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Question Number: 22668

Law 5 - The Referee 12/23/2009

RE: Adult

Steve of Brisbane, Qld. Australia asks...

While taking a goal kick, the keeper falls over and is slightly injured, but the opposing forward gets the ball and scores a goal. An ethical question whether the goal is allowed.

I saw the video clip on the link for the KSRA site, which originates in the Canadian State of BC. The keeper is alone in the PA, and slips when kicking the goal kick. It is a miss kick which goes just outside the PA, straight to an opposing forward, who runs in and scores. The GK stayed down on the ground, apparently in pain. It appears to be only a slight injury (i.e. not a serious injury). The hosting site states this is clearly an example where for the good of the game referees should stop play and not allow the goal.

While I understand the altruism the Referees association have advocating this principle, I dont see where the LOTG gives a referee the authority or justification to impose such morality on the attacking team.

If you were the referee in this situation what would you do and why?


Answer provided by Referee Dennis Wickham

The USSF approach for injuries to goalkeepers was addressed in a memorandum this year:

'Injuries to goalkeepers, while the ball is in play, are a special situation and often require further attention. Since the goalkeeper is the "last line of defense" and is the only player who may use his hands in his own penalty area, the referee must be on alert for any injury the keeper may suffer.

In a general sense, if a referee determines that the goalkeeper is seriously injured or cannot perform his special duties, the referee should stop play immediately. This ensures the Spirit of the Law is preserved and prevents the attacking team from having an unfair advantage. If the goalkeeper is injured and immediately the attacking team takes a shot on goal with the opportunity to score, the referee may use discretion and briefly await the outcome of that play but, should the ball not immediately enter the goal, play should be stopped. On the other hand, if the referee believes there will be several touches of the ball before a shot can be taken, the game should be stopped immediately.'

IMO, there is nothing improper about the attacking team taking advantage of a keeper who is simply out of position. But, only the referee can determine whether an injury is serious or slight. If the injuries are such that keepers cannot perform their duties, IMO the injuries are 'serious.'

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Answer provided by Referee Gary Voshol

Every team is required to have one player designated and dressed as a goalkeeper. That doesn't mean that person has to be acting like a goalkeeper. The designated keeper could be off the field temporarily (such as to take a throw-in) and the team still has a keeper.

Similarly, the goalkeeper can be temporarily out of commission due to a non-serious injury. If the other team chooses to benefit from that opportunity, there is nothing in the Laws of the Game that would allow the referee to disallow a goal.

Interpretations and Guidelines, page 67 of the FIFA Laws booklet:
The referee must adhere to the following procedure when dealing with injured players:
? play is allowed to continue until the ball is out of play if a player is, in the opinion of the referee, only slightly injured
? play is stopped if, in the opinion of the referee, a player is seriously injured

And then on page 68, frankly some of the worst written commentary ever produced by IFAB:
Exceptions to this ruling are to be made only when:
? a goalkeeper is injured
? a goalkeeper and an outfield player have collided and need immediate attention
? a severe injury has occurred, e.g. swallowed tongue, concussion, broken leg
What is excepted? The part that play is allowed to continue for a non-serious injury, or the part that the injured player must leave the field to be treated? Many people think it means that if the keeper gets so much as a boo-boo, the game must be stopped because 'there is no goalkeeper!' And if that was allowed to be the norm, what do you think a goalkeeper would do on every play? 'Oh, my knee!' as he flops around. 'You gotta stop play. The goal doesn't count.' The game would devolve into travesty.

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Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Steve
My decision would be to award the goal and it is not the referee's remit to stop play except for serious injuries. Minor injuries are part of the game and they happen all the time. In fact the Law allows for play to continue in these cases as outlined by Referee Voshol. If teams want to stop in the spirit of fair play then so be it. If referees stopped for all these situations the game would be littered with player laying down possibly exaggerating minor injuries.
A survey of injuries in recent World Cup showed that over 70% of injury stoppages were in fact not injuries!!. In a recent game in the UK a keeper slipped on a GK and the ball went to a forward much like this. He got up and tried to stop the goal but failed. Might he be tempted to stay down with an 'injury' if he felt the referee was going to stop play? Could the same apply to offside where a defender with say a cramp lies down to put a forward in an offside position knowing his cramp was not going to allow him to challenge for the ball?
I recall a number of years ago Di Canio while playing for West Ham, stopped play because of an injury to an opposing goalkeeper. The keeper went out to tackle a West ham player outside the PA, hurt his knee and remained on the ground while the player crossed the ball into the penalty area. Di Canio promptly caught the ball, gesturing at the injured keeper and stopped play. He was applauded for his spirit of Fair Play. Had the referee stopped the game he would have been berated for doing so and denying a possible goal for WH. That's a key difference.
At a game recently that I attended a ball was crossed into the penalty area and two players went up to challenge. The defender headed the back of the forwards head and the defender fell to the ground. He ball dropped to a forward who promptly shot and hit the now prostrate injured defender and it deflected into the goal. It all happened so suddenly that the ref did not have a chance to stop the game. The referee spoke to the AR and they agreed that he had to award the goal. It was just part of the game and the way it happened. The player was treated immediately the ball was in the goal which was within 2/3 seconds.

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Answer provided by Referee Steve Montanino

After viewing the video... do you think it is possible that the goalkeeper, after kicked the ball and realized how poorly he hit it, thought to himself to try to feign injury to get the referee to stop the game? I wouldn't put it past a professional player who makes a mistake to do something like that... and frankly on first viewing I got the sense that this is exactly what happened here.

That is one reason why the laws of the game specify we only stop for serious injuries.

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Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

A referee is mandated in law if he RECOGNIZES a player /keeper is seriously injured he is to stop play.

It takes a period of time to assess an injury during active play. If the injury is blatantly obvious such as a head into the goal post with blood flow or a bone snap protruding it is likely a whistle sounds immediately if the referee is aware.

Usually on a goal kick the referee is put near the mid field expecting the big kick and not near the goal to assess any injury. It likely looked like the keeper simply slipped from midfield.

Lets say after the goal and before the kick off, the keeper in your video was subbed out and stretched off as his knee was blown,. Lets say it swells up twice its normal size so the injury is obviously real to those on the field

The option to correct a perceived tainted goal or opportunity where NO LAW has been broken is actually within the power of the TEAM that scored to remedy if they so choose. If they feel guilty they can allow the opposition to score unopposed from the kick of that follows! It has been done a time or two! Look up fair play on youtube!

after a true injury stoppage tries to return the ball oops goal sored!
Fair Play - English Premier League

#15 refuses the PK

Fair Play is a concept that all can choose to participate in but as in anything good there will be those who are bad and take advantage of intentions !

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