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Question Number: 33861

Law 12 - Fouls and Misconduct 1/29/2020

RE: Select Adult

Alan of NY, NY Usa asks...

In law 12, it currently states a caution and illegal backpass activity for:
" uses a deliberate trick to pass the ball (including from a free kick) to the goalkeeper with the head, chest, knee etc. to circumvent the Law, whether or not the goalkeeper touches the ball with the hands"

Here "etc" is loosely defined. My question is specifically if a defender uses their shin in a kicking motion to provide an intentional back pass to their goal keeper, is this considered a trick or a legal motion being that a kick is defined as any part of the foot or ankle?


Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Alan
If it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck more than likely a duck.
The reason I use this phrase is that the shin in not part of the foot so a player can shin the ball back to the goalkeeper and the goalkeeper can legally pick the ball up. The difficulty is that to the naked eye a lower shin kick will look like a foot kick all day long so is any referee going to let it slide if it looks like a kick?
In the past I have got into spats on forums about this and while it is one thing in Law it is completely another in a match situation.
In the recent glossary that IFAB added to the Laws it states that **The ball is kicked when a player makes contact with the foot and/or the ankle**
Have a look at this video
Ronnie Whelan who scored that goal said that he *shinned* the ball rather than kicking it with his foot!

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Answer provided by Referee Jason Wright

Hi Alan,
I wish they would get rid of this from the laws, I really do.
However, I think it's going to be a bit much to apply it to a player kicking the ball back with the shin.
A player is allowed to play the ball back with any part of their body except the foot. So, if the ball is at any height off the ground, the shin is a perfectly reasonable part of the body to play it to anybody - including the keeper. So, it can't possibly be circumvention.
Saying it is would actually be saying that the player has several options to play the ball but is arbitrarily forced to only use one of them. That's not football.
Flicking the ball up onto one's own head (or a teammate's head) is instead being faced with a scenario where the foot is really the only possible way to play the ball in any natural manner, but artificially changing that situation to lift the ball off the ground to play it with another body part to get around playing it with the foot. That's the key difference.

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Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

HI Alan ,
Just to be clear. The Shin is not the foot, but your opinion if it was a kicking action designed to get the ball to the keeper but avoided using the foot in a deliberate manner the INDFK occurs immediately for circumvention, the keeper has nothing to with it. It is the USB action of the player. That said a shin is NOT a foot! So do not look for the INDFK most often its just not there!

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