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Question Number: 32357

Law 12 - Fouls and Misconduct 4/9/2018

RE: NPL Under 19

mike of farmingville, NY USA asks...

19 year old boys

the ball is the top of the 18 yard box, red player comes in and kicks the ball towards blue net when it hits the hand of the blue player just outside the 6 yard box. the arm/hand was at a 45 degree angle away from his body. referee called for a PK. the trainer was disputing the call saying the blue player had no time to react. did the referee make the correct call?

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Mike
Deliberate handling is now one of the most difficult calls in the game of soccer. The site receives many questions on handling and some calls depending on the situation can go either way which is the challenge for the game. This is what my Association UEFA advises referees
** Although football is a game in which players constantly move their arms
and hands as a natural part of their movement, in deciding if a player is
handling the ball deliberately, it is essential to consider the following points:
# Does he use his hand or arm to intentionally touch the ball?
# Was it a hand to ball situation or ball to hand?
# Are the player’s hands or arms in a natural position?
# Does the player want to 'make himself bigger' by using his arms?
# Distance the ball travelled before striking the player’s hand
# Does the player try to avoid the ball striking his hand?
# Is the player able to avoid the ball striking his hand?**

As described there are two questions I would pose here. Did the player try to avoid the ball hitting his arm and was the player able to avoid the ball hitting his arm? My view is that he did not try hard enough to avoid the ball with his arm coming from some 12 yards away with his arm 45 degree away from his body and that he perhaps should have been able to avoid the contact.
In previous answers I mentioned the notion of a scale with say a 1 for unintentiomal contact and a 10 for a deliberate hand / arm movement to direct the ball. The grey area in the middle is always the challenge yet once it gets over 5 it runs the risk of bring called
So as described the action pushes the decision closer to the middle / top of deliberate handling scale which was the referee's decision. For me the player would have to be close to the kicker to claim inability to avoid the ball.

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Answer provided by Referee Peter Grove

Hi Mike,
It's very difficult to judge almost any offence without seeing it and with handling offences even more so. All I would say is that if the player was 12 yards away when the shot was struck then the claim that the player did not have enough time to react sounds a bit flimsy to me. That still doesn't necessarily mean this was a deliberate handling offence but if it wasn't, it would have to be for some other reason than the 'unexpected ball' argument, as far as I'm concerned.

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Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

H Mike ,
if you follow or believe in public input NO referee makes the right call and if they do only 50% would ever agree it was so. LOL As we frequently point out those that disagree be it anyone off the field are entitled to their opinion but as to the facts of play the neutral referee on the pitch is the sole proprietor of the truth as it applies to the match.
12 yards away?
Hmm variables to decide if the contact was avoidable versus accidental?
Notice I did not say deliberate but failing to get out of the way is a form of deliberateness according to some! They do not recognize ,(a deer in the headlights instinctive freeze) even if the arms could be in a neutral position.

Was the player unsighted?
Was ball coming in fast ?
Was the ball flight steady or did it swerve or rebound & change direction?
Was the player free in space not blocked or unable to move easily?
Was there TIME to react to pull the arm away?
Was the arm in a reasonable playing position?
Was the arm itself used deliberately palm expanded arm pushed forward?


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