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Soccer Rules Changes 1580-2000

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Question Number: 33915

Law 12 - Fouls and Misconduct 3/9/2020

RE: All Levels Under 14

JAMES NEARY of LEXINGTON, SC United States asks...

Mid-Fielder passes the ball (with the foot) backwards and is 'intended' for the center defender who cannot make the pass due to the pace of the ball and it therefore rolls into the penalty area where the keeper picks the ball up.

Deliberate pass-back?

Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

Hi James,
it is rather funny as this portion of the law actually has intent as part of the equation .
A referee can assume there was or there was not intent for the ball to be kicked by the team mate to the keeper .
One decision play on, the other, INDFK.
Is it fair?
That is a better question because .

In a u -17 match the defending player made a long throw towards his PA.
A second defender was in the vicinity but appeared to be unaware of the ball flight until it was past him, he did chase it, shielded it from an onrushing attacker but he never actually physically touched the ball and the keeper picked it up. Whistle or no whistle? By the LOTG a keeper is NOT supposed to use his hands on a direct throw in by a teammate?

Similar to the back heel as a deliberate kicking motion
If indeed it was INTENDED as a pass to another defender who was inattentive or misjudged the ball's direction or power but the ball went to the PA where the keeper used their hands it is my opinion a RISKY proposition because a referee is not a mind reader.
A good referee CAN assume or discern certain things because he is aware of the context and abilities of the players within the framework of normal soccer situations .

Remember the INDFK loss of ball possession with little effort by the attacking team, could give an unearned scoring opportunity? I think best we were sure it was rather than guess! That said your match, your decision, your reputation.

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Answer provided by Referee Peter Grove

Hi James,
Based on your description, as far as I'm concerned this doesn't meet the criteria for a ball deliberately kicked to the goalkeeper by a team mate.

I would agree with what ref McHugh says about the apparent tendency for this to be called more often than it should in the US - and the reason for this. The now discontinued and 'no longer approved for use' Advice to Referees from the USSF did have a lot of useful information but unfortunately it also (in my opinion, and that of others) contained some misconceptions about some aspects of the law.

One of these was its guidance on how a ball deliberately kicked to the goalkeeper should be treated. I have said this in the past, but the way the USSF looked at this, it was almost as if the words 'to the goalkeeper' were not part of the law. Their attitude seemed to be that so long as the ball was deliberately kicked by a team mate and so long as the keeper then touched the ball with the hands, an offence had occurred. Yes, they mentioned a couple of minor exceptions but in such a way that it didn't really detract from the overall message that any ball deliberately kicked by a team mate, could not subsequently be handled by the goalie.

I - and I would venture to suggest, most referees and refereeing authorities outside the US, saw this differently. For us, it was only if the ball was originally (and clearly) intended to go to the goalkeeper that the keeper was (and is) prohibited from using their hands.

There is a phrase that the IFAB used in a slightly different context, that I think is wholly applicable here and it goes as follows:

''the referee must only be convinced that this was the player's motive.''

So for me, unless you are quite, quite sure that the player, when they kicked the ball, intended for it to go to their goalkeeper, then you should not penalise it.

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Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi James
As described it was not a deliberate kick TO the goalkeeper yet is that the way the referee saw it?
Referees are not mind readers and if it looked like a kick to the goalkeeper then it would be punished by an IDFK.
I would make the point that this is an offence that appears to be called more strictly in the US and goalkeepers should be mindful of that in erring on the side of caution by kicking the ball rather than handling. The web has many videos of these being called more commonly in the US?
These two in my opinion should not have been called yet they were called as IDFKs. After the first one the GK should probably have known that the second one was likely to be called!
I believe the genesis of this was the so called triangle concept espoused by USSF in its ATR which included one side being deliberate, the other side a kick of the ball and the third use of the hands. It failed to take account of the key word which is TO the goalkeeper. The ATR at a time did say that it **does not include situations in which the ball has been, in the opinion of the referee, accidentally deflected or misdirected** although misdirected seemed to be ignored by many?
The current Law 12 wording says ** it has been deliberately kicked to the goalkeeper by a team-mate** and in fact Law 12 has been amended this year to exclude situations where the goalkeeper has miskicked the ball after a back-pass clearance say up in the air and he subsequently touches the ball with the hands which is not now an offence.
That is tacit support by IFAB of not wanting to punish doubtful situations yet only clear situations where the ball has been kicked TO the goalkeeper not a mis-kick, tackle etc
In the two examples we can say that they were deliberate kicks yet not TO the goalkeeper yet for other reasons ended up there. The GK has six seconds to get the ball back into play which addresses the key reason why the law was introduced in the first place.
Referees should not, in my opinion, penalise doubtful offences yet we know from the site that does not happen.

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