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Question Number: 33498

Law 12 - Fouls and Misconduct 7/2/2019

RE: Competitive Under 19

Norm of Wellington, New Zealand asks...

In the FIFA WWC semi-final today, after the US keeper saved the English penalty attempt, she was hugged by a few teammates. If one of those other players handled the ball while doing that, would that count as deliberate handling? And, if so, has that ever happened?

I couldn't tell from the TV coverage today if any of the referees were paying much attention to what those players were doing.

Answer provided by Referee Peter Grove

Hi Norm,
While it might theoretically be possible, I would say that any hand to ball contact that might occur in such a situation would almost certainly be accidental. The defenders are not going up and intentionally handing the ball, and any accidental handling would not be in the categories that the law now mentions, where even accidental handling is punished.

There is also a section in the laws that says:

''The Laws cannot deal with every possible situation, so where there is no direct provision in the Laws, The IFAB expects the referee to make a decision within the 'spirit' of the game - this often involves asking the question, ''what would football want/expect?''

In my opinion, nobody in football would want or expect an offence to be given here and I doubt if any referee would award a handball for this kind of unintentional contact, even if it did occur.

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Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

HI Norm,
unless she actually dropped the ball no referee is going to see that as deliberate handling . The UK player likely feels badly because that was a timid pk.

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Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Norm
Interesting you should question that as when I watched it I thought the same. For me it was more around the fact that the game was still going on and most US players went to the GK. I would be telling the players to get on with play in this instance with no concern about DHB.
Being a referee and knowing the Laws that is never going to be called deliberate handling unless one of the actions stops the ball falling to the ground out of the GKs grasp.
I also doubt that with the ball in the goalkeepers arm hold that with arm hugs that the ball would actually be touched. As you say it was impossible to see anyway. No referee is ever going to call this so it does not arise.

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