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Question Number: 33994

Law 12 - Fouls and Misconduct 9/20/2020

RE: College

John of Nicosia, Cyprus asks...


I would like to ask you, when the keeper holds the ball and a player goes and touches the ball with his hands. Is this a penalty or not?

Similar situations to this, are when goalkeeper saves a penalty and his teammates are celebrating by hugging him.

Looking forward to your reply.


Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi John
As the contact on the ball has zero impact then for me it is not handling.
It certainly would be if it was an opponent who was trying to dislodge the ball by touching it with his hands / arm.
As the goalkeeper has the ball in his grasp then referees do not need to be watching if the ball makes accidental contact with a teammates arm that does not in any way affect play.

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Answer provided by Referee Peter Grove

Hi John,
I'll take your second question first. If a goalkeeper saves a penalty and his team mates hug him (and that's all they do) there would be no reason to award a penalty that I can think of.

Your first question has me a little confused. I'm not sure what you mean by 'a player.' Do you mean a team mate or an opposing player? I guess you probably mean a team mate and if so, the referee could conceivably award a penalty if they judge that a handling offence has taken place.

It does strike me as an unlikely situation which I personally have never seen but if it did happen, the referee would certainly have a decision to make.

Using the current wording I do not see any clause that would be directly applicable here and indicate that this is definitely an offence regardless of intent so I think it would be down to the referee to decide if the handling was a deliberate offence - or not, as the case may be.

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Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

Hi John,
a match has many critical moments that confront the referee. It requires composure to correctly react & solve each one.for better or worse. What you have given us is a WORSE situation should a referee deem these actions worthy of critical status and award punishment. We are constantly taught NOT to interfere in a match UNLESS it SCREAMS for a decision to intervene. Blatant circumstances are self evident -THIS- incident you describe were a referee to react inappropriately is a made up match affecting outcome, game changing dynamics that will HAUNT any referee who follows this no win path.

I recall a tough match where I awarded a well deserved PK,. The keeper made an astonishing brilliant save. He was subsequently mobbed by his jubilant teammates to where they had not only inadvertently touched the ball but actually knocked the ball out of his arms onto the ground where he picked it up a second time. Settle down guys let's get back the game! There was no thought to award a second PK or INDFK. Nor was there any request by the opposing team to do so.

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