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Question Number: 31698

Law 12 - Fouls and Misconduct 8/11/2017

RE: Division 1 Adult

C Busby of Amaroo, ACT Australia asks...

Question on the back pass ruling. In a Local, quite windy Division 1 game, the ball was back passed to the goalkeeper. Goalkeeper knowing it was a back pass tried to kick the ball up the field. He miss kicked the ball which looped up in the air and held up on the wind, ending up virtually above his head. He then caught the ball.

One team calls for a indirect free kick, claiming a deliberate pass back was handled. Ref checked with the linesman who indicated that the goalkeepers attempt to clear should be considered an intervening play, and the goalkeeper miss kicked the ball and it should be play on. Which is correct?



Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Buz
As the ball was deliberately kicked to the goalkeeper by a team mate the goalkeeper was restricted from touching the ball with his hands. That restriction remains in place until either the ball touches an opponent or it is subsequently played by a team mate in a manner that allows the ball to be touched by a hand such as a header, chested etc.
Let me put it like this. Let us say that the goalkeeper used some skill to allow the ball to flick up of his foot into his hands in a similar situation. Would a referee allow that? Is it any different other than a deliberate play, the GK used his foot and he caught the ball. No he would not and while we can argue that the mis kick was unintentional it changes nothing in that the conditions of the restriction in Law still applies.
That is the Law as written and with all Laws outlier situation are not accommodated. A referee might see such situation as trifling given that the GK has 6 seconds to put the ball back into play and that the genesis of the law was to prevent multiple kicks to the GK to prevent the ball being challenged for by the opponent near the end of the game. That though is not supported in Law and it is not an intervening play what ever that means.
Finally at the highest level that would not happen and I have seen GKs head the ball in such situations as they know that the restriction still applies.

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Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

Hi Buz,

I hold the opinion the attacking team was due an INDFK
the LOTG are simple if the ball is deliberately kicked with the foot by a team mate to their keeper the keeper is NOT permitted use their hands. If the keeper makes a hash out it, whether he dribbles or tries to kick it the INDFK restriction is in place and the INDFK can be awarded if that ball is handled inside his PA. The keeper in not using his hands to kick the ball initially is NOT a reset for him to NOW use his hands as that ball was last deliberately kicked to him by a team mate & the handling restriction remains intact until a NEW touch of the ball by any of the players. Any opponent touch or any deflection off a team mate by the ball only then his handling restriction is lifted.

Now even though we know HISTORICALLY the reason for this restriction was defenders their keepers once played keep away in such a fashion using up playing time in a dull disinterring albeit an effective tactical ploy that bored spectators to tears.

The LOTG do have a unwritten code where we do not punish doubtful or trifling offences as unnecessary intervention. . In cases where a ball is MISKICKED in the direction of the keeper as in a clearance into the wind with backspin or a high ball blown much farther than anyone expected or played with no intention of the ball ever going to the keeper and it says stops in a pool of water near a goal line or deflects off a post or flag and stays inside the FOP when it was clearly obvious it was designed to be played away from danger.

If you as referee were certain the defender was making no deliberate kick to his keeper but simply trying to play soccer.
An example as a defender I slide tackle my opponent to strip him off the ball and it goes in towards my goal forcing the keeper to make a save using his hands. Technically I deliberately kicked the ball towards my keeper and the ball was handled by my keeper but we also except a keeper to make a save just as we expect a defender to try and block a shot on goal.
The referee could arbitrarily decide to overlook the fact the ball was deliberately kicked by the team mate but he does not have to.

Now if an attacker is in pursuit of a defenders' deliberately kicked ball to his keeper and the keeper by using their hands robs out attacker of the opportunity to play the ball THEN I feel less inclined to see his illegal handling of the ball as ok A ball kicked to where the keeper can recover or intercept even if there is doubt it was intended for the keeper does not mitigate it was deliberately kicked by a team mate. The doubt of was that ball directed TO him if it was being pursued by an opponent once the hands are on the ball that opponent is going to be looking at you for the call.


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Answer provided by Referee Jason Wright

Thank you for your question.
Unfortunately the referees got this one wrong - not sure where the AR was going with his 'intervening play' idea. An intervening play, if you want to call it that, would by a touch by another player. The goalkeeper miskicking the ball then handling it would be more akin to the goalkeeper dribbling the ball around for a bit then picking it up. The goalkeeeper handled the ball when it was deliberately kicked to him without touching anybody else - what the goalkeeper does with it between receiving it and handling it is not relevant.

This should have been an indirect free kick.

If the initial kick to the keeper was a miskick that's different as the law requires the goalkeeper to be the intended recipient (I believe this part of the law may be interpreted differently in different countries, but I know that's how it's interpreted in Australia) - but here it appears the refereeing team agreed the keeper was the intended recipient and just misinterpreted how to apply the law.

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