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Question Number: 33592

Law 16 - The Goal Kick 8/23/2019

RE: Adult

Tony of Leeds, England asks...

With the new goal kick law where it doesnt have to leave the area .
If a goalkeeper takes a goal kick and flicks it to a defender in the box and he heads it back to the keeper can he then pick it up and kick it out of his hands

Answer provided by Referee Jason Wright

Hi Tony,
This has been the subject of much debate amongst referees. Some referees argue that it's allowed, whereas others believe that this would result in an indirect free kick to the opposing team and a caution to either the defender or the goalkeeper (if not both, depending on the referee's interpretation). Bear in mind that you wouldn't be able to do this in regular play (if the keeper)

Since this debate came up (there have been some high profile incidents where this has occurred and been permitted), IFAB have released a statement instructing referees that if this occurs it is to be a retake.

So, while it's officially a retake, I only point out the possibility of a caution because not all referees may be across that directive.

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Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Tony
After the amended Law 16 was introduced a number of teams began using this tactic. It appeared that the teams felt there was a benefit in getting the ball into the goalkeepers hands, I assume to throw the ball out to a team mate rather than having to kick it. It may be more accurate for some goalkeepers or the trajectory of the ball is better in a throw?.
Anyway for whatever reason it was happening and in all the situations that I saw on the web the referees allowed it. It caused much debate as some referees felt it was it was a *trick* play which in open play is not allowed in Law 12 under the so called *backpass* law. It did appear unfair as while defenders could be inside the penalty area attackers could not so it was an unchallenged play. Others felt it was a kick by the goalkeeper and a team mate can legally play the ball and that heading or playing the ball back allowed for the ball to be picked with perhaps the 6 seconds more strictly enforced.
That debate could not be easily resolved so IFAB then issued a circular which states that it is a RETAKE now when it happens. It wants to discuss this further before making any permanent change to Law 16. Under Law 12 a trick play to circumvent the Law is a caution for the player and perhaps IFAB does not want to go the caution route.
Since the circular issued it has stopped the tactic which for me means that it is likely that the retake option will be the preferred longer term solution in Law 16.

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Answer provided by Referee Peter Grove

Hi Tony,
As my colleagues have mentioned, this and other aspects of Law 16 were the subject of a recent IFAB circular, under which this tactic would lead to a retake. Here's an extract from that circular:

''... if [this] occurs, the referee should order the goal kick to be retaken (but without taking any disciplinary action).''

The circular also states that, ''the matter will be discussed by The IFAB Technical Sub-Committee.''

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Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

Hi Tony,
little to add other than I have to think the powers that be will be will eventually insist the ball must travel OUTSIDE the PA before a keeper can use their hands. It has NEVER been illegal for a player to kick a ball to a teammate who then redirects if to the keeper using a playable body part. Players ADAPT to law changes and then the powers that be realize hmmm a loophole, best close it. At one time you could legal charge a keeper while he held the ball. In fact you could head it out if his hands lol Players can get away with weird things to use up time and while WE might not approve it is not within our mandate to find reasons to punish it. Cheers

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