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Question Number: 31066

Law 12 - Fouls and Misconduct 11/29/2016

Aaron Speca of Virginia Beach, VA USA asks...

This question is a follow up to question 31046

As a follow-up 'what if' ... if the keeper did realize that the defender was circumventing the law and chose not to handle the ball, is it still a violation? I seem to remember reading that the mere attempt to circumvent this law was sanctionable by the CR, but I might be remembering wrong. Could a keeper basically 'bail out' his defender by doing this?

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Aaron
No bail out for the player by the goalkeeper as the circumvention has already happened which is a caution and an IDFK restart.
Perhaps in a rec game where little is at stake a referee might let it slide should the GK catch the ball immediately and get play moving again.

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Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

Hi Aaron,
no the keeper can not! Your memory is indeed correct, the offence/misconduct occurs IMMEDIATELY when the player chooses to flick it up to the head with the foot and directs the ball back towards the keeper. We are still shaking our heads over the non call, this was not a recreational oversight or a weird weather situation but a professional match in full view of those who award new matches based on the referee's observance and application of the LOTG

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Answer provided by Referee Peter Grove

Hi Aaron,
No, it doesn't matter whether the keeper uses the hands or not in this scenario and the Laws make that clear, saying that a player must be cautioned if he:

''uses a deliberate trick to pass the ball (including from a free kick) to the goalkeeper with the head, chest, knee etc. to circumvent the Law, whether or not the goalkeeper touches the ball with the hands''

Up until this year, the Laws made it even clearer by stating:

''The offence is committed by the player in attempting to circumvent both the letter and the spirit of Law 12 ''

Perhaps unfortunately, this last phrase has been removed, apparently as part of the effort to reduce the overall size of the Laws document.

Finally, if we go all the way back to the original intent of the amendment when it was first introduced in 1992, FIFA circular 488 made it absolutely crystal clear when it said:

''In such circumstances, it is irrelevant whether the goalkeeper subsequently touches the ball with his hands or not. The offense is committed by the player in attempting to circumvent both the text and the spirit of Law 12, and the referee must only be convinced that this was the player’s motive.''

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