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Question Number: 34756

Law 12 - Fouls and Misconduct 11/7/2022

RE: Provincial Under 18

Mark of Edmonton, Alberta Canada asks...

The ball hits the hands of two players at once that are on opposing teams. Both players have committed handball offences but at the same time.

Who gets the free kick?

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Mark
Thanks for the question.
Simultaneous offence by opposing players is indeed rare as generally one offence happens first perhaps a second or so before the other. The Law is more aligned to true simultaneous offences by the same player such as handling on a double touch. The handling is the offence that is punished.

In days gone by the answer was a DB at the location of the offences yet that was rarely if ever used. The current law tells us that a referee "" punishes the more serious offence, in terms of sanction, restart, physical severity and tactical impact, when more than one offence occurs at the same time.

In your example both offences are identical so it will be difficult to chose between either offence. I would suspect that most referees will go with the more obvious offence, perhaps the one that looked like it happened first or perhaps make no decision.
Let us say that one decision was a penalty kick and the other was a free kick out to the defence. How many referees will go with the penalty kick? The Law suggests the penalty kick due to perhaps tactical impact yet I suspect many referees might let them slide as not deliberate

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Answer provided by Referee Jason Wright

Hi Mark,

Fortunately, this scenario seems extremely unlikely to occur.

I agree with Ref McHugh that a lot of referees would probably go with the more obvious one.

But, if we assume that both are definitely fouls and no real reason to pick one or the other, then the laws would require us to punish the more serious offence in terms of santion, restart, physical severity and tactical impact.

So, if one of the players would warrant a card for their handling and the other wouldn't, you punish the one who would warrant a card. If, for instance, that isn't a factor but the simultaneous handling occurs in the PA, then the correct answer is a PK.

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Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

Hi Mark,
the old drop ball restart for anything like this is now enshrined in memory only.

Then again, I was so sure both players had it accidently hit their arms/hands so play on unless a goal was immediately scored!

The chances of 2 players reaching for and playing a ball using their arms/hands at precisely the exact same time are minimal more like 0 .00001 % Fouling one other we can up the %

I suggest you step up make a decision as the referee and pick the obvious if indeed there is cautionable misconduct or DOGSO & a clear angle of view to do so. It takes integrity to do what's right and courage to do what is right even if others think it wrong!

Otherwise, in as much as we do punish the more serious infraction there is not a chance in hell, I award a PK in a situation where I have doubt.
A DFK out given a goal cannot be scored even accidently would likely be my choice.

If we look at the mind set a defender knows the risk when those arms/hands get too loose, and they generally react to breaking up an attack (cautionable) or prevent a ball headed into the goal hence red card sendoff possibilities & an attacker might try to gain the advantage but only faces a caution.

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