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Question Number: 35474

Law 12 - Fouls and Misconduct 4/25/2024

RE: Competitive High School

Ken Craig of Cookeville, TN United States asks...

If a defending player intentionally passes the ball back to their keeper and the keeper unintentionally kicks the ball into the air and it goes backwards due to the spin on the ball. As an offensive player goes toward the ball the keeper grabs the ball with his hands. The offensive player never touches the ball. Is it legal for the keeper to pickup his muffed kick in this situation?

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Ken
Thanks for the question
This type of scenario is expressly set out in Law 12 and I quote from the Indirect Free Kick section. (Capitals by me)
**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 .

So there you have it. Once a goalkeeper has attempted to kick the ball to release it into play what happens afterwards is mute.
So in your example of the muffed kick there is no offence if the goalkeeper subsequently uses hands to save or pick up the ball. In fact it is expected that the goalkeeper as part of the role would have to do this hence the no offence proviso by the law makers.

Nw what is does not mean that a goalkeeper could deliberately kick the ball in a way that the intention is a kick to pick the ball up. It must be a release back into play that has gone astray not any controlled kick.

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Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

Hi Ken,
simple answer! Yes! Keeper is legally permitted to recover the ball only because the referee was satisfied the keeper had clearly kicked or attempted to kick the ball to release it into play, not that he dribbled it about to get to it later.

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