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Question Number: 21668

Law 12 - Fouls and Misconduct 7/20/2009

RE: REC Under 15

R Johnson of Denison, IA USA asks...

Hand Ball? During a recent game I had a player receive a pass a crossing pass immediately in front of the goal that was shoulder high. With his hands locked down in front of his crotch, the ball went off of his right pectoral into the goal. However, when the ball hit his chest, he 'flipped' his right shoulder and was called for a hand ball.

My question/need for clarification is to what extent can a player roll and flip their shoulders when chesting a ball?

Answer provided by Referee Michelle Maloney

Given the position of his arms 'locked down in front' of his body, it is hard to see how he did not use his upper arm as part of the shoulder. If you think of a mannequin and how the arm separates from the torso, it gives a fair interpretation of where the arm ends and the shoulder begins. Pulling the arms in as tight as your player did to 'lock them down' means he has decreased significantly the portion of the chest available to fairly play the ball. Tell him to keep the chest open, shoulders back and that should help.

I have no idea what the roll and flip means, other than it sounds like more than the shoulder is involved than is allowed.

I can tell you the referee clearly felt your player used some part of his arms to play the ball, and because he did the goal does not count.

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Answer provided by Referee Debbie Hoelscher

You describe that the ball hit his chest. Regardless of the action(s) of his shoulder/arm/'hand' the player controlled the ball using his chest, not his hands. Based on your description, I don't see that as handling. However, the referee held a different opinion. Since the referee was there looking at the event first hand, and I was not, the referee's opinion was that the player deliberately handled the ball. Therefore, as a fact connected with play, it is indisputable.

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Answer provided by Referee Keith Contarino

Would be interested in knowing what a flip of the shoulder means. In answer to your question: you are free to use your chest anytime but when you twist and direct the ball with your shoulder, you are deliberately handling the ball

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Answer provided by Referee Jason Wright

From what you're describing, I find it difficult to imagine how it did not hit his arm - the shoulder is above the chest, and if the hand is covering the groin then the arm is probably going to be partly over the chest, so if the ball has hit his chest then I'm having a hard time understanding how it could also have hit his shoulder. It sounds far more likely that he has used the upper arm.

A player may use the shoulder to control the ball, even by actively moving the shoulder to control the ball's direction. This is generally considered the top part of the shoulder. Once the upper arm starts to come into it - which is very, very close to the shoulder itself - it is deliberately handling.

Bear in mind that it can be very difficult for the referee to determine exactly where the ball has hit the player - even if the ball has struck his chest or shoulder it may have looked to the referee that the player has used his arms to control the ball.

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