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Soccer Rules Changes 1580-2000

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Question Number: 34860

Law 12 - Fouls and Misconduct 2/4/2023

RE: Under 10

Tyler of _, British Columbia Canada asks...

Is there a rule against an attacker following the goalie when they have possession of the ball making it hard for them to pass to a team mate? Thanks.

Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

HI Tyler,
If you as a player mirror the opposing keeper movements from a RESPECTABLE distance you might be ok. However, if you are in tight and effectively in the way of them throwing or kicking the ball away, you are creating an infraction and could be cautioned shown a yellow card for interfering with the release of the ball back into play.

The LOTG (laws of the game) prohibit a player from preventing the opposition keeper releasing the ball back into play during their 6 seconds of possession . I mention that the keeper ONCE they have the ball within their hands inside their PA (penalty area ) they have 6 seconds of what is supposed to be UNCONTESTED ball possession .

An aware referee might readdress the time to a longer duration if they feel the keeper is being goaded or hassled in such away that they lean past 6 seconds rather than award the INDFK on the ground .

Opposing players will try to be sneaky and alter their retreating paths to cut in front to hinder or block as an (oops, sorry I did not mean it, ) but we are very aware they likely did! In fact some retreating player will try to get have the keeper to react angerly and strike them or push them even with the ball itself feigning innocence . The referee could be proactive and warn the lollygaggers to get out out of way or use the INDFK out and caution show the yellow card if they are too blatant with their USB actions.

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Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Tyler
Thanks for the question
Law 12 tells us that it is an indirect free kick offence for a player to prevent a goalkeeper from releasing the ball from the hands or kicks or attempts to kick the ball when the goalkeeper is in the process of releasing it.
It is also an offence to impede an opponent such as a goalkeeper who is running with the ball to try to stop the release of the ball.

Now the question is whether it needs to be called or not and if advantage should be played or for that matter if it is doubtful. A goalkeeper may get past or throw over the impeding player and be able to release the ball to a team mate in which case it may disadvantage the team from starting a promising attack albeit deep in their own half yet say it just after a corner kick there might be few opponents in position to stop a quick counter attack.
If the action has been successful then the referee calls the offence and there is a chance that the offending player is cautioned if the referee considers it unsporting.

My experience is as well that goalkeepers take exception to this type of tactic and it can result in an escalation of the situations. I have seen these type of situations ending up as violent conduct at open age so I was always keen to deal sternly with any attempt to prevent release by a goalkeeper.

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Answer provided by Referee Jason Wright

Hi Tyler,

If they're in close range this would fall under preventing the GK from releasing the ball. By 'close range', I would consider it anything within the PA - even potentially a few yards outside the PA, though I don't think I've ever seen that happen to a point I was concerned about it.

However, don't be too quick to whistle - if you do, you're changing a GK punt/release into an indirect free kick, which is less advantageous to the GK (you also wouldn't issue a card here, unless it's persistent infringement, or they're blocking a quick counterattack - but I can't see this being an issue at U/10!). Especially consider that at this young age, often free kicks can't get off the ground so an IFK in the area can easily lead to losing possession.

I would normally manage that, in older games, with a shout of 'leave the keeper alone!' and if the GK is being affected by an opponent, I'd mentally add a second or two to the 6-second count. If it's the situatoin where the GK has stopped to appeal, I'd should 'leave the keeper alone! Alright, you've got the ball keeper, let's go, 6 seconds'.

At this young age? You can even move yourself closer and quickly explain while it's happening 'hey blue, you can't follow the keeper around like that ok? You have to leave him alone, you can just run back to defend' - the players will probably all stop to listen to you. then the next 1 or 2 times that keeper has the ball you can remind the players to 'make sure we leave the keeper alone!'. Education is a big part of the referee's role at this young age.

Usually attackers in older games who do this are just being niggly and annoying. If you see this, make a mental note to keep a cloes eye on that attacker and the GK moving forwards as you might start to get cheap shots in. Or the attacker might even get some cheap shots in later, trying to rile up the GK and draw a PK.

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