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Soccer Rules Changes 1580-2000

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Question Number: 33993

Law 12 - Fouls and Misconduct 9/19/2020

RE: Under 11

Tom of Chester, Nj United states asks...

Based on 2019-20 changes lotg..
"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."

If the keeper attempts to kick a ball played to them by a teammate and they screw up the kick, they can legally handle the ball.

My question is, what if the keeper is punting, slips as they kick, and the ball goes straight up into the air. Is this considered an unsuccessfull attempt at clearance, and therefore not a handling offense
If the keeper immediately catches the ball, or is this a handling offense?

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Tom
An interesting question.
When IFAB introduced this change it said that when a goalkeeper clearly kicks or tries to kick the ball with the intention of releasing it into play, this action demonstrates that the goalkeeper has no intention of ‘illegally’ handling the ball, so if the goalkeeper’s clearance is unsuccessful, he/she can then handle the ball without committing an offence.
As it stands it does not apply to the punt yet I think that a referee would be okay in applying the spirit of this law by not punishing it on the same basis in an Under 11 game. It is likely only to be an underage error although I recall many seasons ago a goalkeeper letting the ball slip out of his hand on a wet day, it bounced and he picked it up immediately and completed the punt. There were weak appeals for the IDFK which I waved away.
I once recall an U12 goalkeeper who just before a punt placed the ball at his feet so he could pull up his sock before he punted! I did not penalise it.

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Answer provided by Referee Peter Grove

Hi Tom,
A 'normal' punt from the hands is not the scenario covered by the laws amendment you quote. This wording only applies to a situation where the keeper has received a ball deliberately kicked or thrown-in directly to them by a team mate.

So this clause is not specifically applicable to a punt. It would be up to the referee to decide if, as ref McHugh suggested, a 'spirit of the law' interpretation could be invoked here to excuse the goalkeeper from a technical infraction. As he further suggests, age and skill level could be a contributory factor, especially given that we're talking about U11 play.

For me, I would have to say my first instinct would be to say that the exemption would not apply to a punt, if skilled, adult players are involved. However when there are highly extenuating circumstances, such as age, as mentioned above, a referee might consider letting it go.

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