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Question Number: 32347

Law 12 - Fouls and Misconduct 4/2/2018

RE: Comp/Adult Adult

David Farnan of Fair Oaks, CA United States asks...

This question is a follow up to question 21851

The law specifically says: 'uses a deliberate trick to pass the ball TO the goalkeeper with the head, chest, knee etc. to circumvent the Law, whether or not the goalkeeper touches the ball with the hands'. This implies the keeper must 'touch' or play the ball with something. If the defender outside the penalty area flicks the ball up then heads it in the direction of the gk but another player (attacker or defender) intercepts it so the gk does not touch it would you still caution the defender?

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi David
A touch is not required by the goalkeeper in circumvention. The offence happens when the player uses the trick to circumvent so at that moment the offence has been committed and the player is cautioned with an IDFK awarded. It makes no difference what happens after the trick and the GK cannot undo the circumvention by only using his foot to play the ball. If the circumvention does not work and there is an advantage to be played with an attacker intercepting the ball then play should continue. That is a referee judgement call. If a defender gets the ball the referee has to opine if it was the player's motive to play the ball to the GK or not or to his team mate. Who it unfolds in play will have a strong bearing on the decision particularly when there appears to be uncertainty as to motive / intention.
The original wording was clearer
** In such circumstances, it is irrelevant whether the goalkeeper subsequently touches the ball with his hands or not. The offence is committed by the player in attempting to circumvent both the letter and the spirit of Law 12.**
As Referee Grove points out it is a pretty rare offence. Referees though have to vigilant that it does not return through no call decisions.

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Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

HI David .,
the INDFK offence of a circumvent occurs WHEN the defender does the deed . It has zero to do with the keeper at all! The moment he attempts the circumvent the INDFK offence occurs and he could be cautioned if we stop play to deal with the act itself.

BUT you make an interesting point if we delayed the whistle because an un noticed attacker might or did intercept, could advantage be applied? Lets say he scored, the defender is mortified, keeper angry. Would you as referee saunter up and say, oh yeah by the way, and show the card?
I am thinking I could likely conveniently ignore it.

If it was another defender trying to intercept I might be less inclined to think so and award the INDFK immediately. You have to admit it seem unlikely the attempt is made when there are other options an the fact two other people had access to the ball ahead of he keeper might not be a circumvent so much as a mistake?

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Answer provided by Referee Peter Grove

Hi David,
This is a vanishingly rare offence these days but if and when it does occur there is rarely anyone else involved and it is usually fairly obvious what is going on. The only time I have personally come across this was when, with the ball on the ground at the edge of the penalty area and no other player of either side near enough to intervene, a defender knelt down on all fours and nudged the ball towards the keeper with their head. The intent was clearly to avoid the restriction on kicking the ball to the keeper and even before the keeper had a chance to touch the ball I brought a halt to proceedings.

Other examples I have seen have been equally unambiguous and there is no need to wait for the keeper to touch the ball before penalising this offence. As soon as the referee is sure what the player is trying do, the offence should be called.

In addition to the original law wording quoted by ref McHugh, there was also the following slightly longer wording in the FIFA circular that introduced this amendment:

''The offense is committed by the player in attempting to circumvent both the text and the spirit of Law 12, and the referee must only be convinced that this was the player's motive.''

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