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Question Number: 32298

Law 12 - Fouls and Misconduct 3/12/2018

RE: Select/Competitive High School

Victor Blackburn of Beaufort, SC United States asks...

Another interesting scenario thats received mixed reviews on another referee page. This involves the current laws under IFAB Law 12 and there is wording in NFHS laws that match IFAB, but I will reference only IFAB as its easier.

The video played, shows a red defender kicking the ball backwards towards his goalkeeper. It was a 50 yard play back, but this was in my mind, no doubt, a deliberate play back to the goalkeeper. To cover such a distance the ball had to be played in the air a bit. So as its coming down, bouncing toward the goalkeeper, it skips up (for what reason Im not sure from the video, possibly his own boot or the ground) and strikes him in an outstretched arm, just below the elbow. The ball does not touch his hands. The attacking team expected the referee to make the call for the IFK (before reading the law more in depth, I did too) but the referee does not and the blue team is furious.

So the argument continues on Facebook either way. Upon reading Law 12 though, I find the wording very interesting and I believe the way the law was worded almost seems deliberate. Everywhere else in law 12, the term "handling" is used. However, under the case of a deliberate back pass, or a throw in, or releasing and regaining control of the ball, it specifically states, "touches the ball with the hands." Even after people hear this, they argue on the "spirit of the game" view point and say it should still be an IFK. I see their point and somewhat agree with it. But, I feel like if IFAB intended for Law 12 to be that way, then why would they use the wording that they used, when they easily could have used the term "handling" as they do in other places in Law 12. What are your thoughts on this?

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Victor
This is a simple Law and NFHS rule. A goalkeeper may not touch the ball with his hands /arms when the ball has been deliberately kicked to him by a team mate
Here is a referee getting wrong
Most if not all goalkeepers know that the use of arm is included in *hands* so the ball being played with an outstretched arms constitutes a breach. Should it happen outside the penalty area it is deliberate handling by a goalkeeper.

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Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

HI Victor,
I suspect you know WHY this Law was instigated.
Under the old LOTG a defender and a keeper could WASTE time legally without fear of being cautioned by back passing the ball to each other continuously and the opposition was excluded from being able to challenge effectively due to they could not charge the keeper with ball possession.
This ruling was created to stop the using up of time by a legal loophole .
A deliberate kick TO the keeper by a teammate or a DIRECT throw in
The keeper CAN NOT use his hands to pick the ball up. Thus if he only stops the ball is that picking it up? The offence reads touching the ball with the hands. BECAUSE the inference that hand = arm and a touch = contact we have an infringement!
IF they had stated only PICKING THE BALL UP was the offence we might forgive a parry like touch given it was likely accidental or done to make a save. AS it is if the keeper makes ball to hand THUS arm contact on a ball deliberately kicked TO him by a team mate it is an INDFK offence.

Handling the ball
Handling the ball involves a deliberate act of a player making contact with the
ball with the hand or arm.

The goalkeeper has the same restrictions on handling the ball as any other
player outside the penalty area. Inside their penalty area, the goalkeeper
cannot be guilty of a handling offence incurring a direct free kick or any related
sanction but can be guilty of handling offences that incur an indirect free kick. An indirect free kick is awarded if a goalkeeper, inside their penalty area,
commits any of the following offences:
• controls the ball with the hands for more than six seconds before releasing it
• touches the ball with the hands after:
•• releasing it and before it has touched another player
••it has been deliberately kicked to the goalkeeper by a team-mate
••receiving it directly from a throw-in taken by a team-mate

A goalkeeper is considered to be in control of the ball when:
• the ball is between the hands or between the hand and any surface
(e.g. ground, own body) or by touching it with any part of the hands or arms
except if the ball rebounds accidentally from the goalkeeper or the
goalkeeper has made a save
A goalkeeper cannot be challenged by an opponent when in control of
the ball with the hands.
Now we have the word police and the what ifs trying to squeeze more or less based on a definition then on common sense. If a ball is lodged under the arm pit of a keeper rather than his hand would you permit an opponent to kick it out from under? NO, of course not, because he is in possession, using the arm or hand is the same!

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Answer provided by Referee Peter Grove

Hi Victor,
Even within the section of the law regarding handling, the wording repeatedly uses the term 'hand' alone (without mentioning 'arm') - it is simply a shorthand way of referring to 'the hands or arms.' Consider for instance, the following quotations from the Laws:

''the movement of the hand towards the ball (not the ball towards the hand)
the position of the hand does not necessarily mean that there is an offence
touching the ball with an object held in the hand''

So for me, in all cases where the law refers to only the hand or hands in this way, it should always be taken to refer to both hands and arms. The section of the law on a deliberate kick to the keeper should be read the same way.

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