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Question Number: 33374

Law 12 - Fouls and Misconduct 5/22/2019

RE: Varsity High School

Derek of Cary, IL USA asks...

The goalkeeper cannot be interfered with while they possess the ball with their hands or in the process of returning the ball back into play. How much do you allow an opponent to be close to the keeper or, more importantly, jump in front while the keeper kicks the ball?

I've had opponents jump while 5 yards away from the keeper, and some around 2-3 yards.

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Derek
In general I would not allow this to happen unless of course it has no impact on play or there is an advantage.
Certainly 2/3 yards is much too close. Once though it gets to 5 yards plus it is getting into the interception category.
It is a judgement call to be made by the referee and my advice is to call the first one that happens which could put a stop to it continuing.

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Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

A keeper should ensure the ball is in his possession then decide what he wants to do about releasing it . An opponent is not allowed to interfere with the release but is not prohibited from reacting AFTER it is released. Which is why the keeper in trying to do it quickly with opponents near by must not let their guard down if the opponent is still in movement mode in the direction the release is going. They can not track the keeper which is why a keeper should CHANGE direction as then it becomes OBVIOUS if the movement is designed to interfere with the release as opposed to be part of the playing motion. The fact is if it has no effect, you allow play, possibly warn, but if it has the keeper, say, stop his release or the player contacts the ball due to their early movement ahead of the release award the INDFK and consider cautioning. The whole idea of the 6 seconds was not to waste time and let the ball be punted or thrown without trying to sneak a head, backside or foot in tight . Cheers

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Answer provided by Referee Peter Grove

Hi Derek,
This is very much of a case of the referee's judgement of the situation. You have to judge whether the player has actually interfered with the keeper's release of the ball - or not. Obviously, this will depend partly on the distance the player is away from the keeper. If the player is over ten yards away, it's probably not going to be seen as an attempt to prevent the release but at 5 yards or less, and especially if it's down to 2 or 3 yards, it's going to be much more questionable. You should also consider the player's movement to 'track' the movements of the keeper. The closer the player is and the more they move around in an apparent attempt to block the keeper, the more reason to give an offence.

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