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Question Number: 33086

Law 12 - Fouls and Misconduct 2/21/2019

Joe Mullen of GLASGOW, LANARKSHIRE United Kingdom asks...

Can a penalty be awarded if a team is waiting to take a corner and the defending goalkeeper fouls an attacking player

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Joe
The key to this decision is whether the ball is in play or not. If the corner is NOT taken it is not an offence as the ball is not in play. It can be misconduct yet the restart is still a corner.
If however the offence happens immediately after the ball is kicked then a penalty kick is awarded.
One of the challenges facing match officials is when there are two separate events such as a kick at a corner kick and an offence some 30 yards away in the penalty area is deciding the exact moment when both events took place.
In my game at the weekend I had a similar incident with a foul being committed by an attacker. The question I had to ask myself was whether the foul happened before the ball was kicked or after. I decided it was after so it was a direct free kick out.
Sometimes the incident can be so obvious that it just has to be dealt with and the timing is questionable. other times the referee stops the kick from taking place and deals with it before the restart. For instance a player recklessly pushes an opponent to the ground in an aggressive manner just at the moment of a corner? Defending team will say it happened before the ball was in play while the attacking team will say otherwise.
Maybe another way of looking at it is to why allow the the question to be asked of the referee in the first place with an obvious foul right in front of the referee! No offence and the question does not arise.

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Answer provided by Referee Jason Wright

Hi Joe,
If the ball is out of play then the restart cannot change. As one particular example, if a penalty had been awarded but an attacker then punches the defender who fouled him, the attacking team would receive a red card but still have the penalty!

If things are happening before the corner is being taken the referee can talk to the players and even issue cards - but if the ball is out of play, it's still a corner.

If, however, the ball was kicked and the referee believes the incident occurred as the ball was coming in, then it's a penalty.

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Answer provided by Referee Peter Grove

Hi Joe,
As I understand your description, the corner had not yet been taken. If that is the case, then the ball was not in play and so a penalty cannot be awarded. The very first line of Law 12 - Fouls and Misconduct says that:

''Direct and indirect free kicks and penalty kicks can only be awarded for offences committed when the ball is in play.''

Depending on the nature of the keeper's actions, the referee could still take disciplinary action against them - for instance if the goalkeeper committed an act of violent conduct, they would be sent off.

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