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Question Number: 34401

Law 12 - Fouls and Misconduct 11/1/2021

RE: Select Under 13

Gary Robinson of Draper, UT USA asks...

During a U12 match, the goalkeeper punted the ball almost straight up, then grabbed the ball as an opponent was sprinting towards the GK and ball. Had the GK not grabbed the ball, the attacker likely would have had a clear shot on goal. I blew the whistle for a double touch and awarded the opponents an indirect free kick within the penalty area. Unfortunately for the keeper's team, her opponent blasted the kick off the wall of defenders (the ball hit a defender's hip/thigh) and in for a goal. I didn't get any stick from either side (coaches, parents, or players) about the call, but I've been second-guessing myself ever since. The goalkeeper's punt was a clean kick. Unfortunately, it went up 12-15 feet and not downfield at all. While these are younger, less-skilled players, the punt was not a whiff, shank, slice, or otherwise, just straight up. Furthermore, she grabbed the ball within her own 6 yard box, so I placed the ball at the nearest point, parallel to the goal, on the 6 yard box boundary line.

Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

Hi Gary,
although we can certainly be lieniant at the younger ages, why would a keeper punt the ball from the 6 yard box when she could go all the way out to the 18?? Coach should teach her to get the most distance and also the benifit of a running throw if her punts are suspect .

You are technically correct in law, a keeper upon handling the ball for the 6 seconds and releasinig it back into play can not reuse their hands until another player (from either team) has touched the ball.

Your placement of the INDFK being on the goal area line parallel to the actual goal line was indeed the correct restart point given the handling restriction occured inside the goal area.

I will assume you allowed the defenders to stand on the goal line 6 yard away under the ctossbar and between the posts? With any other defender not on that goal line at least 10 yards from the restart point?

If you are questioning the LOTG you did fine, if you think you could have ignored it as trifling ot excusable within the spirit of competition given the recent law changes to the throw in and kicks by a teammate allowing some leeway I think you answered that when you mentioned that the opposition were denied a fair opportunity to challenge. It was a poot kick and perhaps on another day you could have simply considered it as a high throw with a bad bounce if say wind or a slip and no opponet was in the mix. Given the reasoning laws are in place is to prevent unfair play if you had allowed play to continue you then would apply that same neutral standard to the othee team as well. We should not reward mistakes but we also should no unduly punish a team by gifting scoring oppotunities out of essentially nothing.


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Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Gary
One of the recent changes to the Laws of the Game was to allow a goalkeeper to handle the ball after a kicking error on a deliberate kick or a throw in from a team mate.
Law 12 now states that and I quote
** An indirect free kick is awarded if a goalkeeper, inside their penalty area, commits any of the following offences:....
# touches the ball with the hand/arm UNLESS the goalkeeper has clearly kicked or attempted to kick the ball to release it into play, after:
# it has been deliberately kicked to the goalkeeper by a team-mate
# receiving it directly from a throw-in taken by a team-mate

What that says to me is that IFAB the law makers do not want to penalise a goalkeeper for doing something that he would be expected to do on an error which is to handle the ball inside the penalty area after attempting to kick it away.

Clearly it is not expected that a punt would go astray as described yet if the goalkeeper kicked the ball straight up in air on a backpass or throw in it would not be penalised should she retrieve the ball with her hands. The law does not allow a goalkeeper to release the ball from the hands and to touch it again with the hands until it has touched an opponent or legally from a team mate.

Now as described it was an IDFK offence so you were correct in the decision and the placement of the ball for the restart. Also no card was required as it was not a restart where the ball is played for a second time using the hands.
It would probably have caused you more difficulty had you cut the young player some slack by allowing play to continue on what was a kicking error
Just be aware though of that law change which you may not have been aware of.

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