Soccer Referee Resources
Ask a Question
Recent Questions

Previous You-Call-It's

VAR (Video Assistant Referee)

Q&A Quick Search
The Field of Play
The Ball
The Players
The Players Equipment
The Referee
The Other Match Officials
The Duration of the Match
The Start and Restart of Play
The Ball In and Out of Play
Determining the Outcome of a Match
Fouls and Misconduct
Free Kicks
Penalty kick
Throw In
Goal Kick
Corner Kick

Common Sense
Kicks - Penalty Mark
The Technical Area
The Fourth Official
Attitude and Control
League Specific
High School

Common Acronyms
Meet The Ref
Contact AskTheRef
Help Wanted
About AskTheRef

Soccer Rules Changes 1580-2000

Panel Login

Question Number: 34994

Law 12 - Fouls and Misconduct 6/1/2023

Crebs Crem of Zagreb, Croatia asks...


I am curious how should the referee decide in the following scenarios.

1) The ball hits player A10's arm accidentally, player A10 takes a shot which seems to be off target. Then the ball hits the goalkeeper of team B and gets into the net.

2) The ball hits player A10's arm accidentally, player A10 takes a shot which seems to be on target. Then the ball hits player A9 and gets into the net.

Thank you.

Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

HI Crebs,
excellent observational question!

The LOTG on deliberate handling have been recently been altered.

I hold the opinion these changes were driven by a public PERCEPTION of unfairness and perhaps a reluctance on officials as how to gauge such situations with a degree of consistency .

IFAB/FIFA decided to eliminate the doubt by making even an ACCIDENTAL handling by the attacking team into a DFK foul , IF - that accidental handling resulted in a DIRECT goal ( ball off arm into goal ) or if there was an advantageous repositioning where the ball could then be redirected or shot for an immediate goal . This position, stated in the LOTG whereby a DIRECT GOAL off arm into goal or an immediate opportunity that RESULTS In a GOAL is NOT going to be permitted instead of a kick off we now have NO GOAL AWARDED & a DFK outwards in favour of the defending opposition..

I am of the opinion that what you are asking is how immediate is a shot away from the goal or if other players are involved & under what circumstances is the word immediate removed into eventual good fortune.?

I completely reject the notion that immediate is comparable to the advantage time frame where we wait and see if a good opportunity, attack, shot or goal might appear. The use of the word immediately implies QUICK , not wait and see . There is ALWAYS a certain amount of referee discretion as to the FINAL decisions but in both your scenarios a goal results fairly quickly but NOT directly !

Part 1
keeper redirects ball inadvertently or unknowingly into his goal as a result of a shot taken by the attackers just after a ball to arm situation.

If say this was a ball into arm, it drops and he flails with a foot wave of indifference that sent the ball a mile high, away, no where near or on target and when it came down wide of the goal the keeper bungles it and it goes into the goal could we award the goal ? Possibly!

Certainly NOT direct and if it was high arcing ball it does not seem immediate, unlike a directed shot towards the goal where a keeper might be tempted to handle the ball not totally aware it was off target and a DFK out might be the wise choice

Part 2
Well let's see about offside on that redirect but this seems fairly immediate and DFK out ! There is a possibility some time could elapse and the secondary action would not be considered immediate or a scoring chance created from the accidental handling. Based on your description I see it more as immediate but if say the handling occurs outside the PA and a cross comes in, then the 2nd player shoots or has the ball hit him this is not immediate and the goal could stand.

While it is at referee discretion, the perception of those watching will add the pressure of expectation to the already stressful palate a referee endures in such a critical situation. The fact is what is NOT going to be called out in the field as accidental handling play continues unabated is ONLY targeted as a free kick when a goal is immediately created because of it. His match, his decision, his reputation! Each referee will answer to how they apply the LOTG .


Read other questions answered by Referee Richard Dawson

View Referee Richard Dawson profile

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Crebs
Law 12 tells us that it is an offence and I quote
**scores in the opponents’ goal:
# directly from their hand/arm, even if accidental, including by the goalkeeper
# immediately after the ball has touched their hand/arm, even if accidental""

Now immediately is not defined for us and it is left to the referee to decide.

In scenario 1 it is for me without question the goal is disallowed and the restart is a direct free kick. The law just tells us that it is disallowed if a goal is scored immediately after the ball has touched a hand / arm. It does not go into saves, direction of the ball other than it ends up in the goal.

In scenario 2 is it somewhat trickier in that if there is an element of deliberate in the action of A9 a referee could decide that it was not immediately and that it was the action by A9 that scored, As described though it is a deflection which for me puts it into the offence category and the goal is disallowed.
In reality there will be huge pressure on a referee anyway on any handling in any goal situation where a goal is scored immediately for it to be called as an offence.

Read other questions answered by Referee Joe McHugh

View Referee Joe McHugh profile

Ask a Follow Up Question to Q# 34994
Read other Q & A regarding Law 12 - Fouls and Misconduct

Soccer Referee Extras

Did you Ask the Ref? Find your answer here.

Enter Question Number

If you received a response regarding a submitted question enter your question number above to find the answer

Offside Question?

Offside Explained by Chuck Fleischer & Richard Dawson, Former & Current Editor of AskTheRef

This web site and the answers to these questions are not sanctioned by or affiliated with any governing body of soccer. The free opinions expressed on this site should not be considered official interpretations of the Laws of the Game and are merely opinions of AskTheRef and our panel members. If you need an official ruling you should contact your state or local representative through your club or league. On AskTheRef your questions are answered by a panel of licensed referees. See Meet The Ref for details about our panel members. While there is no charge for asking the questions, donation to maintain the site are welcomed! <>