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Question Number: 18761

Law 12 - Fouls and Misconduct 4/11/2008

RE: Recreational Under 16

michael calvetti of Richland, MO USA asks...

Ihave a coach who has questioned a particular call and I wish to ensure that I am correct but can't find the definitive answer for him in the Laws of the Game of FIFA. The question pertains to the goalkeeper when they are going to punt the ball away after making a save. If a goal keeper has his/her hands on the ball and the ball completely crosses the penalty area line, is it deliberately handling the ball against the goalkeeper? The discussion is (Coach) that if the goalkeeper has left their feet while in the penalty area, it is only an offense when the goalkeeper comes back in contact with the ground. I (Ref) said that when the whole of the ball completely crosses the whole of the penalty area line (regardless of the position of the players feet) it is an offense. I stated that the line and ball are the aspects to be watched not when a player has last touched the ground. Please clarify and annotate where in the Laws of the Game this can be found. I tried to state it in accordance with Law 12, deliberately handling the ball on the grounds that the goalkeeper is no longer in the penalty area because the line is an indefinite imaginary line that runs from the ground up.

Thanks for you support.

Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

The answer is not DIRECTLY stated only inferred!
In LAW 1 THE FIELD of PLAY The boundrylines are part of the area they enclose! If the ball is breaking that 5 inch penalty area plane with so much as the outer edge of the curve of the ball, that ball is inside the penalty area and may be handled by the keeper with impunity. The location of the feet plays no part in the decision. The 5 inch boundryline extends straight up as an imaginary wall. Ball has any contact with that wall the keeper has the right to use his hands UNLESS any of the 4 infk restrictions were in force.
The release of a punt or ball into play by a keeper even if the hands were holding the ball marginally outside the penalty area is generally a trivial infringment unless repeated and flagrant. Where as a play to prevent an attack or stop a goal is HUGE in impact and even if marginally outside the penalty area MUST be called.

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Answer provided by Referee Gil Weber

Michael, as was stated above, the answer is in Law 1. If the ball breaks the outside plane of the line (any line) it is outside that part of the field.

However, the more significant issue here is why even call an infraction in the first place? If the GK handles the ball incrementally outside the penalty area while punting, and if he's not unfairly disadvantaging the opponents by doing so, it's utterly triffling. So why whistle? Who cares?

Certainly not the nearest opponent who may be 20 or more yards away and who probably doesn't even realize the GK's hands are incrementally beyond the penalty area line.

Now, if the GK extended his hands outside the penalty area to take the ball away from an opponent then, yes, you bust him for that. But punting the ball is not a case of using the hands in an unfair manner.

Best suggestion is for the AR to say to the keeper, "Keeper, watch your lines next time." And let them play.

The GK will respect the AR much more than if the AR raised the flag and busted the GK for something so utterly trivial.

Now, having told the GK to watch his lines, if the GK then continues to kick the ball while holding it outside the penalty area the AR has another decision to make. What's best and fairest and more reasonable in that game, given those players, given the nature of the offense? Shout another warning? Bust the GK then next time he handles in such a triffling manner?

Only the intelligent official can make that call based on the circumstances. I suggest, however, that it would be VERY unusual to bust the GK for such trivial actions given that it would certainly cause a lot of resentment, especially if it led to a goal.

Whistle (flag) what needs to be called. Ignore what is not significant. See what needs to be seen, and close your eyes (and ears) to that which can be ignored without compromising the integrity of the officials and/or the game.

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Answer provided by Referee Steve Montanino

You are right, but you would be engaging in what we like to call "gotcha" refereeing. We don't need to be hyper picky about this minor dinky offenses. However, you're right that the coach was totally wrong - this isn't like shooting a 3 pointer in basketball.

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Answer provided by Referee Chuck Fleischer

One needs only look to the touchline and its relation to the ball, all of the ball beyond all of the line either in the air or on the ground makes the ball out of play. This is exactly the same with the ball and the penalty area, all of the ball beyond all of the line either in the air or on the ground makes the ball out of the penalty area. The goalkeeper is permitted to use his hands when the ball is in his penalty area. It doesn't mater where his feet are, his ears are, his belly button is if the ball is in his penalty area he can use his hands.


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Answer provided by Referee Keith Contarino

You are technically correct and the coach is wrong. That said, you should remember that Law 5 gives you the right to disregard any breech of the Laws as trifling. There is little more trifling than the keeper carrying the ball slightly over the 18 yard line when punting it away.

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