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Question Number: 35249

Law 12 - Fouls and Misconduct 11/25/2023

RE: Amateur Adult

Mühenned Elseyho of Onikisubat, Kahramanmaras Turkey asks...

Is the referee’s decision to award an indirect free kick correct in this video? I want to understand everything about returning the ball this way to the goalkeeper

Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

HI Mühenned,
very clear representation, so a very easy, yes or no, decision for a referee to make.
Did the defender intercept an incoming attacker's pass, then, deliberately using his feet, kick the ball to his keeper?

If the referee was of the opinion this was what is known as a "pass back" (a deliberately kicked ball by a teammate intended to his keeper, than the INDFK restart at the point the keepers' hand touch the ball subject to the special circumstances in the goal area, is correct in law!

If the referee was of the opinion this interception was simply made to stop the pass and the ball happened to be redirected towards the goal, the keeper is NOT restricted from using the hands. Play should continue! as there is 6 seconds now allowed for uncontested possession.

It is one of the interesting conundrums where "intent" plays a part in the determination of whether it is an infringement. In the past history of soccer the WASTING of time when defenders would continually play the ball back to their keeper's who COULD use their hands it was simply a extended game of keep away. Very boring to watch, frustrating to play. So they added this portion into the LOTG.

An indirect free kick is awarded if a goalkeeper, inside their penalty area,
commits the following offence:
• touches the ball with the hand/arm, unless the goalkeeper has clearly kicked
or attempted to kick the ball to release it into play, after:
• it has been deliberately kicked to the goalkeeper by a team-mate
• receiving it directly from a throw-in taken by a team-mate

The fact is the defender's causal attitude & benign approach may have prompted the referee into thinking it was a deliberately kicked pass to the keeper more than a rebound off an intercept of breaking up an attack that luckily broke towards the goal.

Can you understand the difference in how a lunging slide tackle redirecting the ball using the feet in an actual challenge for ball possession might redirect the ball towards the keeper. but with more the intent to stop the attack not a pass? More like a deflection or rebound than a specifically deliberate kick designed to pass the ball to their keeper.

Note the added portion if the goalkeeper has clearly kicked or attempted to kick the ball to release it into play, using the feet to clear the ball but it bobbled or something went awry that the hands CAN be used without the INDFK penalty. The thinking being it is the keepers job to stop goals, let's not punish him for trying to do his job on a technicality that has nothing to do with wasting time!

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Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

HI Mühenned
A goalkeeper may not touch the ball with a hand or an arm when the ball has been deliberately kicked to the goalkeeper by a team mate.
The ball is kicked when a player makes contact with the ball with the foot and/or the ankle.

In this example the defender has played the ball with his foot to the goalkeeper so the goalkeeper should have kicked the ball away. To pick the ball up with his hands was an offence and an IDFK is awarded from that location.

There will be times when the ball is kicked by a team mate when the ball is free to be picked up by the goalkeeper. Typical examples are a kick in a challenge with an opponent, a miskick, a kick where it is uncertain whether the ball was kicked TO the goalkeeper. In those situations a referee can opine that the kick is not intended TO the goalkeeper and therefore no offence when the ball is picked up.

In recent times goalkeepers have become lax about this offence based on many of these situations fall into challenge, miskick categories so no offence are called when the ball is picked up. Doubtful ones are rarely called.

This though is not doubtful as it is clearly kicked by a team mate under no pressure and there is only one intention which is to kick the ball to the goalkeeper.
I have seen doubtful ones kicked away by goalkeepers as they did not want to risk using their hands. In many ways if the question is asked of a referee in these situations the answer may not be liked. Once kicked away the question does not arise.

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