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Question Number: 34051

Law 12 - Fouls and Misconduct 11/12/2020

RE: HS, Adult

Bob Romano of Falls Church , Virginia USA asks...

The goalie commits a serious foul play off the field on an opponent’s attack and goalkeeper red carded. What is the restart considering the foul happened off the field of play

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Bob
Thanks for the question.
The FIFA Law has been changed in these situations for a number of the years now. It did away with the previous principle that fouls could only be committed on the field of play. Generally that is what happens anyway yet there are always a few instances where players are fouled as part of a play just over a boundary line.
If the ball is in play and a players commits an offence against an opponent off the field of play the restart is on the field of play nearest to where the offence took place. It now means that referees do not have to be absolutely sure that part of the fouled player is on the field of play for a direct free kick to be awarded.
For example if say an attacker was running along the goal line with the ball and he goes past the goalkeeper outside the goal line inside the penalty area to go around the goalkeeper with the ball staying in play and he his fouled with a SFP challenge, the goalkeeper is dismissed and the restart is a penalty kick.
If the offence took place on a touchline the free kick is taken on the field of play nearest to where the offence took place.
Here is an example
The answer is different for NFHS games and Referee Manjone has given his opinion

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Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

Hi Bob,
While it is NOW possible for a foul to occur OFF the field of play outside the touchlines or goal lines that event must at least be where the opponent and the defender are in a battle for ball possession with the ball in playing distance so as the act is seen as serious foul play (SFP) NOT Violent Conduct (VC). Serious foul play is ONLY possible if there is a challenge to win the ball during active play by a PLAYER. A deke or momentum whilst dribbling the ball in play can take a player briefly out into touch beyond the boundary lines. Any challenge, be it a simple careless attempt or a more serious forceful challenge outside the lines is now treated as if it occurred inside the FOP. The DFK is taken from the nearest point along the touchline or goal line. If the incident was by a defender & occurred outside but along the portion of the goal lines confined within his own team's penalty area then the DFK becomes a PK. If say there was a VC incident off the fop where no ball possession is being challenged just a act of violence by one player against an opponent as long as the ball was still in play on the fop that is a FOUL and subject to the appropriate restart . We should note that even coaches, managers, technical staff and substitutes are held to the same standards as players when it comes to VC (they can not do SFP)

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Answer provided by Referee Peter Grove

Hi Bob,
This is actually one part of the law that can be answered in a fairly straightforward manner simply by extracting the wording from the law itself. As provided for in Law 12:

If, when the ball is in play, a player commits an offence against an opposing player outside the field of play, play is restarted with a free kick on the boundary line nearest to where the offence/interference occurred - for direct free kick offences, a penalty kick is awarded if this is within the offender’s penalty area.

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Answer provided by Referee Joe Manjone

More of a description on what actually occurred would be helpful.

As is indicated in NFHS Rule 12-8-2d, Serious Foul Play occurs when:
1. A play in which the player commits one of the offenses punishable with a direct free kick or penalty kick and uses disproportionate and unnecessary force against an opponent while attempting to play the ball.
2. A player other than the goalkeeper deliberately handles the ball while attempting to prevent a goal and the goal is not scored.
3. A player commits a foul outside the penalty area when attempting to deny an obvious goal-scoring opportunity and the goal is not scored.
4. A player commits a foul inside the penalty area, while not attempting to play the ball denying the opponent an obvious goal-scoring opportunity and the referee awards a penalty kick.

Obviously only 1 and 3 from the above would apply to your situation since the foul was by goalkeeper in 1 and it occurred outside the penalty area in 3.

In 1 the goalkeeper would have to be trying to play the ball when the foul occurred.
In 3 the goalkeeper is outside the penalty area and would be considered the same as any other player when the goalkeeper fouled the attacker in order to prevent an obvious goal-scoring opportunity.

It is really difficult for me to visualize what could have occurred because the ball would have been in play in both situations and the attacker would be playing or trying to play the ball.

However, since the serious foul play occurred off the field, in high school play, this would be treated as an unusual situation, and play would be re-started with a drop ball at the location where the ball became dead unless it was in the goal area, in which case it shall be dropped on that part of the goal area line which runs parallel to the goal line nearest the location where the ball was when play was stopped (See NFHS Rule 9-2-1&2).

I hope that you have a successful 2021 Virginia spring high school soccer season.

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