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Question Number: 31254

Law 13 - Free Kicks 2/13/2017

RE: Rec Adult

Miz Rahman of London, UK asks...

Defender takes a free kick from inside his penalty area. Attacker, walking back towards his team/goal, NOT facing the ball, jumps up, his hands were in the natural jumping motion, the ball hits his arm, (from behind as he is not facing the ball at all) and goes in the goal. Is it a goal or a free kick?

Answer provided by Referee Peter Grove

Hi Miz,
One important consideration would be where the contact takes place. If it is inside the penalty area then it would be neither a goal nor a free kick, but a retake.

If the contact were outside the penalty area it could be very difficult to tell without actually seeing the incident but if a player has jumped up into the path of the ball and blocked it with his hand/arm then my feeling is it would be more likely to be a deliberate act than an accident, especially given that this is a free kick where play had been stopped and where the player has presumably had sufficient time to get out of the way of the kick if he had wanted to.

So assuming that the referee judges that this was a deliberate act, it would be a free kick. If on the other hand the referee decides that this constituted accidental contact, it would be a goal.

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Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Miz
First question is whether the free kick was on the whistle or not. Second one was it a quickly taken free kick? Third question is in what location did the ball strike the attacker.
These questions will all have a bearing on the decision.
For instance if the ball struck the player inside the penalty area it is a retake as the ball must leave the penalty area to be in play. If the attacker knowingly loitered around the ball within 10 yards and jumped up to stop the kick then it is a retake. If the ball simply hit a player on a QFK outside the penalty area then it is play on.
I would suspect that in the case of the ball hitting an arm of a player jumping within 10 yards there is every chance that a referee will go with a retake. He might also go with the deliberate handling outside the 10 yards.

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Answer provided by Referee Gary Voshol

Why would a player jump if he wasn't looking at the ball? Something smells fishy here. And the fishier it smells, the more likely it was deliberate handling. (With the caveats that my colleagues stated, that the ball would have to be in play.)

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Answer provided by Referee Jason Wright

I would question your interpretation of 'natural position' here. It's an ambiguous term which - admittedly - not even referees can agree upon.

I am having a hard time picturing a scenario where the arms are out from the body that I wouldn't be calling a foul here. I remember being taught from a very young age to use arms to drive up but then tuck them into the chest. If the arms are up in the air or out from the side then whether they're in a 'natural position' (only a consideration for Deliberately Handles the Ball) is certainly up to the referee - but it sounds like the player should have had their arms in a different position.

As my colleagues have stated, if the restart conditions have not been met then whether a foul has occurred is irrelevant.

For what it's worth - the fact that the ball has gone into the goal doesn't impact upon the decision. The referee needs to judge the act, not the favourable outcome.

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Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

Hi Miz,
Whether or not it was or was not a whistled restart if it is an OUT going defending kick the ball MUST completely clear the PA before it is considered to be in play so any disruption that prevents it is a retake

Now if a ball is simply kicked into an opponent who is making a reasonable effort to move away the required 10 yards or get outside the boundary as long as the ball was in play and the opponent had not failed to respect the ten yards then we could allow the goal if we held the belief it was through no fault of his the ball struck him.

You make the suggestion the opponent jumped up in front to block with his arms in a neutral position yet he was not looking at the kicker? If he was within ten yards or was inside the PA then he is NOT permitted to interfere with the kick by his own actions. To do so COULD be seen as a USB cautionable violation of failing to respect ten yards or delaying the restart.
As in formulating any opinion on an unseen event we can only surmise possible outcomes and consequences but the officials would need to see the opponent actions as not deliberate to award the goal. To my way of thinking to step up in front and jump prior to the kick to prevent or block it best be a minimum ten yards and outside the PA otherwise I would retake.
To declare whether the ball is striking the free arm or the action by the opponent was deliberately done to block and the arms used to increase the blocked area I would need to see it to understand the dynamics.
As in any match situation, a referee with integrity sees what he sees and makes the call.

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