Soccer Referee Resources
Ask a Question
Recent Questions

RSS FEED Subscribe Now!

Q&A Quick Search
The Field of Play
The Ball
The Players
The Players Equipment
The Referee
The Other Match Officials
The Duration of the Match
The Start and Restart of Play
The Ball In and Out of Play
Fouls and Misconduct
Free Kicks
Penalty kick
Throw In
Goal Kick
Corner Kick

Common Sense
Kicks - Penalty Mark
The Technical Area
The Fourth Official
Attitude and Control
League Specific
High School

Common Acronyms
Meet The Ref
Contact AskTheRef
Help Wanted
About AskTheRef
Panel Login

Question Number: 3409

Law 12 - Fouls and Misconduct

RE: Under 10

nazim of , maadi egypt asks...

how many seconds may the goalkeeper be holding the ball inside the goal box?

Answer provided by Referee Keith Contarino

Technically, the keeper has 6 seconds to release the ball from his hands. However, in practice, we don't stand there and count to 6 like referees do in basketball, so there is some leeway. Usually, if a referee thinks a keeper is taking too long, the referee will verbally warn the keeper before actually calling a foul..Thanks for the question.

Read other questions answered by Referee Keith Contarino

View Referee Keith Contarino profile

Answer provided by Referee Stacy Kalstrom

Great answer by my colleague Contarino. The answer to your question lies in Law 12, under the heading Indirect Free Kick. The reason you find it here is that if a keeper were to hold onto the ball quite a bit longer than the 6 seconds and has not released it even after you prod him/her to do so. The result is an Indirect Free Kick awarded to the opposing team...The Indirect Free Kick is to be taken from the spot where the keeper was standing when you made the call (unless covered by the special circumstanes under Law 8)...Please remember the intent with which this was written, to prevent time wasting, so if you have a youth player who is confused about where to release the ball or to whom and doesn't release it in time, just tell them "Come on keeper, release the ball" Don't use this as a reason to penalize, that is not in keeping with the "spirit of the Law"...Also, this only applies to the keeper holding the ball in his hands, not at his feet. Thanks for visiting our site.

Read other questions answered by Referee Stacy Kalstrom

View Referee Stacy Kalstrom profile

Answer provided by Referee Gartenhaus

Good question by you and good answers by my fellow referees. I would like to add that the six seconds applies to the keeper handling the ball in the entire Penalty Area, not just in the goal box..Thanks for writing.

Read other questions answered by Referee Gartenhaus

View Referee Gartenhaus profile

Ask a Follow Up Question to Q# 3409
Read other Q & A regarding Law 12 - Fouls and Misconduct

Soccer Referee Extras

Did you Ask the Ref? Find your answer here.

Enter Question Number

If you received a response regarding a submitted question enter your question number above to find the answer

Offside Question?

Offside Explained by Chuck Fleischer & Richard Dawson, Former & Current Editor of AskTheRef

This web site and the answers to these questions are not sanctioned by or affiliated with any governing body of soccer. The opinions expressed on this site should not be considered official interpretations of the Laws of the Game and are merely opinions of AskTheRef and our panel members. If you need an official ruling you should contact your state or local representative through your club or league. On AskTheRef your questions are answered by a panel of licensed referees. See Meet The Ref for details about our panel members.