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Question Number: 26768

Law 12 - Fouls and Misconduct 9/15/2012

RE: coach U11 Travel and referee club and HS High School

Bill Dailey of Feasterville, PA USA asks...

This question is a follow up to question 15627

I have to disagree a bit with Mr. Dawson's use of 'intent' here. The LOTG mention nothing of intent....'touches the ball with his hands after it has been deliberately kicked to him by a team-mate'. There are just 2 things for the official to consider was it deliberately kicked (opposed to deflected without a kicking motion) and did it go to the Keeper. This law is for the Keeper and must be ruled from that standpoint, not that of the player kicking it. If a U10 player kicks it (appearing to intend it to go forward) and it spins back to the Keeper, then I wouldn't call it. This has nothing to do with he intent, simply the age of the keeper and inability to know/consider it as a pass to him/her. If U14 (U12 elite/premier) and above it should be called. The keeper should know in the course of play that he/she cannot use his/her hand when the ball is deliberately kick to him/her and have the ability to deal with it. Again INTENT on the part of the kicker is not mentioned nor is it knowable.

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Bill
I believe too much is made of this law. The law was introduced to allow the ball to be challenged for when deliberately kicked to the goalkeeper. If the ball is kicked and it was not intended for the goalkeeper but through circumstances happens to get to him then IMO there is no offence when the ball is handled by the goalkeeper. That kick can be a clearance that has gone askew so in your examples the offence should not be called at any level.
Even the US ATR does not advise an offence in situations where the ball has been, in the opinion of the referee, accidentally deflected or misdirected.
On a recent question I gave an example of a situation where a goalkeeper had got in front of two defenders. A weak shot was cleared hurriedly under pressure by one of the those defenders and the ball went straight at the goalkeeper who caught the ball and then cleared it. That was not an offence even though the ball was kicked and it did go to the GK. Not even the opponents looked for the offence seeing it as a save. The intent was to clear the ball not to deliberately kick it to the goalkeeper. Had the ball not been caught it would probably have gone out for a throw in.

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Answer provided by Referee Michelle Maloney

By 'intent', Mr. Dawson was referring to what the referee could observe readily based on what was in front of him/her. If it did not appear the ball was a) deliberately kicked (which in this case it is not clear, since the question says the defender stopped it with his legs - kicked means with the foot) or b) to a place where the keeper can go get it (again, not clear here, since the keeper had to come out and jump over the defender to get to the ball), then there is no call to be made.

In the situation outlined in the (very old 2007) post, this was a recreational adult game, and based on the information in the question - that the defender stopped it with his legs (no mention of a kick), and that the keeper had to jump over the defender to scoop it up (does not sound like kicked or stopped for the keeper to get), a call against the keeper here would not be in keeping with the spirit of the Law, just as your example of a deflected kick or the U10 scenario would not be an offense either.

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Answer provided by Referee Keith Contarino

The question you reference is from 2007. Although this infraction has been in the LOTG since 1992, most referees viewed deliberately to modify 'to the keeper' until sometime in 2008 or late 2007. If you read all 3 of our answers to that question, each of us believed since the ball was not 'to the keeper' there was no infraction.
USSF referees were confused until 2 things happened, both after the question you reference:
1. Jim Allen in one of his answers on his Q&A site specifically stated that deliberately modifies 'kicked' as it is written and not 'to the goalkeeper' as most of us were viewing it.
2. On May 21, 2008 Alfred Kleinaitis who was then Manager Of Referee Development And Education issued an official statement from USSF when discussing a call made in an MLS game between Columbus and Toronto on May 17. At that time he outlined that the ball did not have to be kicked "to the keeper". The requirement is the ball is kicked deliberately, i.e. not deflected or misdirected, to any place the keeper may legally handle it, and the keeper handles the ball before it touches any other player.
While I concede out answers were incorrect, they were in line with how most referees viewed the rule.

I also agree with Ref McHugh that far too much is made of this law and it rarely should be called

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