Robert, an adult amateur player, asks:
A striker positions himself to make a shot on goal, one-on-one with the goalkeeper, in an obvious scoring opportunity. The goalkeeper shouts to startle him and causes the striker to fluff his kick.
Is the correct approach: 1) yellow card for keeper and indirect free kick, 2) red card and penalty, or 3) no action?
A reader has brought to our attention that the International Board has resolved the above question in its new FAQs (found only at the end of each Law separately listed on the IFAB website — these FAQs are not to be found in the downloadable document itself and appeared only at the end of May 2018). What follows is our revised reply to the above question. Our apologies for any confusion the original answer might have caused. And then … another reader brought our inattention to our attention, hence the second update. We hope this is the last. Only the final sentence needed correcting.
A very interesting question, Robert, one which has been affected by recent Law changes. The relevant Law elements are as follows. First, the goalkeeper’s action of shouting to distract is and always has been included in the general category of “unsporting misconduct.” Second, though a misconduct, the goalkeeper’s action is still termed “an offense.” Third, no direct free kick offense was committed. Fourth, both the description of the scenario and the scenario itself declare that this was an “obvious goal-scoring opportunity” — also commonly referred to as a “DOGSO.” It is the fourth fact that is the key to the problem here.
Prior to 2016-2017, Law 12 only required that the restart be a free kick or penalty kick, which would clearly have included an offense resulting in either a direct or an indirect free kick. The International Board’s modifications to Law 12 over the last several years were mainly intended to lighten what was called the “triple penalty” stemming from the commission of a DOGSO offense (i.e., the penalty kick itself plus the send-off plus the attendant minimum one-game suspension that followed). To do so, it created a distinction between cautionable DOGSOs and send-off DOGSOs.
As Law 12 now stands, there are still two basic DOGSO scenarios, one of which involves illegal handling and the other involves any offense other than handling. An illegal handling that prevents a goal will always result in a direct free kick (or a penalty kick) and a red card no matter where in the field the handling occurs (a caution is appropriate if the illegal handling does not prevent the goal). However, in the process of outlining when a caution is a correct response, Law 12 specifies that the caution is applicable where (among other things) the offense results in a penalty kick and this, in turn, is possible only when the offense is a direct free kick foul occurring inside the defending team’s penalty area.
However, in the Board’s Law 12 FAQ 12, the point is made that, since an indirect free kick restart does not, in effect, restore the goal-scoring opportunity that was denied by the OGSO, the defender must still be given a red card even though the restart would be an indirect free kick. In FAQ 11, the Board resolved another issue in stating that a DOGSO offense must result in a red card even if the offense occurred outside the penalty area and would not otherwise have been cautionable but for the DOGSO.
Accordingly, the answer to your question is that none of the options is correct. Add “4) red card and indirect free kick” to the options list in order to get one that is required by Law 12 and Law 12’s FAQ 12.