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Question Number: 27186

Law 12 - Fouls and Misconduct 2/18/2013

RE: Competive Adult

John of Newbridge , Kildare Ireland asks...

I Play in goals and have done for some time
In a recent game I received a back pass from a defender
I tried clearing the ball but miskicked it
The ball went straight up into the air
I dived and caught it on the way down
There was no way that I could have done this on purpose but the ref still awarded a free kick
Is this right

Answer provided by Referee Dennis Wickham

Referees have debated whether this should be called or ignored as doubtful. The majority view (and the official position for matches played in the United States) is that because the keeper may not touch a ball deliberately kicked by the defender, the keeper may not touch the ball even if the keeper misplays the pass.

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Answer provided by Referee Jason Wright

The law states that it's an offence for the goalkeeper to handle the ball if it has been deliberately kicked to him by a teammate. It doesn't make an exception if the keeper handles it after miskicking it or otherwise losing control - what's important is that he's handled it after it was deliberately kicked to him by a teammate.

As Ref Wickham states, this sort of incident has been a source of debate amongst referees (several months ago the same thing occurred in, I believe, an English Premier League match and the referee allowed play to continue. I believe he was incorrect in doing so, but there was a lot of debate about this on other refereeing forums).

Some things in the laws are open to interpretation, but I'd anticipate most referees would have penalised you.

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Answer provided by Referee Gary Voshol

Consider why this call against you was correct. If goalkeepers were allowed to capitalize on their mistakes, all a keeper would have to do is make a half-hearted kick at the ball and claim it was a mis-kick. Then argue because of the mistake, he's allowed to pick up the ball. I don't think so.

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Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi John
The Laws state that a goalkeeper may not touch a ball with his hands that has been deliberately kicked to him by a team mate. So until the ball is touched by an opponent or the ball is played to the goalkeeper by any other method other than a kick the restriction continues to apply even on a mis kick, mis play of the ball by the goalkeeper. So the referee was technically correct in the award of the IDFK. I might add that the Law does not work in degrees of mistake. A bad first touch with the foot by the GK does not mean that the GK can then recover by touching the ball with his hands.
I might add that sometimes I have seen kicks to the goalkeeper or to a place that the goalkeeper can touch the ball with his hands that were deliberate that goalkeepers picked up and perhaps being doubtful were not penalised. Sometimes the appeal by the opponents has an influence on the decision as the referee might consider it to be an offence and the appeal confirms his decision. Other times with no appeal or where the ball might be 'touched' in the challenge, the referee might see it as 'trifling' or doubtful and allow play to continue.

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Answer provided by Referee Nathan Lacy

The ball was deliberately played (kicked) to you by a teammate. It's not our job as referees to bail you out of your mistake. Play the ball with your hands - IFK. All the best,

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