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Question Number: 31538

Law 12 - Fouls and Misconduct 5/16/2017

RE: Competitive Adult

Dan of Sydney, NSW Australia asks...

An opposition player shoots towards goal. The goalkeeper parries the ball which lands at his feet. To keep the ball under control, the goalkeeper stops it from moving with his foot before picking it up. Is this legal or would it be an indirect free kick?

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Dan
As described this could be a technical infringement punished by an IDFK from where the goalkeeper handled the ball for the second time after releasing it. The decision will rest on how strong a shot it was. Now there can be a fine line between a save and a parry in which case we give the goalkeeper the benefit of the doubt towards the save. A parry is a catch and release all in the same movement. It is not a save such as a bat down, or a strong shot that bounces off the GKs hands
Context is also important. I recall a few seasons ago a goalkeeper doing this. On a very weak shot that barely made it to the GK he used his hand to control the ball rather than his foot. He then dribbled the ball away to the corner of the penalty area and waited for a forward to force him to pick it up. A forward appealed for the IDFK and I gave it on the basis that it was a clear parry from a weak shot along with trying to delay putting the ball back into play. Had he picked it up instantly and got play underway relatively smartly I would have let it slide as I have done on plenty of occasions.
I recall Referee Wolfgang Stark in a Champions League game between AC Milan and Celtic correctly recognising that the AC Milan goalkeeper had used his hand to control the ball which was a clear parry and then picked the ball up again. He correctly awarded the IDFK from where the ball was picked up by the GK.
Goalkeepers at the Pro level generally are very aware of this and ensure that the hands are not used when a chest or foot can be used to control the ball. Abbiati, the AC Milan keeper on the night, clearly did not know the Law nor did the AC Milan coach as it had to be explained to both.
In summary a parry can be punished whereas a save is not. Most times it is a save so there is no need for the referee to get involved. In addition there are times when it is trifling and doubtful so again the referee should not get involved.

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Answer provided by Referee Gary Voshol

I am presuming you are using the word 'parry' in the colloquial sense rather than as it is used in the Laws of the Game. Under the Laws, a parry is a ball that could have been caught, but the keeper chose to hit it down rather than catching it. If the ball was truly parried, then the goalkeeper may not handle the ball again until it has touched another player.

A parry has very little usage since the Laws were changed (a decade and a half ago now!) to allow the goalkeeper 6 seconds to distribute the ball rather than restricting her to 4 steps. Prior to that, the keeper might try to parry the ball away from the goal before picking it up.

So what you are probably talking about is a save. The goalkeeper was never considered to have possession of the ball by hand. So she is free to pick it up, even if she uses her feet first.

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Answer provided by Referee Peter Grove

Hi Dan,
The Laws says it is an offence if a goalkeeper ''touches the ball with the hands after releasing it and before it has touched another player.'' To release the ball, the keeper had to have control of it first.

So the question becomes, did the keeper establish control/possession of the ball by the action you describe as parrying the ball? The Laws do not mention the term 'parry', they only say that the keeper is in control of the ball by touching it with any part of the hands or arms, except when it is an accidental rebound or a deliberate save. So if the referee is of the opinion that this was a save or a rebound, the goalie would be OK to pick the ball up again but if it was neither of these things, using the hands again would be an indirect free kick offence.

As Ref McHugh says, context is the key and the strength/speed of any shot being dealt with by the keeper would be the main factor to look at in deciding if this was a case of 'control and release' or a deliberate save/accidental rebound, along with the general demeanor of the goalie during the incident.

Whether the keeper used the feet while the ball was on the ground or not, has no bearing on the matter of control with the hands, which is the definitive factor here.

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