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Question Number: 30822

High School 9/26/2016

RE: Competitive High School

Joey of Alexandria , USA asks...

I had a situation in a U14 game in which the goal keeper picked up a ball directly from an intentional back pass from a team mate, the IFK was an easy call, however, during the taking of the IFK the blue player whose team the IFK was awarded to was clearly going to use the back of his heel to pass the ball to his blue teammate to then take the shot. The problem was in one fluid motion the blue player touched the ball with his left heel and it immediately glanced off his right foot very unintentionally, the direction of the ball didn't change it rolled directly to the team who took the shot. Does this count was playing the ball twice? Or does the fact that it was an unintentional fluid movement that caused the second touch not matter?

- Thanks!

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Joey
This is a technical double touch infraction in a FIFA game. It makes no difference that the second touch is unintentional or inadvertent. It is simply a fact that the player touched the ball twice before it was played / touched by another player.
Now the challenge is whether to make the call if it difficult to determine or selling the call if the touch is so faint that few if any can see it. IFAB allows for a free kick to be taken by lifting the ball with a foot or both feet simultaneously. So if the contact was almost simultaneous then some slack can be given. Maybe the player does not realise it himself or clearly seen so there can be heated questions about awarding the IDFK or the restart the other way.
I reversed a restart at the weekend on a double touch and I had great difficulty selling it. Many did not know what happened as it was unexpected. Some after the game were questioning the call as they did not see the incident.
Put it like this. If it was at the highest level with high definition cameras etc and it was shown that it touched the player twice at a restart then it is a clear double touch infringement which should be called. At lower levels with uncertainty then it could be ignored.

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Answer provided by Referee Joe Manjone

Joey, You mentioned that it was an U14 game but you listed it as a high school question. In high school as indicated in Rule 13-3-2, the ball is not in play until it has moved in any direction. From what you said, the ball did not move until it was played by the right foot. Thus, it was now in play and could not be kicked or touched again by the blue kicker until another player had touched it. In this case, the player did not touch it after the ball was in play. What you described would not be a violation in high school play. I hope that your fall season goes well.

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