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Question Number: 34627

Law 12 - Fouls and Misconduct 6/21/2022

RE: Competitive Under 16

Pete Thomas of Sarnia, Ontario Canada asks...

I was an AR at a game with the following situation. The a ball was played forward by the attacking team. The keeper came out to the edge of the penalty area, reached across the line to grab the ball and pulled it back into the penalty area. Her feet were still in the penalty area. The other AR was well positioned and flagged a handling foul as the ball was still completely outside the penalty area when touched by the keeper's hands (no part of the ball was touching the line). Additionally there were no other defenders in the area and an attacking player was a yard or two away chasing the ball towards the keeper (it would have been a breakaway if she could have caught up to the ball). The centre official awarded a free kick just outside the penalty area and gave the keeper a red card for DOGSO.

Did we get the call correct? I understood that a handling offence is determined by where the ball is, not where the keeper's feet are but want to make sure. I'm more confident in the DOGSO call if I'm correct on the handling offence.


Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Pete
Thanks for the question.
As described there was a deliberate handling offence by the goalkeeper as the ball was handled outside the penalty area. It makes no difference where the goalkeeper's feet or body is located just the ball and the hands.
So if the goalkeeper makes contact on the ball with the hands while the ball is outside the penalty area that is deliberate handling with a direct free kick restart

It is also likely that as described all the conditions required for denying an obvious goal scoring opportunity was present so a red card was the correct call.

Now I would also make the point that not all handling by the goalkeeper outside the penalty area is a red card offence. There will be times when one or more of the following DOGSO conditions are not met

# distance between the offence and the goal
# general direction of the play
# likelihood of keeping or gaining control of the ball
# location and number of defenders

An example would be catching the ball inside the penalty area and carrying the ball outside by way of momentum or accidentally. Another would be where the attackers are so far away that the chances of gaining control of the ball would not be present.

I recall a few seasons in a women's game. I had occasion to red card a defender for a clear deliberate handling on the goal line. The player without doubt reached up to stop the ball crossing the line.
Now some 15 minutes later the ball was kicked through towards the other goal and the goalkeeper came out to collect the ball under no pressure from an opponent who were at least 15 yards away and she misjudged her momentum carrying the ball outside the area which she then let go and kicked away. The DFK was scored which somewhat eased the tension of no card.
It was not a DOGSO situation hence no red card was required.

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Answer provided by Referee Jason Wright

Hi Pete,

It's the position of the ball, not the keeper, that we're concerned about.

If the ball is wholly outside the PA when handled, it's a handling offence - and as Ref McHugh states, we also need to consider the potential for SPA/DOGSO.

It sounds like the correct decision was made.

As an example, if a keeper was caught outside the PA and turned back to grab the ball that was on the PA line, this would be perfectly legal. And note that it's the position of the ball we're worried about - we're not judging whether the hands are touching the part of the ball that's in or out, just the overall ball position.

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Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

Hi Pete,
spot on mate! The BALL location is the key, the ball if handled outside the PA ( includes the boundary lines) determines if the DFK offence for handling is plausible.
The fact is the keeper themselves could be 100% OUTSIDE the PA and yet, if the ball was just in contact or overhanging the boundary line that defines the PA, their hands, as weird as it might look, could legally pin/hold that ball in a fair manner..

The DOGSO is certainly within the scope of the LOTG but, in my opinion, only if it was a player OTHER than the keeper is it a lock on the red card reducing the team by a player.

I do have some trepidation on keepers, who, if not truly defined by clear circumstances reacting to stop an attack versus simply thinking they are catching the ball and unaware of their position are not ALWAYS deliberately trying to create a DFK & with the intent of thwarting a chance a goal unfairly.

I only question the need to send off, for in truth, could the keeper have inadvertently created the scoring opportunity as opposed to stopping one?
Keepers are the only people on the pitch that can use their hands, why can we not credit that particular foul just barely outside the PA with the same thinking they now only caution for a legitimate challenge inside? Granted a PK at 12 yds is better than a DF kick at 18+ yards but 6 inches back and we have no foul at all? The keeper was always going to get to the all first?

Is it viable to consider such a mistake a trifling or trivial even if it was not doubtful? Much like a punt out when a less then observant keeper may not be releasing the ball properly when stepping out side the PA?

The criteria of DOGSO requires the referee to determine if the attacker was denied the opportunity to get to the ball & perhaps score. Keeping in mind the distance between the offence and the goal, the general direction of play, the location and number of defenders & the likelihood of keeping or gaining control of the ball. This particular last criteria, in my opinion the context gives some credibility to my decision to NOT send off the keeper just because a handling occurs outside the PA.
Absolutely a keeper who is running out using their hands on a ball outside the PA and takes away the opportunity for the attacker to get to the ball by leaping on it or reaching up to tip it away is guilty of a DFK foul & with clear DOGSO conditions met deservedly sent off. However, is a marginally caught ball by a poorly positioned keeper the same as reaching out to snatch or knock it away from the opponent?

In a u-13 girls match, bright sunny day, high lob, faded lines keeper catches ball while standing on the PA line just inside the D or penalty arc. No question the ball was marginally outside the PA when the hands first contacted the ball which was being pursued by attackers but they were in no way close enough to get to that ball first, 6 yards away, the ball in no way was going to get over her head or into the goal and if she had been 12 inches back no DFK.

AR raises flag. Stop play. No card shown. DFK was awarded A goal resulted and all was well.

In the post game I was asked why no card, not even a yellow card.

I suggested that it was the DFK offence itself that CREATED any scoring chance as there was very little opportunity to continue the attack and given the field conditions and age what purpose would a card serve or how could a sending off would make the match better?

But the LOTG demanded it was the response.

I suggested that the LOTG demanded fair-play more than punishing a 12 year old girl. The young lady was in near tears that she created the problem, a card was not necessary to remind her of the consequences. Plus a goal resulted?

What if the free kick missed? Her opponents might have been able to get to the ball if she had let it bounce was the reply. She must be at least cautioned for USB??

I replied with a version of it is true at the professional level such an error might not be excused. Accountability for those actions have consequences to be sure but my responsibility to the younger players is ensuring the match is fair and the spirit of the game remain intact. Grass root level the need to send off youth in a harsh verdict just because the law says so. Uncompromising full force red card send offs is needed when the act shows it is so, be it SFP, VC or a clear professional foul designed to thwart the opponent. Cards are a tool to set the bar not just to punish.

my assessment stated I must apply the LOTG with neutrality and disregard emotional reasoning to not use the LOTG and cards as they are intended! Sigh World cup hopes dashed

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