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Question Number: 34415

High School 11/11/2021

RE: Competitive state tournament quarter final High School

Will of Madison, Ct USA asks...

The goalie is holding the ball in the box when a player on the other team bumps into him. There is a confrontation that results in the goalie pushing the player as he walks away. Though the goalie only uses one hand the player goes fling in the air. What is the call?

Answer provided by Referee Joe Manjone


You do not mention if the bump was accidental, part of a play in which the player could not avoid the keeper, or if the bump was intentional. However, since the keeper was holding the ball and the bump occurred, it was apparently intentional. Unless the bump was flagrant, the penalty would be a direct kick for the goalkeeper's team as indicated in NFHS rule 12-4-2. If it is considered flagrant, the player would be disqualified.

The retaliation by goalkeeper would be considered pushing or striking which would result in a penalty kick for the opposing team as is indicated in NFHS Rule 14-1-1. However, it could also be considered violent conduct which would also result in the disqualification of the goalkeeper as is indicted in NFHS Rule 12-8-2a.

As indicated above, much would depend on the judgement of the referee. If the bump was not considered a foul, the restart would be a penalty kick by the opponents of the goalkeeper. If the bump is a foul, the restart would be a direct kick by the goalkeeper's team since the bump occurred before the retaliation by the keeper.

It would be interesting to know what the referee called. Hopefully, your team won.

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Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Will
Thanks for the question.

The first part to consider is whether the first contact that is the bump on the goalkeeper was an offence or not and if it was deliberate or not.

If the bump was a deliberate charge then it is a direct free kick to the goalkeeper's team. If the action was considered aggressive the attacker could be sanctioned with a card depending on the manner of same.

Now that does not exonerate the goalkeeper from retaliation. If the action by the goalkeeper was considered violent conduct then that will result in the disqualification of the goalkeeper for violent conduct.

I am always mindful of the intentions of opponents on fouls which can be intentional with perhaps the possibility of a card. Losing the goalkeeper can be a significant loss for a team and I have seen players attempt to rile an opponent into a response and maybe even exaggerate the offence.

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Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

Hi Will,
Gamesmenship unfortunately plays a large part in the diving competition of football.

Trying to draw a foul or exaggerate misconduct to get the other player carded or a free kick awarded has somehow become tactically part of the game.
It is DISGUSTING and unsporting but it is very real!

In the WORLD CUP incident where Beckham was sent off for a leg tap raised while lying flat on the ground after being brutially wiped out by the Argentinean player who clearly played the referee who then over reacted with a game changing send off that was in NO way was validated by the actions on the pitch but a referees indescision to appease his handlers instead of manage a match.

Keepers have a difficult job, a lot of responsibility and are often crucial to a teams success .
Opponents will push or charge into keepers pretending that the ball was their intended action yet making no effort to avoid contact with the keeper while doing so.
ON a similar vein a keeper will take posessision of the ball with little reguard for the opponent in an effort to make a save.

We have all seen examples where the instigator of the contact is clearly identified and the foul itself is apparant. Be it the attacker zeal or an unrepentant keeper ensuring no one passess.

There is no doubt that contact where a bump occurs is part of normal play in a crowed PA. There is also the FACT that the LOTG very clearly state a keeper in posessission of the ball CAN NOT BE legally challanged. Hence almost ANY contact after the catch/control is suspect.

You must be aware and proactive when you see a developing coming together of players at any intersection point. Where are they looking? Why are they there? What are they doing? Momentume is one thing but control of the body is expected, a lean in to catch a piece an extended wing of an elbow, a simple step onto instead of away. The Keeper, jumping into, punching or raising a knee or leg in the players direction? You should be aware if provoking a response is what is being acted out versus a simple bump from momentume that could not be avoided?

THe fact is you need to weigh in who was responsible?

If the intial bump was minimal even if unintentional or partialy intentional the DFK out would be correct if no advantage to verbally intervene. Depending on skill & age the fact that the ball is not kicked on the ground when the keeper did have the 6 seconds of release time previously is why I consider the advantage if it was a minimal exchange.

Failure to react to the initial BS leads to further BS which you might not be able to ignore.

It appears the contact was made but with no response from the referee, the keeper chose to handle it with a retailitory gesture? If the bump WAS a foul then the keepers REACTION could be construed as USB misconduct cautionable or even VC red card send off. The DFK out infavour of the defence would still be the restart though with any caution or send off or time out as deemed neccessary applied

Now we might be forced into considering send off for VC if you are awarding a DFK out but the keeper's reaction warrants sanctions

Or if the push is now a DFK against the keeper as a PK opportunity we might only caution depending on how violent the push was?

Was anythng said?
Where was the referee when this contact 1st occurred? ?
Did the referee react or simply watch until the NEXT action the one arm push then the flying 9 .7 hey referee look at me dive that followed?

I hold a referee MUST be vey proactive inside the PA because teams will retailiate if their keeper is threatened or being hasseled.
Verbal hard intervention if advantage might be feasable.
Quick hard whistle and dressing down if needed. Card only if flagreant USB or reckless.

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