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Question Number: 32110

Law 12 - Fouls and Misconduct 12/18/2017

Larry of Danville, CA USA asks...

How would you deal with the following? A shot on goal and you decide a defender right in front of the goal handled the ball. However had there been no handling the ball would have simply struck the defender and not entered the goal. If the defender had reached outside their body to contact the ball a PK and DOGSO is an easy decision, but I wonder if my scenario changes things.

Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

HI Larry,
in the u little's youth matches they have decided to eliminate heading which I suspect a ball directed at or near the head the player ducks or puts up a hand to ward it away or perhaps tries to jump and take it off the face or chest. I could indeed see only a PK . In youth once heading is permitted I likely see it as a PK and caution more than a red card for DOGSO by handling but that would not hold for older competitive soccer as the conditions and expectations place greater burden on the player to not react so foolishly, in such cases a PK and send off would likely apply. There is always a consideration of no foul if the ball is hit hard or from a short distance as long as the arms hand is not used to push the ball away as opposed to turn and let it bang on the arm. But deliberate actions such as being caught or pushed away rather than let a ball impact the body for who is to say a deflection or rebound might still wind up going into the goal whereas a ball not headed into the goal we could see it only as cautionable if it was not denying the goal or the opportunity for another attacker to score ..

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Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Larry
The first question is whether it is deliberate handling or not. Some of these instances are instinctive movements of protection as the young player turns away which IMO should not be punished.
Now if the player raises his arm to he moves forward to charge at a ball then that is deliberate handling punished by a DFK or a penalty. Even if the ball is going to hit the body the player by his action may have denied a goal and it is a red card for denying a goal. The choice the player made was to perhaps place himself and use his hand/s to stop the ball. The alternative was to not place himself in front of the ball using his arms to assist in the charge down, The referee cannot be a seer to decide what would have happened had the player not used his arm/s. All he can opine is that the ball was going towards / into the goal, the player placed himself using his arm/s in a way that stopped the ball going towards the goal and as it is DHB with a penalty kick restart it is a red card.

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Answer provided by Referee Joe Manjone

You mentioned that the ball was handled by a defender other than the goalkeeper, which in high school play is a foul. As the referee, you have to decide if it was an obvious goal scoring opportunity. From your description as the referee, you indicated that it was not an obvious goal scoring opportunity. Therefore, in high school play, as the referee, you would sound the whistle, stop the clock, and point to the penalty mark. The restart would be a penalty kick.

I hope that you are having a successful season.

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Answer provided by Referee Peter Grove

Hi Larry,
First of all, the handling has to be deliberate - if it was not, there was no offence and play continues. If the referee decides it was deliberate, then for me the question to be asked is, absent the handling, would the ball have entered the goal or not? For instance, if the ball was heading wide of the goal when the deliberate handling occurred, it would be a penalty but not a denial of a goal. So if you as referee, judge that if the player had not handled the ball a goal would have resulted, that is a denial of a goal and the player should be sent off. If you are of the opinion that the ball would not have entered the goal if the defender did not handle it, for me that would not require a red card.

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