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Question Number: 34681

Law 12 - Fouls and Misconduct 8/27/2022


Muhennned ELSEYHO of Kahramanmaras, Türkiye asks...

Hi ,
I want to ask if a player had deluded his opponent that he was going to touch the ball and didn't ..

When jumping up, for example, he raises his hand but does not touch the ball .. to deceive opponents

What is the penalty for this player? I didn't find anything about it in the law book

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Muhennned
The reason you did not find it in the law book is because it is not there.
There is no offence in appearing to say raise an arm towards the ball and then at the last moment moving away. The risk though is that it can look like deliberate handling or for that matter the ball hits the raised arm which will be called so raising arms towards the ball is never a good idea.
It is not a tactic I have seen. In fact many players in the modern game do the opposite by putting their arms behind their back in case the ball might strike an arm and be called for handling even if it was accidental.

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Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

Hi Muhennned,
lunging at the ball, waving the arms is only risky not necessarily illegal , for it could look like you touched it or it could be seen as in the case of shielding a ball whilst on the ground as an attempt to keep an opponent from playing it, afraid to kick at the ball for fear of kicking the nearby player thus PIADM. There is no actual law that prevents you from reaching out towards a ball with your hands just one that punishes you should you deliberately touch it even if that was not your intent.

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Answer provided by Referee Peter Grove

Hi Muhenned,
There is no offence in not handling the ball, so that is why you will not find anything in the laws referring to it.

As my colleagues have also pointed out, there is no prohibition in the laws on pretending to do something to deceive the opponent. In fact, it has long been a part of the game that is often (and I think in many cases, quite rightly) praised. Many of the skills involved in dribbling, for instance, involve trying to make the opponent think you are going to do one thing or move in one direction, then going in another direction or doing a different thing.

The idea that feinting is a permitted practice in football was even referred to in the laws and FIFA Q&A's in the past, as the following example from the 2006 Q&A's shows:

"When taking a free kick awarded to their team, may players use feinting tactics to confuse opponents?
Yes. It is permitted and is part of football."

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