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Soccer Rules Changes 1580-2000

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Question Number: 35557

Law 12 - Fouls and Misconduct 6/2/2024

Petr of Prague, Czech Republic Czech Republic asks...


one back-pass question, please.

These are situations that happen a few times a season but are never punished.

S1: The attacker comes from the side of the penalty area and passes towards the goal area. The defender kicks the ball to the goalkeeper and he catches it in his hands.

S2: The attacker is in the penalty area with the ball at his feet. The defender kicks the ball towards the goalkeeper. He takes it in his hands.

In my opinion, these are intentional passes. Why don't the referees whistle it? Considering the spirit of the game, I might as well let it continue. (they did not waste time, but prevented danger). In addition, opponents usually get angry.

I don't know how to deal with it again:-)

Thank you very much!

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Petr
Thanks for the question.

The accepted approach has been to only punish deliberate kicks by a defender to the goalkeeper rather than punish questionable kicks where a challenge or a tackle is involved.
I would agree that sometimes the kick could be interpreted as intentional to the goalkeeper yet we ignore those as doubtful which is why they are not called.
When a kick is under pressure such as in a challenge we cannot be absolutely certain of the intent and therefore that is why they are not called. Did the player intend to kick it out for a corner, did the player intend to win the ball yet ended up squirting away off the boot etc. Sometimes we might not even be sure who last touched the ball.
In these two situations most would not call either as IDFKs
The second one there is uncertainty for me not to call it.
Little doubt on this one

We also look to the intent behind the law and it was not intended that challenges, tackles for the ball under pressure should be penalised when the ball ends up with the goalkeeper.
Sometimes the Law gets casual in situations where it has become common practice not to act strictly such as the 6 second rule, throw in location, questionable shielding of the ball over the goal line etc and this is also one of those.

When there is sn appeal I usually shout Not Deliberate and move away.

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Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

Hi Petr,
I believe I agree with you!

The doubtful/trifling aspect is NOT or should not be thought of when it is clear, an attacking pressuring challenge creates a need for the defender, using their feet to knock an air pass or roll pass back towards their keeper to relieve the pressure.

This is way DIFFRENT then when a defender challenges the attacker in trying to defend against that attacker from continuing the attack. A slide tackle poking or springing a ball free or a tackle where the ball rebounds over towards the keeper is not the intended pass just a result. It is also a consideration when a referee can be certain there was a legit attempt to clear a ball that goes astray and it curves weird perhaps a heavy wind or stops short of exiting the FOP by say stalling in a water puddle!

A mistake defenders often make is the ball inside the PA or Goal area and they use their feet to stop and control, but shield it to allow the keeper to pick it up. I see intent deliberate kick with foot TO the keeper. However, in some cases, a defender will be trying to evade or keep the ball away from an attacker using their feet, screening with their body and the keeper will gather it in for safety doing the job of preventing a goal, which can create the impression there is a foul there somewhere, however, in my opinion it lacks intent. I tend to react as a referee to the INTENT of such actions by the defender rather than the reactions of the keeper or the concerns of the opposition.

It is a risk when keepers use their hands on a ball that arrive in their general direction after being deliberately kicked by a teammate! Although referees like myself do not look to punish uncertainty but neither can we ignore the intent IF it is obviously there! I have called out, "not deliberate" in cases where I sense uncertainty particularly at the youth levels. As well I have raised the whistle up to my lips in preparation blow if I am going to stop play and award the INDFK SHOULD the keeper choose to pick it up.

The situations where a keeper goes OUTSIDE their PA to retrieve a team mates' deliberately kicked ball, thinking to dribble it back inside, to use the hands or perhaps forced to grab the ball from a relentless attacker in pursuit are the more difficult to comprehend or let the keeper be aware the restriction is STILL there!

Whatever your thinking is at least apply it equally.

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