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Question Number: 31558

Law 12 - Fouls and Misconduct 5/24/2017

RE: Select Under 19

Matt of Bristow, VA USA asks...

A long hard ball is played from midfield towards the point where the PA intersects with the endline. The GK sprints out to intercept it but realizes that his momentum is going to carry him outside the PA. He touches the ball with his hands to keep it on the field of play and in the PA. He then exits the PA briefly but returns and picks up the ball.

Is the initial touch considered control and therefore would an IDFK be in order?

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Matt
Older versions of the Law had an IFAB decision where it stated that control does not include the circumstances where, in the opinion of the referee, the ball rebounds accidentally from the goalkeeper, for example after he has made a save. As described this would not be considered control of the ball and therefore the restriction of a parry would not apply. Parrying by the way also is no longer used in the laws so it is quickly becoming an obsolete term.

In general referees should only look for deliberate catch and release situations where the ball is caught by the goalkeeper, it is in his control and he then releases the ball to the ground. Situations involving saves, dives to stop a ball that end up being dropped or spilled from hard shots etc should not be considered as offences when picked up again under this law.
Referees also have to take into account the spirit of the law. The goalkeeper here is going to have to not touch the ball outside the penalty area because of momentum and we should not be trying to adopt a *gotcha* approach to his need to *save* the ball and then to prevent him using his hands in the subsequent follow up. Maybe put it another way. Had all of the action happened inside the penalty area would it be called as an offence?
If it was so obvious that he had the ball in his grasp for a second or so and then released / threw the ball away then we can based on those circumstances take action under Law 12.
As always make the *best* decision for the game. As the updated Laws state
** Decisions will be made to the best of the referees ability according to the Laws of the Game and the *spirit of the game* and will be based on the opinion of the referee who has the discretion to take appropriate action within the framework of the Laws of the Game.**
The law here was not intended to punish an action that is just part of the game. The GK has six seconds from when he picks up the ball here in which to release it.

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Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

Hi Matt,
Not unless the ball was easily stoppable .
A fast momentum action is not the same as a deliberate parry, we often point out the LOTG are meant to apply to grievous & certain infractions, we do not look for ways to find doubtful or trifling offences especially when a player is trying to play within the rules or comply with the spirit of the laws as the keeper was obviously aware of what fate COULD have befallen him should he have deliberately handled the ball OUTSIDE his PA. Yet in truth it is not truly a save in the conventional sense of stopping a goal more of not committing a dfk foul or carrying the ball outside of the field of play. If an opponent was able to get to up that rebound I could allow play to continue just as I could allow the keeper to pick it up.

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Answer provided by Referee Peter Grove

Hi Matt,
I have to admit this is a slightly unusual one that does not fit neatly within the parameters of the Laws as written.

Going strictly by the letter of the law there are only two ways for the touch with the hands not to establish control: a deliberate save or an accidental rebound but I'm not 100% sure that either of them totally fits here. Still, I can see two possible ways to deal with this.

Personally, I think we should look beyond the letter of the law, to the spirit of it. This is not (for me) the scenario that this particular part of the law is intended to cover. The keeper has not deliberately caught and released the ball to get around the 6 second restriction or to allow for a second touch, he has been more or less forced to release the ball by the circumstances, to avoid committing a handling offence. In this case I think we can apply the principle espoused on page 171 of the Laws document, and which says that: ''Referees are expected to use common sense and to apply the 'spirit of the game' when applying the Laws of the Game ...'' and allow play to continue.

And while a more literal-minded referee could of course call this as an offence and such a referee would not be wrong in law, I still think I would be more inclined to let it go, using the afore-mentioned 'common sense' and 'spirit of the game' arguments.

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Answer provided by Referee MrRef

Hello Matt,
well you managed to fire up the back burners on our chat line! lol
The concepts deflections, rebounds of control & possession & deliberate action all are weighed & measured to the degree of whether there is any infraction or if it would be trifling or doubtful?

We know the keeper being aware of a DFK for handling the ball outside his PA will not want to carry it outside the PA
So a swat to keep it playable & inside the PA due to slippery conditions or excessive momentum may not raise our ire as a true parry.
Whereas as a catch & slide realizing he is headed out so he pushes the ball away releasing it back into the PA could be considered more as an actual release than a parry per how the LOTG read!

To allow a keeper to go back & pick it up, we agreed we would look to see HOW or IF the opposition was truly disadvantaged by such an action rather than seek to punish for a 2nd touch?
If there was an opponent in pursuit we certainly would consider if the act was deliberate it MUST reset offside as it can not be a deliberate save given it is NOT a shot at goal.

It is not utterly impossible to think the swat was an accidental deflection in which case there is no LOTG at play so play continues.
Even if we believe the action is a deliberate attempt to play the ball rather than an accidental deflection given he did exactly what he intended. Then as a 2nd touch, looking it as a parry, particularly if he took it off an opponents' challenge could draw the INDFK. We could likely allow a pickup if no opponent is around given it really has no negative impact on the match.

From our pitch to your pitch in the spirit of fair play

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