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Question Number: 32301

Law 12 - Fouls and Misconduct 3/13/2018

RE: Select/Competitive High School

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

This question is a follow up to question 32298

Well, now this gets more interesting. As I share your beliefs and responses as my own, weve also reached out to David Elleray who is the technical director at IFAB. In being described the same situation, he has stated and I quote, "The incident you describe is NOT punishable according to the laws as there is deliberate reference to hands rather than arms. There is no intention of changing this."

Now its really confusing. I share your beliefs on what youve stated as hands being mentioned in place of arms a couple of times because even if it touches the arm, the offense is still termed "handling" or "handball." But what am I supposed to make of it with the Technical Director of IFAB saying this?

Answer provided by Referee Joe Manjone

I will respond with the high school rules interpretation.

First of all, I noticed that you are from South Carolina. I officiated high school soccer in South Carolina in the mid-70's. Back then the skill level was low and there was much physical contact as few players had played soccer before finding out about it when they got to high school. They thought that it was football rather than soccer. Also, high school soccer was played in the fall at that time. Now, I understand that it is played in the spring as we do here in Alabama.

Now to answer your first question. As you pointed out, the high school rule (12-7-4) does also mention that the ball must touch the goal keepers hands for there to be a violation. You were correct when you originally agreed with the non-call ruling.

As for the handling situation that you now mention, please note that as indicated in high school rule 12-2, the handling must be deliberate. Your situation where the ball deflected of the shoe and hit the goalkeepers arm is not deliberate handling and would not be a violaton.

I think that you need to go with your first instinct of agreeing with the call.

I hope that you are having a very successful Spring Season.

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Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

I WANTED to alter the LOTG IE rules so that the ONLY INDFK for a pass-back was if the ball was actual caught or PICKED UP not that the hands or arms for that matter could be used deliberately or accidentally to stop a ball from entering the goal as in a parry. Simply because the idea was only to stop time wasting not punish a keeper for doing his duty! As long as the ball remains free to be played by the opposition there should be NO INDFK awarded ONLY if he tries to maintain hands on holding. I also agree that if a ball was to accidentally hit the arm or hand again no reason to find an indfk but if a ball is deliberately kicked by a team mate towards the keeper and it is a bit of a lob pass that bounces over the keepers' head and he raises his arms to knock it down catching on the forearm or cradles that ball against his chest that is handling plain and simple hands or no hands. . While I can AGREE I DO NOT LIKE IT and if David is speaking a newer interpretation lets clean up the miscommunication because hand /arm are the same! MR Ellery is either speaking to something different as an accidental bounce but in no way does the hand stand alone from a wrist forearm or bicep.

Lets set the stage for this incorrect assumption put forth by Mr Ellery. A defender makes a deliberate kick directly to his keeper, the keeper being a smart guy reads MR Ellery's response kneels down or on a bounce he catches and pinches the ball between his forearms making sure no HANDS are used. The opposition CAN THEY KICK the ball free if he stands up? Can the opposition charge him shoulder to shoulder? Can he deny the opposition possession for 6 seconds? NO!!!! The hand and arm are the same period it is utterly ridiculous to say they are not BECAUSE what SHOULD be stated is the ball can not be possessed or held or picked up or in any way covered that prevents the opposition a clear challenge.

Whether a keeper uses a finger tip save to or a palm or a wrist or a forearm, an elbow, a bicep to stop a deliberate kick by a teammate from entering the goal due to a mistake or forceful effort there should NOT EVEN BE an INDFK for use of hands as long a the ball is NOT picked up and held ! PERIOD!

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Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Victor
Thanks for the follow up and clarification given by IFAB
I remember for many years debating what constituted a kick in a deliberate kick to the goalkeeper. Was a ball played with the lower shin a kick or not. Only recent clarification by IFAB in a circular defined a kick as use of the foot and ankle only. It will be included in the new LotG in June.
In a similar way is the uses of the arm exempt under the deliberate kick to the goalkeeper as suggested by IFAB. At present that is debatable. Let us say that the ball is kicked back deliberately by a defender and the goalkeeper wedges the ball between his elbow and his side without using his hand or cradled a bouncing ball in his arms with no hands used. We know that he cannot be challenged by an opponent in such situations. That would be allowed under the IFAB opinion yet imagine the furore of such a decision. We have enough difficulty explaining decisions without getting into an esoteric debate about the finer points of Law 12
I would also doubt that given the limited dissemination of opinions etc to referees that many referees will call the offence based on the fact that the ball is withheld from challenge through uses of the arms by the goalkeeper. How many know about the kick clarification in a circular?
Also as in the shin debate when it looks like a kick are referees going to be able to determine that the ball does not touch the hand when a forearm is used to *handle* the ball ?
For me if it looks like a duck, swims like a duck, quacks like a duck then every chance it is a duck

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Answer provided by Referee Peter Grove

Hi Victor,
Since the IFAB are the ultimate authority on the Laws of the Game, we must accept their ruling. I would say however that for a body that has altered the wording of some laws to maintain what they claim is the requirement for absolute consistency within the Laws, they still seem to have some way to go since as I mentioned, 'hand' is used to mean 'hands and arms' in several other places.

I would also say that this ruling, if it becomes common knowledge, would provide a way for goalkeepers who are aware of it to stop or even hold a ball deliberately kicked to them by a team mate, by using the wrists or lower forearms and escape sanction in a way that I do not think is what the law intended.

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