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Question Number: 34921

Law 12 - Fouls and Misconduct 3/15/2023

RE: Adult

Nicholas Broderick of Lewis Lake, Nova Scotia Canada asks...

A defending goalkeeper traps a slow, rolling shot on his/her goal *using only his/her chest* inside the penalty area - the ball does not touch his/her hands. No attacker is close enough to challenge, and, mistakenly believing the goalkeeper has taken possession, they all retreat up-field. The goalkeeper continues to lie on the ball, with the attackers now loudly complaining the goalkeeper has blatantly violated the "six second rule".

Is there anything for the referee to do here?

PIADM is hard to justify if no opponent is nearby. And there's no specific enumeration of "lying on top of the ball" as UB in the Laws anymore. (That may just be an editorial oversight.)

It's probably an ethical breach to openly tell the attacking team the goalkeeper does not, in fact, have possession of the ball. It's on the attacking team to know the Laws, not for the referee to educate them when they're making a mistake.

Is this "circumventing the Laws"? Which Law?

Maybe the referee just says "it's unsporting because I say so" and gives the IFK/YC? Even if not literally supported, it feels like *something* must be done.

Appreciate yours thoughts on yet another bizarre hypothetical (I hope to never deal with).

Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

Hi Nicholas,
it is funny how these imagined scenarios always seems to add a wrinkle in how a law might be implemented. As we are oft to point out the LOTG can not cover every single possibility of what if? They certainly do a decent job of at least pointing us in a direction, asking us to use our common sense on what is best for the match itself, hence the discretionary powers afforded to us under Law 5 to blend spirit and letter of the law!

No matter WHAT arbitrary decision you make, be sure the RESTART fits the circumstances so it can not be protested . For example an INDFK, if inside the 6 yard goal area must be on the line parallel to the actual goal line 6yds away. If it was to be a DB inside PA that location is important as it could ONLY be for the keeper who then he has 6 seconds to get rid of it assuming he picks it up. The ball is free to contest once it hits the ground and the opponents only need be 4 yds away, so chances are its hands on.

So if we assume the keeper has leapt upon a ball and covered it, then by doing so if there WAS offside criteria, that action becomes a sufficient touch possession to cancel all attacking restrictions. Now if all attackers have grudgingly assumed, crap, lets withdraw and wait for a punt out without hovering about.
So far nothing amiss.

If the keeper remains in the, chest on top of ball position, without making an effort to arise . My first instinct as referee would be to ask? "ARE YOU OK?"
We tend to give a few extra moments for a keeper to arise and get up, either leaving the ball at his feet to dribble or picking it up to start the 6 seconds of actual non contested ball possession where the keeper can release the ball free from challenge.

In this old particular offside scenario the ball had rolled into the PA near the goal line by a goal post, with the keeper was standing over it BUT had never touched it. There was in fact an offside attacker who upon realizing, the keeper was right there, turned away from challenging thus dismissing the need to see an INDFK involvement at THAT time.

Of course the keeper with their team ahead by a goal, simply waited, legally using up time as no other opponent thought to -force- him to get on with it. Finally the PIOP who had turned away previously choose to run in and force the pick up. The AR correctly flagged the moment the PIOP was close to the keeper so as to avoid the challenge because offside was NOT yet reset.

The difference here with your scenario is there was an actual body to ball touch which is not a deflection and thus resets offside! No difference than if the keeper had placed a FOOT on top of the ball, it counts as a touch, it resets control AND the keeper could in fact pick the ball up with the hands later as long as the ball was not deliberately kicked to him by a teammate . But the significant difference here is any opponent had the right to challenge the keeper for ball control up until that 6 seconds of ball in hand control was utilized.

Now lets track back to the, (Are you ok?) moment/
These actions have NOW interested the referee, to be on his radar so to speak?
A referee will be wanting a response.
He will want to know why? "Lets go! Lets get on with it! "

I tend to think that a FAILURE by the keeper to respond, or to arise, the referee will be thinking if he is not hurt, something is wrong? Could a warning be verbally issued tell them not to be a donkey, if he doesn't get up off the ball things could go going to go badly mate!

Now the referee if responding to worry, choses to blow a whistle and actually stop play what avenues of restart are available?

(1) Could be a DB to the keeper after telling them not to be a donkey, if he doesn't crack a punt out in less than 6 seconds things could go badly for him !
(2) Would an INDFK for USB just wasting time manufacturing an unreasonable situation be plausible for a NON response and just laying there ? Yes absolutely
(3) Could there be a need to caution show a yellow card? Yes Absolutely

(4) What if we elicit a response?
Keeper gets up, ball at his feet or bends up ball is by the knee/body but no effort to grab it or dribble. Yet the ball is no longer covered up. What if anything could be the referee response?
For me, Ok your good to go! Thumbs up.

Now still no move to grab or move the ball but ball is free to be challenged hopefully smarter opponents realize they need to force play not wait for keeper to do anything at all. If keeper was to re-flop on top without using the hands, once the opponents were there, perhaps go ahead & use PIADM as your rational. You are right. as neutral officials we are not supposed to tactically advise either team . Yet to warn players not to be obtuse or advise play is ongoing stated as lets go, good to go, ok, thumbs up, only indicates generically the game is afoot PLAY to the whistle!

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Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Nicholas
Thanks for the scenario and question.

The scenario would be somewhat odd and one that I have not seen. Yes it could technically happen and my reaction would be that the goalkeeper should be forced to pick the ball up by opponents and then the 6 second law can be enforced.
To answer the opponents who are complaining about 6 seconds it is easy to shout ** Not in the hands. Needs to pick it up** which forces the opponents to act.
One can also opine that if the ball has touched any part of the arm in this position that the goalkeeper has control of the ball and again the six second law will apply with a strong shout to get on with play.

Also it can be considered Playing in a Dangerous Manner if there are opponents nearby or getting relatively close with no action by the GK. The opponents will want to kick the ball yet the goalkeeper's position is preventing that. The restart is an indirect free kick if that offence is called.

If all that is not possible a referee could also decide that the player has stayed down for some unknown reason and play could be halted to deal with a possible injury etc. A quick shout to check on the goalkeeper by way of a shout "Are you okay goalkeeper" and I would expect a response. If the goalkeeper say "I'm okay" then a shout of "Okay lets get on with play" would be appropriate. If no response then play can be stopped and a dropped ball would be the restart.
The opponents would be able to ensure that the ball is picked up on the DB so the 6 seconds would apply

So there are always plenty of options for a referee to use within the Law to ensure the game is played as intended.

My preference would be a strong shout to the goalkeeper to get up and get on with play as the options will not be the goalkeeper's favour should the referee take action. There is no ethical breach in telling a player/s something that helps the playing of the game such as getting on with play or desisting from doing something or opining no offence. Referees do it all the time say at restarts where a players is delaying. A shout would be appropriate and expected and if not heeded then a caution.

Refereeing is about communication and a good referee will be able to impartially impart information that helps in the game being played. A referee has plenty of tools available to help in ensuring the game is played as intended including speaking with players. Laying on top of the ball for any length of time is not part of the game so a referee would be entitled to tell a goalkeeper in this instance to get up with the ball and get on with play.

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