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Soccer Rules Changes 1580-2000

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Question Number: 34910

Law 12 - Fouls and Misconduct 3/9/2023

RE: Rec Adult

Doug Crawford of Folsom, CA US asks...

Hello referees - hypothetical attacker handball:
The ball accidentally strikes a player on the arm. The player shoots on goal and the ball hits the goal post and comes back to the same player who shoots and scores.

LOTG Law 12 says -
“It is an offence if a player: …
- scores in the opponent’s goal:
- directly from their hand/arm, even if accidental, including the goalkeeper
- immediately after the ball has touched their hand/arm, even if accidental”

Question - Is a second shot on goal a new phase of play, and the goal is good? Or if only a 3-4 seconds have passed, is that still “immediately”, resulting in a free kick for the defense?

Thanks as usual! /Doug

Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

Hi Doug,
a fun fact 34911 question is on this same topic .

Given no one else got a touch to change the result I would tend to weigh in that a referee calls it a DFK out for the accidental handling which permitted the sequence of events to occur .

In the old days we awarded a goal because whether a ball rebounded off your face, butt knee, elbow, or arm, why is where the ball rebounded off of a factor? ONLY if the arms /hands were deliberately used to redirect, but LOTG have changed and it is the reality we are now faced with!

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Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Doug
Good to hear from you again and a great question.

Would you believe this question was posed in our Pro Referees' Recertification test this year!!

The answer given was that the goal should be disallowed and a direct free kick restart. The answer would be sanctioned at the highest level including UEFA.
"Immediately" is not defined yet from other parts of the Law we could easily surmise that it would have to be with 3/4 seconds much like advantage.

Now personally I do not like part of this Law as in this case if the ball rebounds to a team mate the goal is awarded. To me its handling or its not.

I watched the Man Utd game v Real Betis and the RB goal had a hint of handling where the ball appeared to come down off the attacker's chest on to his arm which seemed to move it favourably for him. He passed the ball to his team mate who scored. Now had he shot and scored himself I'm fairly certain it would have been disallowed yet a pass and an immediate shot nullified that.

Anyway we have what is written in the LotG whether one agrees with it or not. As always there can be a hint of uncertainty about contact or not except perhaps in the case of VAR which does not apply to the majority of referees.
Even VAR is somewhat silent on timing and mention attacking phase and goes into some detail about trying to make provision for that, It uses the !what would football expect" term.
So I would suspect that immediately would refer to close proximity to goal and within a few seconds not something that happened after keep ball by the player for a lengthy distance.

I watched a game recently and the referee disallowed a goal for the ball touching the arm of the attacker who scored. It was questionable if it touched the arm or not yet it certainly did not look like handling. The player complained that it hit his side and it certainly was more his side than his arm. In times gone by it certainly would not have been given as a DHB, Once the referee opined it touched his arm and perhaps it did as they referee was better positioned than I was it had to be a DFK for handling.

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