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Question Number: 35345

Law 12 - Fouls and Misconduct 2/6/2024

RE: Competitive Under 15

Barry of Dublin, Leinster Ireland asks...


So I’ve been looking for the answer to this and can’t find it anywhere.
We have a keeper that struggles to kick from the ground. If a player from the same team stands a metre or two in front of her facing away from her, can she kick the ball off the back of her legs then pick it up? It is not a back pass cause clearly the other player doesn’t make any motion and is looking away from her.

Appreciate the answer, while I know it might be controversial.


Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Barry
It is actually spelt out in Law 12 of the Laws of the game and I quote
** initiates a deliberate trick for the ball to be passed (including from a free kick or goal kick) to the goalkeeper with the head, chest, knee etc. to circumvent the Law, whether or not the goalkeeper touches the ball with the hands. The goalkeeper is penalised if responsible for initiating the deliberate trick**

So technically it is trick to circumvent so it is a caution and an IDFK. A referee might let it slide the first time it happens thinking it was unintentional yet a repeat should be sanctioned.

You might recall that when Law 16 was changed back in 2019 to allow the ball to be played by defenders inside the penalty area that some goalkeepers developed the trick of flicking the ball up to a team mate for it to be headed back. IFAB stated at the time that the view of technical and refereeing experts about whether this was within the *spirit* of the Laws was divided so the matter was to be discussed by The IFAB at an AGM. IFAB said at the time that this practice should not be permitted nor should it be penalised. If it occurred the referee was to order the goal kick to be re-taken (but without any disciplinary action).
In the 21/22 season IFAB stated that the offence of using a *trick*to circumvent the Law that prevents the goalkeeper from handling a deliberate kick from a team-mate will now apply at goal kicks. The goalkeeper is cautioned if responsible for initiating the *trick*. That is the current wording in Law 12.
So there you have it. For a short period it was just a retake whereas now it is a caution and an IDFK.

When I played the game there were times when the goalkeeper at Underage was a poor kicker of the ball off the ground. I had a strong kick and I used to take the goal kicks in those instances. That was at a time when the backpass law was not present so back then it was possible to take a quick goal kick and for the goalkeeper to pick the ball up after it was passed back into the penalty area. That only happened once as it was closed down quickly preventing a repeat. As I got older I was able to kick the ball the full length of the field of play no doubt due to all the practice I had plus working on kicking technique!

So the advice is to either get a defender to take the kick or for the goalkeeper to improve her kicking skill or for that matter play the ball out from the back which is the preferred tactic encouraged by the FAI.

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Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

HI Barry
I concur with my colleague Ref McHugh, while such an action MIGHT get a free pass as a mistake once, especially if the opposition was still lollygagging about in the PA, yet it could easily be seen as a workaround the LOTG on a deliberate kick much like the header flicks earlier as my colleague noted and because the keeper is the player instigating the USB this infringement takes place NOT where the hands touch the ball or where the player was struck but from that point of the initial free kick subject to the special circumstances in the goal area!

While tactically you could put defenders wide out to the touchlines sayin line with the goal area or PA and pass the ball out and then move it up. Find a heavy footed defender to take the long kicks off the ground and develop your keepers abilities in practice!

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