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Soccer Rules Changes 1580-2000

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Question Number: 33961

Law 12 - Fouls and Misconduct 7/12/2020

Petr of Prague, Czech Republic Czech Republic asks...

This question is a follow up to question 33957

Thank you Mr McHugh, but its still not clear to me.


Defenders hand makes his body unnaturally bigger (or is above his shoulder level).

S1: Ball hits his body (or leg, head etc.). Then the ball deflects and hits his hand. It is not defende*ss deliberate play. Is it offence or not?

S2: A teammate kicks the ball and hits his hand. Is it offence or not? Who is *another player*? :-)

I find both variants of the answer in both cases on the web. :-)

And one more question please.

Part of the rule:

An indirect free kick is awarded if a goalkeeper, inside their penalty area,
commits any of the following offences:

- touches the ball with the hand/arm, unless the goalkeeper has clearly kicked
or attempted to kick the ball to release it into play, after:
- it has been deliberately kicked to the goalkeeper by a team-mate
- receiving it directly from a throw-in taken by a team-mate

Please explain this part of the sentence:

'the goalkeeper has clearly kicked or attempted to kick the ball to release it into play'.

Thank you very much!

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Petr
As always there is no certainty in handling call except the few such as scoring a goal off the arm, creating a goalscoring opportunity off the arm and the goalkeeper second touch using a hand. In general under the new advice if a player plays the ball and it then hits his arm it is not an offence.
Let me pose this question. How many times would a referee have to deal with a ball hitting some part of a players body or played by the player and then hitting an outstretched arm in an unnatural position? The vast majority of the time the ball will make contact directly with the arm.
So I would say S1 is not an offence.
S2 can be any other player including a team mate. If the kick hits his team mate and then deflects on to his arm it is not handling. If the same kick hits his outstretched arm directly which was making the player unnaturally bigger it would be handling.
The view is that a ball deflecting off a player is highly unlikely that the player could do anything or know anything about the ball hitting him. The example of Rojo heading the ball on to his arm is a perfect example. Had the ball hit his arm directly in that position it would likely be called as handling.
After some searching I came up with this video
At the time the referee gave a penalty kick. It is obvious to me that it could not be intentional and that it was not deliberate. Okay I could see how he gave it due to the raised arm above the head. I would opine that the current Law advice does not see this as handling.

On the second part of your question it is to deal with situations where on a backpass a goalkeeper miss kicks the ball up in the air and then plays/ catches the ball with the hand. In the past that was an IDFK offence whereas now it is NOT now considered a technical offence.
Here are two examples of what is intended in the new Law
On the first one no other player touched the ball other than the goalkeeper so in the past that technically could have been called an IDFK. Did not appear to be called yet it could have been.
On the second one had the goalkeeper managed to grab the ball away from the scorer that would have been an offence under the old law. The change is to take account of such circumstances where a goalkeeper miskicks the ball and then tries to recover his mistake by using his hands.
Here is an example of the exact change
The goalkeeper mis-kicks the ball, the ball then hits the post and the GK saves. The referee at the time gave the IDFK as he opined that as the ball had not touched another player that the handling restriction on the backpass remained. IFAB is of the view that is unfair and that now it is NOT an offence in such situations.

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Answer provided by Referee Peter Grove

Hi Petr,
I think I agree with the general point in your earlier post, that the new "clarifications" on handling from the IFAB are still somewhat confusing and I think the specific points you mention are a good illustration of that.

As ref McHugh says, the answer to S1 is still not certain. I would say that an accidental deflection from a player's own body onto their hand should not be an offence but the way the wording refers only to a deliberate play makes it somewhat ambiguous.

On S2 I think there is no real doubt over what "another player" means. Any player other than the player themself, is another player - whether team mate or opponent. The question for me is only whether the incident meets the criteria for a ball kicked directly by a player who is close, or not.

I also don't see too much confusion about the last part of your question. The phrase, ''the goalkeeper has clearly kicked or attempted to kick the ball to release it into play,'' seems fairly self-explanatory. Ref McHugh has given some video links that demonstrate the kind of scenario envisaged. What is perhaps less clear, is the rationale behind it so here's the explanation the IFAB gave at the time they introduced this amendment:

"When the GK clearly kicks or tries to kick the ball into play, this shows no intention to handle the ball so, if the ‘clearance’ attempt is unsuccessful, the goalkeeper can then handle the ball without committing an offence."

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Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

HI Petr,
truthfully I have about given up trying to decipher instructions on handling . It may never be completely clear just hopefully applied equally to both sides.

If a player deliberately plays the ball but it goes awry, say off the foot or head, it then
deflects into

his OWN arm
or directly into a team mate's arm
or indirectly hits team mate who might try to play it then hits the arm
or off an opponent's arm

or the ball is NOT played deliberately but the deflection is

onto his own arm
a team mates arm
or indirectly hits team mate who might try to play it then hits the arm
or an opponent's arm

The considerations are
(1) NO advantage can occur for ANY handling off an arm by the team attacking no matter HOW the handling occurs .
That at least is straight forward for both teams No goals can result off a ball deflecting or being pushed into a goal period. A caution COULD be added IF it was done deliberately in a sneaky or unfair manner

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