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Question Number: 31440

Law 12 - Fouls and Misconduct 4/7/2017

RE: Varsity High School

Aaron Speca of Virginia Beach, VA United States asks...

My daughter and I got into quite a discussion about this play in her last game and whether this constituted an illegal play by the white team's keeper. I agreed with the CR's call resulting in an IFK, she did not.

I looked at it as an intentional pass, and maybe she intended it to go to #22 white, but it still went to the keeper who subsequently picked the ball up. She thought it was not intentional and that her teammate was trying to play the ball into the air and back and did not intend the ball to go to the keeper.

Wind was a huge factor and was blowing hard back toward the keeper so it may have carried farther than it normally would have, but I didn't see that as a reason to not make the call.

I compared it to a situation where a defender makes a pass back towards a deeper defender who instead of playing it allows the ball to continue its travel to the keeper.

So which of us had a better argument? :)

Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

Hi Aaron,
hmmm a discussion did you both agree to disagree and move on for the good of the game? lol
I am on your daughters side in this particular case as I see it as a miss kick more than a deliberate kick by the teammate TO the keeper. If I was to argue your daughter's side that it was not a deliberate kick by the teammate TO the keeper citing the incorrect quote I heard on the video
'I knew he was going to call it,(being the ball) it was played back by the foot! '
The law does not read the keeper can not use their hands on a ball off the foot of a team mate. Which if it did then the keeper has no recourse.
Yes it was off the foot but even it we discount the fact it was NEVER intended to be a pass back to the keeper given we do not factor intent into the equation. Lets remember WHY this particular portion of the law was set into the books, to stop time wasting not to give scoring opportunities to the opposition. This was in my opinion a GOTCHA call!

If we argue your point that it was a deliberate kick as in one that if that ball had fallen to an offside opponent it would have reset offside that is a reasonable assumption but you mentioned the heavy wind as a factor so lets say it was really blowing and that ball was actually headed into the goal and the keeper dives to push it out would you as referee award an INDFK citing that ball was played TO the keeper? I discount the deeper defender idea allowing an easily played ball meant for them to continue TO the keeper as similar. It might be semantics only but any element of doubt of whether the ball was TRULY deliberately kicked by a team mate TO the keeper must be looked at with respect to why such a law is in place. With a heavy emphasis on the word TO.

In conclusion though a an opinion of a fact of play you are both correct!
The referee can choose to do either! No call or INDFK. I prefer the no call

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Answer provided by Referee Peter Grove

Hi Aaron,
I'm afraid I have to agree with your daughter on this one. I don't think the ball was ''deliberately kicked to the goalkeeper by a team-mate.'' Yes it was deliberately kicked, but was it deliberately kicked to the keeper? I know there has been a perception in the US, based on the USSF's pronouncements on this in the past, that the word 'deliberately' only applied to the kicking action and not the intended destination of the kick but I think that falls down when you consider that if the IFAB wanted that to be the interpretation, they would have just left the words 'to the goalkeeper' out.

For me, if the Law simply said it was an offence for the keeper to touch the ball with the hands after ''it has been deliberately kicked by a team-mate'' then the USSF's old position (and your take on this incident) on this would have been correct - but that's not what the Law says.

Even if the USSF's previously-issued 'Advice to Referees' was correct in this regard (and I don't think it was, for the reasons I have stated above) it has been discontinued and its provisions no longer apply.

Anyway, to sum up I agree with ref Dawson that we have to be quite sure that the ball was deliberately kicked to the keeper and in this case there is more than enough doubt for me to err on the side of caution and go with no call.

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