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Question Number: 34185

High School 4/4/2021

RE: U18 High School

Jason C. of Lacrosse, WI USA asks...

Question pertaining to NFHS rule 12, section 7 but I would also be interested to know the IFAB rule as well.

A shot comes in at the far edge of the penalty area. The keeper runs over and grabs the ball inside the penalty area with one hand and then appears to intentionally drop it inside the area because his momentum is about to carry him outside the area and he doesn't want to be carrying the ball with him as he goes. He then turns around, runs back over to the ball and picks it up.

Is this a release into play and an illegal second touch?

Does it matter if he A) deliberately slaps the ball down as he runs out of the area, B) takes one-handed possession of the ball and then intentionally drops it, or C) takes two-handed possession of the ball and then intentionally drops it?

Is there any difference between the NFHS rules and IFAB rules? I see that the concept of a "deliberate parry" is mentioned in NFHS but not IFAB.


Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Jason
Let me answer the IFAB part first

IFAB had in the past used the term parry yet it is no longer in the Laws. It is replaced with the sentence "touches the ball with his hand / arm after releasing it" which is a parry.
In the incident described the goalkeeper has control / possession of the ball so it is a deliberate act to release the ball which then places a restriction on the goalkeeper from touching it again with a hand.
In this video it is clear that the goalkeeper has control of the ball and after he releases it he may not uses his hands again until legally entitled to do so
He chooses to kick the ball away yet had he left the ball inside the area that would have been his only option as to pick it up again would be an IDFK offence.

Now there will be save situations where after a save and the ball spills accidentally then the restriction is not present so the goalkeeper would be entitled to grab the ball again.

NFHS has the exact same position as IFAB in that the goalkeeper who controls and/or deflect the ball down or out with the hands or arm may not touch the ball again with his hand/s and it describes it as parrying which is defined by NFHS as a deliberate action.
So if it is part of a save then no offence yet if the ball is controlled and then deliberately released which is not part of a save then it is an offence punished by an indirect free kick from where the goalkeeper picked the ball up again.
Personally I have never seen this or if it did happen it was not as clear cut as to control and release yet rather perhaps a goalkeeper failing to control the ball first time in which case the benefit is given to the goalkeeper.
I am looking for deliberate breaches of this Law rather than a "gotcha" type approach. Indeed I see lots of parries that go unpunished because the opponents see no offence nor does the referee.

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Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

Hi Jason,
I concur with my colleague, Ref McHugh, a referee should not look for gotcha-type offenses, we should only be seeking to punish deliberate breaches of the law.

I have seen a few handling issues with the keeper not fully grasping the LOTG on this matter.

Keepers should parry balls that are too difficult to catch to the side or over top of the goal not back out towards the strikers. A wet field or momentum might create a situation whereupon gathering a ball in the keeper might release it fearing the DFK of carrying it fully outside the PA boundary. A slight difference than just a hand parry knockdown as the ball in a parry is in effect, caught, and then released almost instantaneously.

While weak wrists can cause needless parry bobbles they often stem from inexperience or to the fact, it happens so rarely. It is usually to do with back passes from teammates but occasionally the keeper will inexplicitly use their hands to say block a ball from exiting over the goal line or be challenging for possession on the moving ball very close to the PA line and be afraid to grasp it where your scenario might be plausible.
1.32 is the parry then the 2nd touch

I tried to find a better video Cheers

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Answer provided by Referee Joe Manjone

As indicated in NFHS Rule 12.7.1, a goalkeeper has six seconds to release the ball into play. During that time before the release of the ball, the goalkeeper may hold the ball, , bounce it or throw the ball in the air and catch it. Once the ball is released into play, the goalkeeper may not touch it again with the hands until it has been played or touched by another player of the same team outside the penalty area or by a player of the opposing team either inside or outside of the penalty area.

NFHS Rule 12.7.2 prohibits the goalkeeper from parrying the ball and then touching it with the hands until it has been played or touched by another player of the same team outside the penalty area or by a player of the opposing team either inside or outside of the penalty area.

Thus, parrying is now treated the same as a release.

In your situation, whether it is considered a release or a parry, because the goal keeper touched the ball with the hands before another player touched or played the ball, it would be a violation by the goal keeper and an indirect kick.

In the A., B., and C situations that you mention, I believe that all three would be violations because the ball would be released. To be a bounce, the ball would have to be in control of the goalkeeper and in all three situations there does not seem to be control.

I see that the WIAA has moved the boys 2020 fall soccer season to the spring. Combining this with the girls spring soccer season, you most likely will have a very busy spring. Hopefully, it will be a very successful one for you.

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Answer provided by Referee Peter Grove

Hi Jason,
While I also haven't seen an example that exactly matches your scenario I have seen one that comes very close. This was in a Premier League game where the goalkeeper after saving the ball as it was about to run out over the end line released it, to avoid the ball being carried out of play by his momentum. As he lay on the ground and as an opponent was about to get to the ball, he reached back onto the field to play and grabbed the ball again. The referee in this particular instance, did not award a free kick against the keeper.

I was a little surprised by this as it seemed to me that this could potentially have been seen as a deliberate release of the ball and then an illegal second touch. In fact, I would say that taking a very literal reading of wording of the law you could easily come to this conclusion.

I suspect that the referee here gave a decision based more on what he saw as being the spirit of the law rather than the letter of the law. I'm not sure that I would totally agree but I think the argument would be that no goalkeeper could be expected to just blithely carry the ball out of play with himself and concede a corner when he could release it and it would be a perverse kind of logic to say that the goalkeeper should in fact keep hold of the ball and just slide out of play with it rather than do what this goalkeeper here actually did.

I have to say that I tend towards a more literal reading of the law and I would probably have awarded an indirect free kick but I can see why a referee might choose not to.

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