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Question Number: 32778

Law 12 - Fouls and Misconduct 10/5/2018

RE: competive Under 14

terri d. of oakton, va usa asks...

A defender shields the ball rolling towards her goalie with her arms. She did not kick the ball, but the ball comes within playing distance to her, for her to shield; are her out-stretch arms allowed for shielding?

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Terri
The answer is technically no yet in practise it probably will not be called unless the player actually pulls back or grabs the opponent.
In these shielding situations a great deal of latitude is given to use of the arms and the ball not within playing distance

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Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

HI Terri ,
technically the use of arms is prohibited but given in most situation of a shielding both players use them to ward or fend off the other as they grab hold or push or slingshot around. The player in behind is almost circling pushing trying to get around , the player shielding also pivoting while doing the chicken wing or eagle dance trying to delay the pursuer so the ball can get into touch, keeper can pick it up or was in a holding mode waiting for help to arrive to pass it off . I see several instances of pushes where the player behind seems to shove the front player who inadvertently kicks it out as he is stumbling . In my opinion that is a foul of pushing but I rarely see it called. The one thing a shielding player does that I will not permit is the arm spread and he backs up into the player trailing, in my opinion that is foul of holding especially as the ball is rolling in the opposite direction . Often both players are grabbing a hold of each other. One in an attempt to prevent being passed the other pulling back trying to slingshot around. I might add you can legally shoulder charge here which maybe the intention of the following player but the shielder is trying to not get into a side on position. A key would be to not allow a backwards sweep into the face like a strike or into the chest where a hand grabs a jersey to hold them off. In the opposite view a belly bump or arm shove from behind to push or an arm draped over the shoulder to pull back.

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Answer provided by Referee Peter Grove

Hi Terri,
You say the defender has her arms outstretched but you don't say if there is any opponent nearby or if there is, whether the opponent is actually being contacted by the defender's arms.

It is not an offence in and of itself to have the arms outstretched and if there is no opponent nearby, there is nothing wrong. However, if there is an opponent near enough to be affected, then it becomes a potential issue.

For me, the position of the arms is not necessarily the decisive factor, so much as whether the arms are used to hold off the opponent.

If there is contact, it could well be seen as a holding offence which should be penalised but as my colleagues have said, there often is some form of contact when shielding is taking place, this often involves the arms and unless it is egregious it is often tolerated by both players and referees.

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