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Question Number: 35513

Law 12 - Fouls and Misconduct 5/16/2024

RE: pro Under 14

James of Melbourne, victoria australia asks...

if the goalkeeper has slides for the ball and the player gets tripped is it a penalty

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi James
Goalkeepers are like any other players on the field of play with the exception that they can use their hands inside the penalty area to play the ball.

So to answer your question the answer hinges on the same factors that would be judged in any regular challenge by an outfield player with the one exception that the hands can be used to play the ball inside the penalty area.

So from your limited description we can take it that there was a slide challenge by the goalkeeper and that an opponent got tripped inside the penalty area. It makes no difference if the trip was caused by a leg, arm or the whole body.
If the ball was not played first by the goalkeeper in the challenge we can assume that there was a trip of an opponent which is an offence punished by a direct free kick or penalty kick. The manner of the challenge can also make it an offence such as leading with raised cleats towards an opponent.
If on the other hand the ball was played first in a clean fair manner and then there was a coming together after the ball was played away by the goalkeeper either with a foot or a hand then there is unlikely to be a foul should the attacker subsequently trip over the goalkeeper on the ground.
Have a look at this video
The goalkeeper clearly plays the ball first in the slide challenge and the attacker falls / trips over the diving goalkeeper who has the ball. It is not a foul. The ball position tells us that the goalkeeper played the ball in the slide challenge.

My experience is that referees tend to give any benefit to the goalkeeper in a challenge situation yet if there is no hint that the ball has been played by the goalkeeper after coming out to slide into an opponent to try to win the ball then the foul will be called.

Goalkeepers know only too well that failure to play the ball on the ground or for that matter in the air making contact with an opponent will result in a penalty kick when that contact is on an opponent only and it happens inside the penalty area.
Plus referees know that these situations are big calls in a game so they will look for tell tale signs of contact on the ball by the goalkeeper such as a clear change of direction of the ball. If that is not seen then the foul will be called.

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Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

Hi James,
be it a keeper or a player a "slide challenge" has certain aspects to consider.
Inside the PA the keeper's use of hands can play a big part in contacting the ball! Yet any slide tackle is essentially a physics problem with a degree of instability and a lack of control when the human body becomes in effect a missile of force, of direction, of mass, of speed in an effort to win the ball.

Contacting the ball FIRST is a plus for the defender, BUT, it has no guarantee of it being a FAIR tackle. The variables to consider are! HOW this tackle is performed in respect to the safety of the opponent? It can be careless a simple mistiming but it can also be deemed reckless or excessive, thus cards are now in consideration A straight through upending tackle where the challenge's force & direction use the sheer physical mass of that slide tackle to destroy the opponent and cause him or her to go flying because it comes like the 4 horses of the apocalypse North, East,West South, any direction is not going to be fair it will be a tripping DFK offence or PK inside the PA, given it is done with force and no real effort to simply win the ball, we will discount careless, likely go with cautionable a reckless disregard for safety thus yellow card shown or send off possibilities, excessive, studs showing, hard contact to injure with the red card for SFP or VC and a send off, forcing the team to be down a player!

A similar but less forcefully is what we call the scissor tackle where that first leg gets across in front or in a reasonably fair manner to poke the ball away but the TRAILING leg scythes down the opponent by scissoring one or both of the opponents legs, again a tripping offence DFK or PK inside the PA. A keeper has a tendency to USE the arms in the same way a player might only use their legs in wrapping up a player.

Where we can draw a distinction between a TRIP and a fall is when the keeper /player does a slide tackle paced with good timing, it gets to the ball FIRST by not endangering the opponent instead capitalized on the fact the attacker showed too much of the ball and executed a well timed lunge or leg extension usually performed with a single leg /foot extended to poke the ball free with the other leg bent back at the knee so as not to scissor or be seen as a two footed challenge. In the case of the keeper it COULD be a head first arm extension to push the ball away. In cases where the referee will hold the opinion it was FAIR, the falling attacker is in effect, running into the downed defender/keeper after the defender/keeper has WON the ball in a fair manner and the tackle was not careless, reckless or excessive, despite the opponent from falling down. In POINT OF FACT I have sent off attackers for deliberately stepping on the downed player in frustration. Usually with a rotated stomping action, pretending they could not avoid said contact.

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