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Question Number: 32054

Law 12 - Fouls and Misconduct 11/26/2017

RE: Adult

Mike Timber of Sydney, NSW Australia asks...

If a defender passes back to keeper, and it hits the ref with speed and changes direction, can the keeper use his hands to stop the ball? And also if a defender uses his knee to pass back to the keeper, can the keeper pick it up?

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Mike
The ball hitting the referee makes no difference to the decision. If the kick was destined for the goalkeeper then the contact off the referee does not allow the goalkeeper to pick the ball up.
If the ball is not destined for the GK and the contact off the referee changes that then there is no offence if the goalkeeper picks the ball up.
A player can use any part of his body except the foot to play the ball back to his goalkeeper so that the GK can pick the ball up. Head, knee, chest are all fine provided he does not try to circumvent the law by flicking the ball up to his knee, chest.

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Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

HI Mike.
the referee is PART of the pitch so technically the ball rebounding off him if the ball was deliberately kicked by the defender was on its way to the keeper it would NOT relive the keeper's handling restriction UNLESS the ball was deflected as an accident in the deliberate kick was say a clearance that hit the referee and rebounded towards the goal of course the keeper could use their hands to stop this errant mistake.

The player is permitted to pass with any playable body part except a deliberate kick but he can not circumvent the concept of why the ball cannot be handled by the keeper as in say stop the ball with the foot then kneel down to knee it over or bend over to head it


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Answer provided by Referee Ben Mueller

For your first scenario think of the referee as a long blade of grass. If the intent was to get ball to keeper, then keep cannot pick it up. Now granted if the ball did hit the referee on a pass back..the referee was most likely in a bad position. Thus it should not happen.

In the second scenario, the knee is not considered a kick. So that is fine.

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Answer provided by Referee Peter Grove

Hi Mike,
In the first part of your query, the outcome depends on what you mean by 'a defender passes back to keeper.' If you mean the ball was deliberately kicked to the goalkeeper by a team mate then the keeper may not use the hands and it doesn't matter if it hits the referee on the way, or not.

In fact, the second part of your question illustrates the point about using the correct terminology: 'deliberate kick' rather than 'pass back'. A player can pass the ball using a body part other than the foot; the knee, chest, head etc and there is then no restriction on the keeper's use of the hands.

However, if the player uses a deliberate trick to circumvent the law then the player is penalised for this unsporting subterfuge. In this situation it doesn't matter whether the keeper uses the hands or not, the offence is committed by the player using the deliberate trick.

In terms of a deliberate trick, this means basically artificially manoeuvring the ball or the body into a position that allows the use of a body part other than the foot, when the ball was originally in a position where the normally-expected course of action would have been to kick the ball. According to FIFA circular 488, issued on July 24, 1992 to introduce this amendment:

''Examples of such tricks would include: a player who deliberately flicks the ball with his feet up onto his head in order to head the ball to his goalkeeper; or, a player who kneels down and deliberately pushes the ball to the goalkeeper with his knee, etc.''

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