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Question Number: 35430

Law 12 - Fouls and Misconduct 4/4/2024

RE: Competitive Under 15

Marlon Folse of Dallas, Tx USA asks...

If a keeper leaves the box and commits a handball to stop play but there are three defenders behind the keeper in the box making them the last defenders, should the keeper be shown a red for the handball?

Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

Hi Marlon ,
The keeper would be classified as a player outside his own PENALTY AREA!
The deliberate use of their hands on the ball result in a DFK from the point of contact.
The player/keeper by stopping the attacking play using a deliberate handling completely OUTSIDE the PA as an unsporting gesture would be a cautioned for the USB and the player/keeper shown a yellow card.

Whether a Red card for DOGSO resulting in a send off, reducing the team by a player would be dependant on the over all circumstances. There is criteria we use to determine, WITHOUT this intervention, was a true chance was denied? It is true other players in between the goal and the foul lesson the need to show a red card but do not rule it out!

You say three other defenders were in behind closer to the goal line.
Were they in a position to STOP the shot itself?
Or if the opponent had rounded the keeper, in a position to effectively challenge? It is possible they were in a position by which the referee felt the opportunity for goal was NOT obvious and attack was in a position to be thwarted. Yet if all 3 players are over on the left and that shot was was a screamer headed for the top right to corner. Then you can show the red card because as the referee of the match your opinion WAS the handling PREVENTED the goal. Cheers

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Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Marion
Thanks for the question.
A referee to opine if denying an obvious goal scoring opportunity exists or not has to consider what is referred to as the 4Ds in the calculation. They are

# Distance between the offence and the goal
# Direction of the play
# Distance to the ball likelihood of keeping or gaining control 
# Defenders to consider number and location.

All four must be present for a sending off.

From your description we can say Distance to the ball by the attacker, Distance to the goal, Direction of Play may all be resent and the only one in question is the location and number of defenders.
Generally with that number of players behind the offending player and between the attacker and the goal we might opine that an obvious goal scoring opportunity may not be present and it is a caution for stopping a promising attack. Having said that it is possible that all three defenders could be behind the goalkeeper yet not positioned to stop a goal scoring opportunity.
Many times when a goalkeeper comes outside the penalty area to commit an offence there are generally few if any defender in the penalty area and it is likely to be a goal scoring opportunity when the other 3 conditions are present.

I would like to think that the referee considered all of the 4Ds and based the decision on all four being present. It would be incorrect to base it solely on handball by the goalkeeper only outside the penalty area.

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