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Soccer Rules Changes 1580-2000

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Question Number: 34985

Law 12 - Fouls and Misconduct 5/16/2023

RE: Competitive 11 Adult

Daphné of Montreal, Quebec Canada asks...

I know that a player cant charge a goalkeeper once they have the ball in their hands, but can the goalkeeper charge a player once in control of the ball in their hands? Or is considered an unfair advantage as the player cant do anything to get the ball or charge back? When i say charge, i mean shoulder to shoulder, without excessive force, not dangerously, ect... basically like if the ball was in the feet except its in their hands.

Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

Hi Daphné,
that would be a no no.

The keeper could shoulder charge fairly, to gain ball possession as could a player fairly charge the keeper up until the keeper gets his hands on the ball if it is within playing distance.

The Keeper has a 6 second protected status of unfettered control of the ball when in his hands inside the PA? WHY would he try to ram or charge an opponent once he has that? ?? What earthly purpose could it serve?

Such an action to barge into a player might create a foul against the keeper given his protected status?
A keeper can move around stationary opponents!
His status of being unchallengeable does not require an opponent to give up his place on the field.
As long as the player is not shadowing the keeper thus preventing his release or chosen path out towards the outer edges of the PA.

A proactive referee should halt that conduct or caution the opponent in such cases.
It will certainly irritate the keeper and create a situation where he uses the ball itself or shoulder to shove an opponent who is essentially in his face so to speak.

It is a little known oddity that at one time a player could CHARGE a keeper who had the ball in their hands. They altered or fixed that loophole, as it is now an INDFK for hassling the keeper upon his releasing the ball back into contended play!

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Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Daphné
The answer is no.

By definition it cannot be a fair charge as the ball is not available to be competed / contested
for. The goalkeeper may not be challenged when in control of the ball and that works the other way too. There is no reason for a goalkeeper to act in this manner and if it happens it can be a penalty kick based on the circumstances and perhaps a card to boot if the action is seen as unsporting behaviour.

Now in the past I recall awarding a penalty in a game where the goalkeeper caught a ball and then decided to target a certain player by running out with the ball in an unusual direction that was not a genuine attempt to release the ball and then barging the opponent to the ground. I awarded a penalty kick and I cautioned the goalkeeper for USB. The opponent had done absolutely nothing and he was just running out with zero interest in the goalkeeper.
The goalkeeper probably took a dislike to the opponent for something earlier or maybe history from another game and decided to target the opponent thinking that there would be no sanction once holding the ball. Wrong thinking.

Now there may be times when an opponent decides to impede the goalkeeper who is running out to release the ball and there is contact between the players. That contact can be initiated by the attacker with a follow up contact by the goalkeeper and a referee can decide that it is something that does not need to be called depending on a judgment on what affect it has or if play needs to be stopped and a free kick awarded to the goalkeeper for preventing release of the ball which was the first offence

I was always mindful of contact with goalkeepers in these situation as experience told me that it had the potential to escalate into something more serious. I have seen many situations where players try to slow down or stifle release and it was always a judgement call to intervene or not. Some goalkeepers paid little attention to being impeded while others took grave exception and it could flare up easily into something more serious.

So in summary there is no reason for a goalkeeper to charge anyone while holding the ball and it asks a question of the referee as to why it happened which could have consequences that a goalkeeper will not like.

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Answer provided by Referee Peter Grove

Hi Daphné,
As both my colleagues have pointed out, there is no reason why a goalkeeper with the ball in their hands should be charging an opponent. By definition, this could not be seen as a fair charge. The IFAB Glossary says that a charge is a type of physical challenge against an opponent, and a challenge is defined as:

"An action when a player competes/contests with an opponent for the ball"

Since the ball is not available to be contested for when in the goalkeeper's hands any charge that takes place cannot be legal.

If the keeper with the ball in their hands charges an opponent, the result would be a penalty, since such an offence would be taking place in the penalty area - unless the keeper were to commit the additional offence of deliberately handling the ball outside the penalty area, that is - and there's a high likelihood that the charge would be seen as at least reckless and worthy of a yellow card, to boot.

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