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Question Number: 31699

Law 12 - Fouls and Misconduct 8/12/2017

RE: Pro Under 15

Tryggvi of Akureyri, Iceland asks...


I was wondering if blocking the keeper from making a save was legal. I mean like blocking the keeper so he can't get to the ball?

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Tryggvi
Not sure what you mean by blocking?
Anyway there are two issue to consider.
One is whether the blocking is done from an offside position in which case that player interference is considered interfering with an opponent from an offside position and as a result can be called offside.
The second consideration is that while a player is entitled to his position on the field of play he cannot simply move to block or impede the movement of an opponent if the ball is not within playing distance. So a player could not step into the path of a goalkeeper to restrict his movement on a save. That would be holding. Nor could he charge a goalkeeper to prevent movement towards the ball.
The only legal ways I can see this happening is if the player goes for the ball and his movement towards the ball legally restricts the movement of an opponent who is going for the same ball or if the player shields the ball in a way that prevent an opponent moving towards the the ball which is within playing distance of the player.
I would finish by saying that blocking can be difficult to detect as I watch at the higher levels players moving as a group in a way that one player moves to place himself as a blocker and at speed it is difficult to detect as it is seen as movement to perhaps avoid marking or change of direction.

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Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

Hi Tryggvi,
Hmmm we could call impeding if you move in sync with the keeper when the ball is not within playing distance. Also if you are blocking his line of sight you could also be guilty of offside interference depending on the whereabouts of the 2nd last defender or ball location.

You CAN place yourself in a spot blocking the keeper ahead of say a corner kick but if you continually shadow the keeper moving to keep blocking before the restart it is considered as a form of USB thus cautionable as USB and an INDFK once the ball is in play and you move to block should the keeper be trying to move around you . If you STAND STILL the keeper can not push you out of the way but you CAN NOT move to intercept the path the keeper takes to get to the ball by moving into his way because the ball is NOT within playing distance where you have a legal right to shield the ball !

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Answer provided by Referee Peter Grove

Hi Tryggvi,
What you are describing sounds very much like it could constitute either an impeding or possibly holding offence. According to the Laws of the Game, impeding means ''moving into the opponent's path to obstruct, block, slow down or force a change of direction when the ball is not within playing distance of either player.''

If this is done without any contact, it is an indirect free kick offence. If contact occurs, it is penalised by a direct free kick. This kind of thing often happens at a free kick or corner kick and if there is contact (which there is, almost every time) it can also constitute holding. The law gives the following instructions to referees in this regard:

''Referees are reminded to make an early intervention and to deal firmly with holding offences, especially inside the penalty area at corner kicks and free kicks. To deal with these situations:
- the referee must warn any player holding an opponent before the ball is in play
- caution the player if the holding continues before the ball is in play
- award a direct free kick or penalty kick and caution the player if it happens''

If a player simply takes up a position in front of or close to a goalkeeper and does not move around to impede or hold the goalkeeper off using the arms or body, then there would not be an offence (assuming offside is not a consideration).

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