Fouls and Misconduct
HEADING THE BALL FROM THE 'KEEPER'S HANDS
A situation came up tonight in an Adult league came that caused a great deal of discussion amongst our group of referees.
Team A shot on Team B's goal. Team B's goalie caught the ball in both hands and was walking forward, presumably to prepare to release it.
One of Team A's forwards (who was BEHIND the goalie) ran around the goalie and headed the ball out of the goalie's hands and onto the ground where he then kicked it into the goal.
Goal or no goal?
The center referee called the goal back on the grounds that heading the ball out of the keeper's hands was not allowed.
Team A was livid and insisted that HEADING the ball out of the keeper's hands was a valid technique, not like KICKING the ball out of a goalie's hands, and that the goal should have stood. The center referee stood by his decision (as he should have).
After the game though, in discussion with his A/R's, the center ref rethought his decision & now believes that he should have allowed the goal to stand, that there may be some validity to the argument that heading the ball is indeed different from kicking it.
I have read (and reread) the Laws of the Game and agree with the center ref's initial decision. I can find nothing that would support the premise that heading the ball away from a goalie is allowed, much less from this position. (If he came from BEHIND the goalie, wouldn't he have been offside?)
Is this correct? Or should he have allowed the goal to stand? If so, why?
Answer (April 16, 2008):
Law 12 states quite clearly: An indirect free kick is also awarded to the opposing team if a player, in the opinion of the referee:
- prevents the goalkeeper from releasing the ball from his hands
The referee's initial decision was correct. No one is allowed to interfere with the goalkeeper's ability to put the ball back into play.
The USSF publication "Advice to Referees on the Laws of the Game" defines goalkeeper possession:
12.16 GOALKEEPER POSSESSION OF THE BALL
The goalkeeper is considered to be in possession of the ball while bouncing it on the ground or while throwing it into the air. Possession is given up if, while throwing the ball into the air, it is allowed to strike the ground. While the ball is in the possession of the 'keeper, it cannot be lawfully played by an opponent, and any attempt to do so may be punished by a direct free kick.
If it is any consolation to the referee in question, much of the world got this wrong until FIFA finally clarified the interpretation.
I have a reocurring issue that seems to occur at almost all youth levels of play, regardless of skill. Player A & B go for a 50/50 ball, and through no fault of his/her own and no foul being committed., player A falls down over or near the ball. Player C (Player B's team mate) comes in and strikes at the ball, endangering the safety of player A.
My call is player C is guilty of dangerous play and I award a IFK for player A's team as my logic is player A did not intend to fall down or be in that position, it was Player C who made the decision to play dangerously.
Is this the correct call? Please respond...my informal poll of peers seems to be split down the middle.
Answer (May 6, 200):
Aside from recognizing that any issue involving a "dangerous play" foul requires us to take into account the age and skill level of the player, referees who observe what might seem to be dangerous play in the context of Law 12 must wait a moment to see what happens.
If the player on the ground makes little or no attempt to get up or otherwise to stop "covering" the ball and, as a result, an opponent is prevented from challenging for the ball (in order not to cause danger to himself or the player on the ground), then definitely the player on the ground has committed an indirect free kick foul that we term "dangerous play."
If the player is making every effort to extricate himself from the immediate area of the ball but a player on the opposing team challenges immediately and actively for the ball without making contact with the player on the ground, then it is the player on the opposing team who has committed the "dangerous play" infraction.
If, however, the opponent comes in without giving the player on the ground any opportunity to extricate himself, challenges for the ball, and in the process makes contact with the player on the ground, the opponent is not only guilty of a more serious foul (kicking -- direct free kick or penalty kick) but could also be cautioned or even sent off depending on how violent the contact was.
WHAT IS A TACKLE?
The word TACKLE is used variously in soccer coaching material, in general speaking and in referee laws and instructions.
It's used by TV commentators to describe a player sliding to kick a ball out of bounds without an opponent being in close proximity.
Coaches teach a 'block tackle' which is often no more than a front-to-front confrontation that doesn't touch the ball. Referees say a kick of the ball made by reaching between the legs of an opponent from behind, without touching the opponent, is a 'poke' while a reach in front of a player to drive the ball away is a 'tackle.' In relaxed conversation a tackle has to touch the ball - or not.
It's all a bit confusing. Is there a standard description for the word TACKLE that applies to the Laws of the Game?
Answer (July 29, 2008):
In the less-complicated world of the Laws of the Game and refereeing -- in contrast to the complicated and overly-esoteric scientific world of the coach -- a tackle is any play with the foot for a ball under the control of the opponent, whether the player contacts the ball with the foot or not. This includes "pokes," "block tackles" or whatever other term the coach(es) may use. In all events, a "tackle" is not limited to "sliding"; a sliding tackle is simply a tackle performed in a particular way.
In addition, there is something in the Laws for 2008/2009 that applies to both "tackle" and "charge" (Law 12). Both terms refer to actions that occur many times during the game without violating the Law -- they only become an offense if either is performed carelessly, recklessly, or with excessive force.
USYS HAS RULES FOR SMALL-SIDED SOCCER
In a U-10 game in the USA, playing 6v6, a referee surprised me with what he described as a little known FIFA rule on goal kicks and goalkeeper punts. He would not let the goalkeepers kick or punt the ball on the fly over the center line (midfield line). I have coached U10 soccer for 5 years and never heard of a rule like that.
Apparently, it was OK if our goalkeeper punted or kicked the ball just short of the center line and had the ball bounce over it to one of either our players or the opposition's players. What is the correct rule?
Answer (June 18, 2009):
The referee was correct. Such a rule exists in small-sided soccer (Under 10 and Under 12 only) played under the rules recommended by the U. S. Youth Soccer Association:
Law 12 - Fouls and Misconduct: Conform to FIFA with the exception that an indirect free kick is awarded to the opposing team at the center spot on the halfway line if a goalkeeper punts or drop-kicks the ball in the air from his/her penalty area into the opponents penalty area.
The USYS modifies the recommendation with the following advice: Law 12
The rule on the goalkeeper's distribution still allows for the ball to be punted the entire length of the field, it just can not go directly into the opponents' penalty area
DELIBERATELY HANDING THE BALL TO STOP A GOALSCORING OPPORTUNITY
What is the difference between denying a goal and denying an obvious goal scoring opportunity in the deliberate handling sending off offence.
Where a player including the goalkeeper deliberately handles the ball which denies an obvious goal scoring opportunity outside the penalty area is that player sent off for DOGSO H or for DOGSO F.
The reason I ask is that the USSF opinion is that the 4Ds does not apply to DOGSO H and the ball must be destined for the goal for DOGSO H to apply suggests to some that deliberate handling is not a sending off offence unless it stops a ball entering the goal, which is plainly not the case. Perhaps that might be explained more clearly.
Answer (January 19, 2011):
First, a clear policy statement: The U. S. Soccer Federation cannot and does not presume to speak for other national associations when providing guidelines on how various statements in the Laws are to be interpreted and implemented. That said, the Federation does follow to the letter what the Laws say regarding matters bearing on obvious goalscoring opportunities (OGSO) and also follows the guidance provided by the IFAB and FIFA on that topic.
Just to keep it straight, here is what Law 12 says about the OGSO offenses: Sending-off offenses
A player, substitute or substituted player is sent off if he commits any of the following seven offenses:
* denying the opposing team a goal or an obvious goal-scoring opportunity by deliberately handling the ball (this does not apply to a goalkeeper within his own penalty area)
* denying an obvious goal-scoring opportunity to an opponent moving towards the player's goal by an offense punishable by a free kick or a penalty kick
Second, a cautionary note regarding acronyms, which are mere conveniences and not always entirely descriptive of what is being discussed. The acronyms DOGSO-F and DOGSO-H are used primarily as shorthand when filling out the referee's match report. DOGSO-H means just that, "denying the opposing team a goal or an obvious goal-scoring opportunity by deliberately handling the ball (this does not apply to a goalkeeper within his own penalty area)." However, DOGSO-F is somewhat more complicated, as it includes not merely denying an OGSO by a foul, but also by ANY OFFENSE PUNISHABLE BY A FREE KICK OR A PENALTY KICK. That includes misconduct.
The reason the Federation says (and has always said, from the very first introduction of the OGSO concept when the two new reasons for a send-off were created by the International Board) that the "4 Ds" do not apply to send-off offense #5 (DG-H) is because (a) USSF created the 4 Ds specifically for DG-F, (b) the requirement that all four Ds had to be present before a red card for DG-F could be given simply cannot be applied to a handling offense, and (c) the "D" represented by "Distance to ball" was completely inapplicable.
In attempting to decide if it were highly probable that a ball would have gone into the net if the handling had not interfered with the movement of the ball, the referee must juggle, weigh, and balance a number of factors, including SOME of the Ds, but not in so absolute a way as they are used in evaluating a DG-F situation. For example, one D involves the number of defenders and, for a DG-F situation, the Federation has said that this D cannot be rated as a "yes" if there is more than one defender between the foul and the goal (not counting the defender who committed the offense). In a DG-H situation, it is not so ironclad. In a DG-F situation, the D involving direction of play is only one of four factors but, in a DG-H situation, the direction, force, and speed of the ball are arguably the most important of the factors to be considered. For example, a ball played forward by several yards might lead to a decision that the D for direction of play (and distance to the ball) is present, but this would not be the case in a handling situation where, if, in the opinion of the referee, the handled ball either was already or would have stopped far short of the goal, a DG-H red card cannot be given.
We are concerned about how you arrived at your statement "that deliberate handling is not a sending off offence unless it stops a ball entering the goal, which is plainly not the case." We would argue that it is in fact plainly the case. Handling the ball is not a direct sending-off offense unless, in the opinion of the referee, but for the handling the ball would have gone into the net. This is clearly a judgment, but it is a judgment grounded on analyzing a number of variables -- which happen to include such matters as how close to the goal the handling occurred, how many defenders there were between the site of the handling and the goal, and the direction/speed/force the ball was taking at the time the handling occurred. The fact that these variables resemble three of the four "Ds" involved in DG-F (denying an OGSO by foul/misconduct) is not accidental. The judgment to be reached here does not have to be one of "certainty" but, rather, one of "high probability" based on the referee's experience and reading of the variables.
It doesn't get any clearer than that.
PLAYER POSITIONS AT RESTARTS
On a corner kick, may offensive players start from a position inside the goal (beyond the goal line) and then run out (in front of the keeper or to other positions) as the ball is being kicked?
I recently saw this employed, where one offensive player began inside the goal, then ran out in front of the keeper as the ball was being kicked.
Answer (January 13, 2011):
Other than those putting the ball back into play, players are required to remain on the field of play. So no, the tactic you describe is not permitted.