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Question Number: 35234

Law 12 - Fouls and Misconduct 11/17/2023

Steve Wheeler of Collier Row, United Kingdom asks...

A goalkeeper kicking from his hands in open play. He releases the ball just inside box and makes contact with the ball kicking it outside the box. Is this one motion and classed as handball outside the box?

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Steve
Thanks for the question.
It is only an offence to touch the ball outside the penalty with a hand which includes the line.
As described there is no offence here as the goalkeeper has not touched the ball with a hand outside the penalty area. The ball was released from the hands inside the penalty area. While it is described by you as *one motion* the ball was not touched by a hand outside the penalty area just a kick so it cannot be an offence.

I recall a few seasons ago an over eager assistant referee flagged for what he thought was the goalkeeper reaching out over the penalty area line on a punt like you described. Action replay showed that the ball was released inside the area and only the kick happened over the line. I would say a red faced assistant plus a loss of marks in his assessment when it was shown. I doubt he made that mistake again or even close to it.
I like to show this video

Does a hand make contact with the ball over the line at 40secs onwards. It is certain the kick happened over the line yet what about the hand on the ball?
Impossible to be certain so if a goalkeeper did this in a game there should be no call made.

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Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

Hi Steve,
based solely on your description there is no offence whatsoever. The ball was NOT touched with the hands when the ball was COMPLETELY outside the PA, it was in fact only kicked outside. NO foul is there! The entirety of the ball must be 100% outside the 5 inch boundary line. It is NOT the location of the hands that makes it a foul, it is the location of the ball itself WHEN touched by the hand!

To make the call at all would be incorrect, however, if it was perceived incorrectly by the on field official , should VAR could see it as such they should make the official aware it was not so and not award the DFK that is the restart for handling the ball OUTSIDE the PA .

By the way if it was painfully obvious that indeed. the keeper has carried the ball in their hands without releasing it in time, the restart location is just a smidge away from the exit point, right tight, but not touching the PA boundary line, not where it was kicked!

Unfortunately at the grass roots if it was perceived the hand was in contact with the ball when the ball was COMPLETELY outside the PA, hard to argue but a keeper carrying the ball, holding it in his hands while running completely outside the PA before tossing it up & kicking it away, is considered a gotcha kind of call.

Most often perceived as a doubtful occurrence, and, even if marginally true, generally considered a trifling offence. We generally warn the keeper if it is looking like it could be happening especially youth.

That is not to say it does not occur, or it should never be punished if it did

Some keepers have the idea that the penalty arc out in front of the PA which designates 10 yards from the PK spot is ok to wander into. It is not, the top edge of that arc is 4 yards away from the 18 yard PA boundary line . Some keepers do not heed warnings to stay back and will push the release moment until it looks outside and may in fact be outside . Keep in mind this is a release of the ball back into play and the opposition has done nothing to earn a free chance at goal.

Faded lines, bright sunlight, momentary confusion might disorientate a keeper from knowing where the PA lines are. Also note while it is a DFK offence carrying the ball outside the PA accidentally is simply a loss of possession. That is assuming the keeper's reaction of dissent does not get cautioned. lol

Much different than a keeper exiting his PA and then stopping the ball outside using the hand. for a cardable DFK offence at minimum cautionable USB and could be red card send off DOGSO . Just remember it is ALWAYS A DFK OUTSIDE the PA , a keeper can NEVER have a PK awarded for a BALL HANDLING offence!

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