

The keeper well aware, decided to dribble the ball ahead of the actual challenge and move out onto the corner flag thereby resetting the offside.

Now the attacker is free to challenge and does so, to which the keeper then dribbles the ball BACK into the PA reaches down and picks the ball up WITH his hands inside his PA.

Nothing wrong so far .
Keeper now must release the ball and he cannot pick it up again once he does. The attacker fully expecting the keeper to punt the ball now withdraws. The keeper pretends to make the punt but stops, drops the ball on the ground and dribbles it once again outside the PA, moving up along the touchline until when challenged again, he kicks the ball way up the field.
This keeper used up a large chunk of time legally by understanding the LOTG and the fact the opposition was NEVER prevented from challenging. They were just bad at pressuring tactically,expecting the keeper to make choices that he simply was never forced to make until later .


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Answer provided by Referee Peter Grove

Hi Jim,

As my colleagues have pointed out, there is no limit on the amount of time a goalkeeper can wait before picking the ball up. However once they pick the ball up, NFHS Rule 12, section 7 would apply. It states:

''From the moment the goalkeeper takes control of the ball with the hands when playing as a goalkeeper within his/her own penalty area, he/she has six seconds in which to release the ball into play.
PENALTY: Indirect free kick awarded to the opponent at the spot of the violation, unless in the goal area.''

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Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Jim
There is no restriction on the amount of time that a goalkeeper can stall with his ball at his feet before picking it up. It is up to the opponents to limit that stall time through pressuring him to either kick it away or picking it up.
However once the goalkeeper picks the ball up he has 6 seconds to release the ball back into play. You say that the goalkeeper held the ball for 30+ seconds after picking the ball up. That would be an inordinately long time to do this for and it should have been penalized.
One finds that once the goalkeeper is tardy on the release after the pick up of the ball into the hands that the opponents start shouting about the length of time taken and that happens fairly quickly usually around the 6 second mark. That puts pressure on to release. It is not unusual to see 10/12 seconds go unpunished yet never 30!
The offence of not releasing the ball inside the time period is punished by an IDFK only and no card.

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Answer provided by Referee Jason Wright

Hi Jim,
There are no rules governing the stall part - because while the ball is at the keeper's feet it can be challenged. The opposing team can force the keeper to make a decision (release or handle it) at any point.

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