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Question Number: 35342

Law 12 - Fouls and Misconduct 2/4/2024

RE: Adult

Paul Hutton of Presron, England asks...

The goalkeeper receives a back pass and he miss controls the ball and it goes towards the goal. A forward who is now ahead of the keeper just 5 yards out, directly in front of the goal and is about to tap the ball into an empty net when the keeper dives full length to palm the ball away with his hands.

Is this an indirect free kick with no further action for the keeper or should he be sent off for making an infringement which denied a clear goal scoring opportunity,

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Paul
Thanks for the question
This Law was amended recently in that a mis-kick by the goalkeeper results in a reset of the deliberate kick by a team mate and there is no offence should the goalkeeper subsequently touch the ball with a hand / arm.
Law 12 states that it is an IDFK only 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.

In your situation the answer hinges on whether it is a kick to clearly put the ball back into play or miscontrol by the goalkeeper. If it is a miskick there is no offence and if it is miscontrol where the intention was not to release the ball back into play it is an IDFK only and there is no card.
The law is to prevent the ball being picked by goalkeepers not to prevent goalkeepers in what they have to do which is to make saves hence there is no cautions for stopping promising attacks or dismissals for denying obvious goal scoring opportunities in these situations. One could not expect a goalkeeper not to try to save the ball in such situations hence the no card.
The one exception is on a double touch infringement by the goalkeeper as set out in Law 12 where the conditions for a caution or dismissal are present on that particular offence.

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Answer provided by Referee Jason Wright

Hi Paul,

Thanks for your question.

In the past, this would have been an indirect free kick. However, recently there was a change to the laws so that if the GK tries to clear the ball away from the goals - whether it's from their hands or the goal - and it's a miskick then they are allowed to handle it. I suppose this is because the backpass law is there to prevent timewasting, and a GK shouldn't be forced into a potential goal situation from a miskick, and handling it here isn't really why the law was invented. I'm not a big fan of that change myself, but here we are.

Now even if we took the miskick out of the question - or we went back a few years - would it be a card?

No. The LOTG specifically state that a GK cannot receive a red or yellow card for handling the ball in their penalty area. No matter the situation.

The only exception is if the GK touches it twice from a dead ball restart (goal kick or free kick). Then they can receive a yellow or red card if it's stopping a promising attack or denying an obvious goalscoring opportunity. The reason for this exception is that the handling itself is irrelevant - it's the 2nd touch that's the offence, no matter which part of the body is used.

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Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

HI Paul,

The LOTG state a keeper can not legally use their hands if the ball is deliberately kicked or received from a direct throw from a teammate. intended for the keeper to control and distribute

This portion of the law was to prevent keep away tactics by defenders and using up valuable playing time.

I do not agree with the reasoning of a recent inclusion within the LOTG which NOW allows a mistake by the keeper in NOT clearing the ball, via a miss kick but it does not really address a header or deflection as a reason to WAVE the INDFK restart of illegal hand use even if it is OBVIOUS this turned into a necessary SAVE, not an attempt to waste time possibly created from poor skill ,slippery conditions, bad bounce etc.. !

I understand the concept was to not punish the keeper for simply trying to stop a goal. His main occupation. YET another possibility for the mistake is the attackers, by creating pressure, by pursuit and tracking, force the mistake! Perhaps making the back pass to be not be to easy to control or worrying the keeper by their proximity in their pursuit. it might hit them and rebound into goal so he tries to dribble or to redirect the ball
In my opinion, given we are to promote attacking soccer and score goals they should be rewarded with that INDFK. particularly if it is the pressure that creates the mistake. Sigh but then we do not make up the laws! lol

This portion of the LOTG also states when after a 6 second uncontestable possession that in the process of a release should the keeper drop the ball we should not get upset if he recovers it or kicks it away even if an opponent was disadvantaged in trying to play it. In effect, we are looking at INTENT as a reason to find fault, not the fault itself (use of hand)

In ALL cases where it is a certifiable INDFK offence there are no cards involved as the keeper has no DOGSO via handling inside their PA. An INDFK inside the PA is a might good opportunity to score!

The INDFK for a second touch INSIDE the PA on a free kick or goal kick, be it hands or feet or for that matter any body part is potential for a red card send off DOGSO or a yellow card for USB or denying an attacking opportunity depending on the circumstances.


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