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Question Number: 33757

Law 12 - Fouls and Misconduct 11/6/2019

Larry of Danville, CA USA asks...

This question is a follow up to question 33752

I'm having a hard time understanding this one. As ref Jason Wright states 'we tend to allow the pre-emptive protection in a wall being a necessary part of a FK'. I agree with that, but why would we see the same general scenario differently in general play. The described scenario is not the same thing as when a ball comes from distance. In that instance the player should field it properly or get out of the way. However, in this instance the player did not know where the ball was going to go, but only that an opponent was about to blast a shot on goal, about 10 yards away, and there was a potential that it would hit them, and potentially hurt them. Protecting oneself in that situation seems reasonable, just like a FK.

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Larry
The difference is that in a defensive wall the players position is set before the kick and unless on the end of the wall there is very little room to move.
So typically a player places his arms and hands say in front of his body and he does not move upwards or sideways then that is not seen as deliberate handling. If the player jumps or moves latterly at the end with the arms making himself bigger then that can be called.
Now in open play a player moves towards the ball and moves his arms into a position that assists in playing the ball can and should be called for deliberate handling.
In many ways there is a world of difference between placement before a kick in a wall and placement during a kick in open play
Have a look at this image
Say the ball hits Blue 5 on the arm in the wall is that going to be called as DHB?
Now put #5 in open play and he comes towards the ball and raises his arms into a similar position helping to charge the ball down it is more than likely going to be called.
I hope that helps

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Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

HI Larry,
perhaps we are merely talking about the time lapse between seeing and recognizing there COULD be impact to actual time of impact? To stand still, be ready and then formulate a plan where you will place arms out in front IN CASE the ball comes at you in active play is simply a poor choice of tactics. A reactive flinch to a sudden movement or a change of direction by a fast moving or screened ball is where we as officials MIGHT see it as accidental and not purposeful. But if an opponent is moving in on a possible shot or clearance and you are challenging him for possession or seeking to block his access pass or shot, then standing or moving forward with arms out in front as if being in a wall that is likely going to get called every time! In youth we cut a bit of slack given kids are scared of the ball or lack the skill or tactical implications but if there is time to think, put out the arm ahead of the shot, there is time to do all sorts of other things! In the wall, packed together, little time or room to react.

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