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Question Number: 34115

Law 12 - Fouls and Misconduct 1/29/2021

RE: Amateur footballer Adult

Richard Lundie of London, Uk asks...

Hi there,

I’m having a debate with people online, about the Tottenham Liverpool game on weds.

There was a controversial moment where the goalkeeper Allison looked to have handled the ball outside of his area when the Son was clean through.

Theoretically… If he had handled the ball outside of the area, would he have received a red card for that seeing as he was the last line of defence?

The way I understand it is if he commits a foul inside the box then it’s just a yellow card and a penalty is deemed punishment enough?

But because he’s outside of the area he’s like any other outfield player and becomes the last man obstructing a goal illegally?

Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

Hi Richard,
you understand correctly that OUTSIDE his PA a keeper is indeed just a player and subject to the same rules and regulations as any other player.

Unfortunately, you are into the hazy myth zone on a few other assumptions.

Deliberately Handling the ball is a DFK offense but it is not an automatic card, although since the law prohibits handling there are fewer reasons it is not a cardable offense

Handling has no fair challenge component since the ball cannot be legally played except by the keeper INSIDE his own PA.

no card while trying to tackle & some deliberate but no exaggerated (arm to ball contact)

caution for USB breaking up an attack by preventing a pass (reaching out and swat it)

a send-off red card is when the handling actually DENIES the opportunity for the ball to enter the goal (reaching out to swat it away as a save) or if all the criteria for DOGSOH are applicable

None of this is applicable to a keeper inside his PA as it would be for a player but outside as you noted correctly DOGSOH could apply. Although you must think of the entire situation once a keeper commits the DFK offense you ask all the same questions as if it was a player.

The last man is really only a subsection of the number of potentially covering defenders. The 4 criteria of DOGSO (1) the direction the ball or play is headed to, (2) the likelihood of control so the opportunity could be realized (3) distance to the goal, and (4) the number of defenders in the area who could challenge effectively.

The keeper reaches up grabs the ball outside his PA but that ball would have gone into the goal or the attacker would have been through on goal with a real scoring opportunity we show the red card and send off the keeper reducing his team to 10 but if that ball was headed into touch or going wide? The fact is the DFK is then a bonus, the incident at best a yellow card but even the caution might not be necessary? Faded lines, bright sunlight, barely outside, no way a shot or opportunity was even remotely in the offering just an oops?

If a defending player or keeper fouls an opponent by way of a DFK offense like tripping or a slide tackle be it carelessly or recklessly while challenging that opponent for ball possession it would likely be considered as a legitimate albeit unsuccessful attempt to try and win the ball. If it occurs inside the PA since a DFK is upgraded to PK status. This PK status is considered a goal-scoring opportunity and thus the red card for DOGSO criteria that might apply outside the PA is waved because no opportunity is really lost.

However, if such a tackle is performed with excessive force as SFP we cannot wave the violent conduct associated and THAT alone would be the reason for the send-off. Also if the offense in no way was a legit challenge like a jersey pull or push/charge into the back EVEN if inside the PA the red card could be shown for DOGSO as the ball itself was not being fairly challenged only the opponent is targeted.

In any debate always remember that facts and truth do not always follow perception and narratives but everybody has opinions! lol

Here is a fun tidbit to show in the debate! The BALL itself defines whether a keeper handles it inside or outside the PA boundaries. IMAGINE this, the 6ft plus keeper with a huge reach can be 100% outside his PA, laying down, stretched out, feet and toes pointed facing the midline, while his arms and hands outstretched towards the outer edge of the PA 5 inch boundary line, he is still 10 inches away COMPLETELY outside in the FOP, the ball itself is marginally overhanging the outer edge of that 5 inch PA boundary line and the three fingers of the keepers left hand are resting on that portion of the ball that is outside in the FOP, not overhanging. The keeper is in legal possession of the ball because by definition that ball is inside the PA and a keeper is permitted the use of his hands and if the keeper has ball possession in his hands, the opposition cannot challenge. Strange yes but as the lines on the field are part of the area they surround I suggest you imagine boundary lines as a 5-inch wall of water rising straight up. If ANY portion of the ball is the tiniest bit WET, that ball is in play, in that area!

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Answer provided by Referee Peter Grove

Hi Richard,
I haven't seen the incident in question but had Becker handled the ball outside the penalty area then yes, he could potentially have been penalised with a red card but not necessarily - and not simply because he was the last man.

Assuming he did commit an offence, it would still be subject to the criteria in the law - it would either have to be an offence that denied a goal (i.e. the ball was heading directly into the net and the handling prevented this from happening) or it would have to be an offence that met the 4 DOGSO criteria regarding distance, direction, likelihood of control and number of potentially covering defenders.

Just to give you an example - let's say that despite the keeper being "the last man" the attacker had kicked the ball so it was heading at pace towards the corner flag and the keeper handled it, that would not have denied a goal and would probably not fulfill the direction or likelihood of control criteria for a DOGSO offence, so would probably not require a red card.

I guess what I'm trying to say, is that the common myth that any time a keeper handles the ball outside the area, it's an automatic red card, is just that - a myth.

It's also not quite as simple as you put it, if the keeper commits a foul inside the area on a player that has an obvious goal scoring opportunity. It's still only a yellow card if the foul was an attempt to play the ball. Now, when this kind of incident happens with a goalie, it's almost always as the keeper is diving to try and take the ball off the attacker's toes so in the vast majority of cases you're right, it will only end up being a yellow card offence but again, it's not automatically so.

Let's say the player had already rounded the keeper, was about to kick the ball into an empty net and the goalie grabbed the player by the shoulders from behind and hauled them down, that would still be a red card-worthy offence.

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Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Richard
Outside the penalty area the goalkeeper is the same as any other player. So a deliberate handling to prevent a goal scoring opportunity is punished by a red card.

In my opinion had Becker handled the ball outside the penalty area it would have been a red card for a DOGSO. My reasoning is that such an offence would have met the 4 DOGSO criteria as it was directly in front of goal - direction, it is just outside the penalty area - distance to goal, there are no covering Defenders and Son would have likely to have gained control of the ball - Distance to the ball.
Having seen it there is sufficient doubt at ot the location of the ball and with VAR I would be certain that the ball was inside the area so no offence.

Now I am not sure what the argument being made for no red card is? If there was a handling by the goalkeeper with the 4 conditions being met it is certainly red? It meets without doubt 3 of the four conditions and the 4th is a matter of opinion as to the proximity of Son to the ball at the time of the offence. Put it another way. If the handling happened here it would have certainly been a red card at this level as shown in the attached handling clips.

Now the DOGSO law has been amended in recent times as many in the game felt that the triple punishment of a penalty kick, sending off and one game suspension was just too harsh. So now in the case of a penalty award a player will not be sent off for a DOGSO if it is a genuine attempt to play the ball. Handling, pulling, pushing, holding are not genuine attempts at playing the ball and they will still result in a red card even in penalty situations once the 4 DOGSO conditions are met.

Outside the penalty area the same foul that meets the DOGSO conditions has to be a red card and a caution is NOT an option. The penalty kick restores the goal scoring opportunity whereas a free kick doesn't.
Finally a word of caution about the use of the term "Last Man" in DOGSO situations. It is not about the last man as if any of the 4 DOGSO conditions are not met then it is not a red card. Yes in many last ditch offences it will result in a red card yet say a foul close to the corner flag by the last man would not meet all of the conditions so it would not be red card.

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