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Question Number: 33987

High School 9/12/2020

RE: High School, USSF, NISOA High School

Andy Beare of Mansfield, Ohio USA asks...

If during a event inside the penalty area, a goalkeeper in advertently ends up sitting on the ball, is this considered “control”, or perhaps a dangerous play like it might be for a field player?

Answer provided by Referee Joe Manjone


NFHS Rule 12-6 states: "A player shall not participate in dangerous play which is an act an official considers likely to cause injury to any player. This includes playing in such a manner which could cause injury to self or another player (opponent or teammate)."

In your situation, the goalkeeper inadvertently sits on the ball. At the time the goalkeeper sits on the ball, it would not be considered a dangerous play because the goalkeeper did not participate in the play. However, if the goalkeeper does not immediately move off the ball and stays sitting on it, the goalkeeper is now participating in the playing of the ball and this would be a dangerous play.

I hope you have a very successful fall season and get to work in the OHSAA Championship Tournament in November.

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Answer provided by Referee Jason Wright

Hi Andy,
Goalkeeper control requires an arm or hand on the ball. So, if the keeper ends up sitting on the ball, then simply putting their hand on the ball would likely be enough to consider it keeper control and commence the 6 seconds.
Without that, it would be the same as an outfield player lying or sitting on the ball. Allow the keeper a reasonable chance to get up - but if they're not then they're creating a situation where the ball cannot be played safely. This is the safe in regular LOTG matches.
That's an Indirect Free Kick against the keeper from the location or the edge of the Goal Area.

It also means that in the few moments where the ref is allowing the keeper to resolve the situation, an opponent could potentially try to kick the ball out from under the keeper. If that happens quickly and without much force then I'd probably allow it (eg just a short toe poke out). If it's a huge swing and the keeper hasn't had a reasonable chance to get off the ball, I'd probably penalise the opponent.

If it's a completely unresolvable situation - say, the keeper can't get up because they're crowded by players, then you could consider a drop ball.

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Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Andy
FIFA would be the same as NFHS in respect of this incident.
If the goalkeeper finds himself on top of the ball and makes an immediate effort to either move away or to play the ball legally which in the goalkeeper’s case would involved grabbing the ball there is no offence.
However if the player lays on the ball for a period then that runs the high risk of attracting an injury such as getting kicked which is playing in a dangerous manner and dangerous play.
Personally I cannot see how a goalkeeper could sit on the ball for any length of time. Anytime I saw this or close to it the goalkeeper simply allowed the ball to rest between his legs and then put his hands on it which is deemed goalkeeper control.

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