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Question Number: 32171

Law 12 - Fouls and Misconduct 1/16/2018

RE: Adult

Daniel of Bacau, Romania asks...

Many thanks for your answer at my previous question. Please write your answer to the following question:
Being in play, the ball rolls toward the free goal. Just in front of the goal line the goalkeeper stops the ball with a shinguard that he has in a hand (he doesn't throw the shinguard). How should the referee decide?
Thank you.

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Daniel
In the past this was considered unsporting behaviour for which the goalkeeper was cautioned and the restart was an IDFK from where the ball was touched.
That has all now changed.
In a recent circular IFAB has advised that throwing an object is a direct free-kick offence (not a handling offence) so a goalkeeper who throws an object and hits the ball / an opponent with excessive force in their own penalty while the ball is in play is sanctioned with a penalty kick and a caution (Yellow Card) or dismissal (Red Card).
Now you mention that the shinguard was not thrown yet it was used to help play the ball, one assumes by lengthening the reach. It is an outlier event and I would say that the goalkeeper should be sanctioned with a red card and a penalty kick. The illegal action by the goalkeeper has prevented a goal yet not spelt out explicitly in Law. The Laws cannot deal with every possible situation, so where there is no direct provision in the Laws, IFAB expects the referee to make a decision within the 'spirit' of the game this often involves asking the question, *what would football want/expect?*. I certainly believe that it expects a penalty kick and a red card for denying an obvious goal which did not involve a genuine attempt to play the ball.
I would also say that holding a shin pad in a clenched fist with the ball punched with the fist can easily be missed by a referee. It is sonething not likely to happen very often if at all and asked more on paper to test the knowledge of referees.

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Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

Hi Daniel,
you are welcome, those here on the panel enjoy the opportunity to spread knowledge and support for the beautiful game.
Under the old LOTG, probably based on HISTORICAL perspective a keeper was not able to be sent off inside the PA for illegal use of his hands on the ball thus denying a goal by handling . It was thought that if he held a foreign object in his hands it was an extension of those hands thus a send off was not possible. To some extent it was the same if he threw an object inside his penalty area at the BALL as he was allowed to handle that ball. Thus the only restart was an INDFK and a caution for USB as NO send off for a handling event INSIDE the PA and no DFK for deliberate handling INSIDE the PA.
An INDFK for an act of USB but no denial of a goal.
The conflict was within the two DOGSO send off statements where in one it states ANY free kick which denies a goal can be a send off & in the other states a keeper CAN NOT be send off for illegal use of hands on the ball

The realization that to permit a keeper to act in such a silly manner and not be sent off or punished the same as a player prompted a rethink of reasonable outcomes for unethical actions to which a keeper acting in a manner as you suggested would now be shown the red card & sent off reducing his team by a player and a PK would be awarded. This new approach is in keeping with fouls occurring outside the boundary lines in that unethical action that UNFAIRLY affect a match can not be allowed to be swept into a gray messy area of indecision. Solid repercussions for illegal and unethical actions. While I am frequently at odds with the political aspects of FIFA I support the concept of fairness and equality within the LOTG that you reap what you sow!

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