Entries related to Trickery

Question:
A defender throws in the ball to a team mate who intentionally heads the ball to the keeper who catches it. Is this allowed or is the team trying to circumvent both the letter and the spirit of Law 12 which would result in an IDFK where the defender headed the ball to the goalkeeper?

Answer (February 10. 2013):
Let’s start off with an excerpt from the USSF publication “Advice to Referees on the Laws of the Game” (2011/2012):

12.21 BALL THROWN TO THE GOALKEEPER
A goalkeeper infringes Law 12 by touching the ball with the hands after receiving it directly from a throw-in taken by a teammate. The goalkeeper is considered to have received the ball directly by playing it in any way (for example, by dribbling the ball with the feet) before touching it with the hands. Referees should take care not to consider as trickery any sequence of play that offers a fair chance for opponents to challenge for the ball before it is handled by the goalkeeper from a throw-in.

NOTE: The goalkeeper may always handle the ball inside his/her own penalty area unless he/she:
• Takes more than 6 seconds while controlling the ball with his/her hands before releasing it from possession
• Regains hand control prior to a touch by another player
• Touches ball with the hands after it comes directly from a throw-in or deliberate kick to the ‘keeper by a teammate
The restart for any of these infringements is an indirect free kick*.

Things have changed since 1992, when FIFA issued Circular 488 on July 24. The sense of the circular was encapsulated in an article in “Fair Play,” a no-longer published USSF referee magazine, in 1998. The article as quoted here has been modified by its author to reflect the change in the way the Laws are numbered (now Arabic numbers rather than Roman numerals) and the replacement in the Laws of “ungentlemanly conduct” by “unsporting behavior.”

What about players who seek to get around the Letter of the Law? In response to numerous queries from around the world, FIFA issued its Circular Number 488 on July 24, 1992. Circular 488 will not appear in the Laws of the Game, but must be known and understood by every referee. Because it directly affects the way in which the referee will treat time wasting, it is worthwhile to quote the Circular at length:

Subject to the terms of Law 12, a player may pass the ball to his own goalkeeper using his head or chest or knee, etc. If, however, in the opinion of the referee, a player uses a deliberate trick in order to circumvent the amendment to Law 12, the player will be guilty of unsporting behavior and will be punished accordingly in terms of Law 12; that is to say, the player will be cautioned and an indirect free-kick will be awarded to the opposing team from the place where the player committed the offense.

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.

In such circumstances, it is irrelevant whether the goalkeeper subsequently touches the ball with his hands or not. The offense is committed by the player in attempting to circumvent both the text and the spirit of Law 12, and the referee must only be convinced that this was the player’s motive.

It is obvious from the text of Circular 488 that players who use trickery in an attempt to get around the conditions of the amendment to Law 12 must be dealt with immediately and firmly. The initiator of the trickery must be cautioned for unsporting behavior and the match properly restarted. If the ball was already in play, an indirect free-kick from the spot where the initiator touched—not merely “kicked”—the ball is appropriate. If the ball was out of play, the restart for a violation depends upon how the circumvention began. If the action began from a free-kick or goal-kick that was properly taken, the restart will again be an indirect free-kick from the spot where the initiator of the trickery played it, regardless of whether he took the kick or was further along in the sequence of play. If the goal-kick or free-kick was not properly taken, then the restart must be that goal-kick or free-kick. This could lead to a situation where the offending team has a player cautioned (or sent off for a second cautionable offense), but still retains the ball on the restart.

The Law was rewritten in 1997 to reduce the number of options available to players for wasting time. Playing the ball to one’s goalkeeper was traditionally used as a way of “consuming” time. By the time the Law was rewritten, the practice had become synonymous with time wasting. Normal interplay of the ball among teammates is not a matter of concern to any referee; however, the referee must be concerned with obvious deliberate attempts to circumvent the requirements of the Law. In this case the player using the deliberate trick to circumvent the Law is committing unsporting behavior, for which he must be cautioned and shown the yellow card.

One clue to the correctness of the player’s action is whether it is a natural part of play or is clearly artificial and intended only to circumvent the Law. In such cases, the action is considered misconduct whether it ultimately is touched by the goalkeeper or not.

This would also apply to a ball kicked by a player to a teammate, who then heads the ball to the ‘keeper. In most cases this would be considered to be a part of normal play.

On July 23, 2002, we stated:

If a goal-kick, taken by the goalkeeper, goes to a teammate outside the penalty area, who heads the ball back to the goalie, this does not infringe the requirements of Law 12. The referee must recognize the difference between situations during dynamic play, when opponents are constantly exerting pressure, and events developing from static situations, such as free-kicks, when the opposing team must be at least ten yards from the ball. The referee must always consider the distance between members of opposing teams as well as members of the same team before making the call.

And finally a direct answer to your question:
First, the situation involving a throw-in directly to a goalkeeper by a teammate of the goalkeeper is not an example of the so-called “pass back” to the goalkeeper, it is an entirely separate indirect free kick foul which is listed in Law 12. The only things they have in common is that the action starts with a teammate, followed by the ball going directly to the hands of the goalkeeper, and that it is one of several indirect free kick violations by a goalkeeper designed by the Laws of the Game to discourage instances when, because the ball is being held by the goalkeeper, opponents cannot legally challenge for control.

Second, the “trickery” issue is misconduct, not a foul, and is therefore governed by a different set of requirements (in fact, the misconduct itself is being committed by the teammate, not the goalkeeper, and the goalkeeper does not even need to touch the ball in order for the misconduct to be committed).

Third, as a foul, the “pass back” or the “throw back” offenses are rare; as misconduct, “trickery” is even more uncommon. Whereas the foul only requires the referee to see where the ball came from (kick from a teammate, throw-in by a teammate), the trickery offense requires evaluating what is going on around the play in question and why (in the opinion of the referee) the play was performed this way.

“Ttrickery” should not be considered if the opponents had a fair chance to challenge for the ball. If the referee decides they did not and that is why this sequence was performed, then “trickery” should be considered.

Categories: Trickery

CLARIFYING "TRICKERY"

December 7, 2012

Question:
I’ve seen a disturbing occurrence on the fields of [my state’s] soccer more than once lately and I’m about to scribe a blog entry about it. I just want to triple-check with you before doing so to make absolutely certain I am on the right side of the LOTG.

This has to do with the old “fake corner kick” trick. This is starting to show up more and more at lower levels of youth play. I saw it in a U12 girls game last weekend. Fortunately, that referee got it right – by allowing play to continue unabated.

But as I sat in the referee tent, a parent came over and challenged me on whether that was considered “trickery”. His source of information, unfortunately, was a referee in a previous match who cautioned the taker of the corner for unsporting behavior. I assured the parent that this in no way contravened the LOTG, and that, if said parent was relaying the story accurately, the referee got it wrong.

I am certain that the “fake corner” is allowed, but I want to make sure my blog entry is well-rooted in the Laws and that’s why I am contacting you.

My position is that the notion of “trickery” has a very specific meaning and application within the LOTG: and that is, specifically a player trying to trick the referee by circumventing the spirit of the laws. “Trickery” has no relevance in the context of player-to-player communication or play, whether it involves teammates or opponents. In fact, players try to “trick” each other for 90 minutes during every match through the use of skill and deception.

Just wanted to make sure I am on firm theological ground before preaching to the masses.

Answer (December 7, 2012):
NOTE: Answer modified 13 December 2012 to bring it up to date.

Trickery, at least under the Laws of the Game, is reserved for only one offense: Engaging in trickery to circumvent the goalkeeper’s limitation on handling the ball played from a teammate’s foot (the defender who initiates the “trickery” is cautioned, the decision does not require that the goalkeeper actually handles the ball, and the misconduct can occur during dynamic play or at a restart). This also applies at throw-ins: At a throw-in, referees should take care not to consider as trickery any sequence of play that offers a fair chance for opponents to challenge for the ball before it is handled by the goalkeeper from a throw-in. Trickery cannot occur at a corner kick under any but the most unusual circumstances.

The International Football Association Board (IFAB) changed Law 12 in 1992 in an effort to deal with trickery aimed at circumventing the requirement limiting the opportunities for the goalkeeper to handle the ball when it was deliberately kicked to him by a teammate. (Previously it had been legal for the goalkeeper to pick up the ball with his hands if the teammate had been outside the penalty area when he kicked the ball to the goalkeeper.) Players looked for and found crafty ways to get around the requirement and thus the IFAB adopted a new Decision 18 to Law 12 in 1993 (since incorporated into Interpretation of the Laws of the Game and Guidelines for Referees Law 12). This Decision 18 specifically defined trickery as including (but not limited to) the teammate “using his head or chest or knee, etc.” That is now found in the Interpretation of the Laws of the Game and Guidelines for Referees under Cautions for unsporting behavior: “uses a deliberate trick while the ball is in play to pass the ball to his own goalkeeper with his head, chest, knee, etc. in order to circumvent the Law, irrespective of whether the goalkeeper touches the ball with his hands or not. The offense is committed by the player in attempting to circumvent both the letter and the spirit of law 12 and play is restarted with an indirect free kick”

One clue to the correctness of the player’s action is whether it a natural part of play or is clearly artificial and intended only to circumvent the Law. In such cases, the action is considered misconduct whether it ultimately is touched by the goalkeeper or not. Indeed, the misconduct should be whistled before the goalkeeper even has a chance to touch it.

The player who initiates the “trickery” is cautioned and shown the yellow card for unsporting behavior; the decision does not require that the goalkeeper actually handle the ball, and the misconduct can occur during dynamic play or at a restart. The referee must be sure that the sequence of play was indeed intended to circumvent the Law and to prevent opponents from having a fair chance to compete for the ball rather than have it unfairly handled by the goalkeeper. If, in the referee’s opinion, there was trickery, then it is the teammate who played the ball immediately prior to it going to the goalkeeper who would be cautioned.

The key to deciding whether or not a player is trying to thwart the Law by passing the ball to the goalkeeper without actually kicking it is whether the action is a natural one, a normal playing tactic, which is perfectly legitimate, or a contrived act, a “trick,” which must be punished with a caution for unsporting behavior.

Here is a quote from an article by an esteemed author, originally published in the USSF publication “Fair Play” (now sadly out of publication):

Trickery
FIFA has demanded that referees deal quickly and firmly with timewasting tactics. One of the least understood forms of time wasting is trickery in passing the ball to the goalkeeper. This article describes trickery and how the referee can combat it.

Law 12 was rewritten in 1997 to reduce the number of options available to players for wasting time. Playing the ball to one’s goalkeeper was traditionally used as a way of “consuming” time. By the time the Law was rewritten, the practice had become synonymous with time wasting.

Normal interplay of the ball among teammates is not a matter of concern to any referee; however, the referee must be concerned with obvious deliberate attempts to circumvent the requirements of the Law. Players may pass the ball to their goalkeeper in any legal way and not infringe on the requirements of Law 12. It is when a player uses trickery that the referee must act. Trickery is any contrived scheme or unnatural way of playing the ball in an attempt to circumvent the requirements of Law 12 when passing the ball to the goalkeeper. Examples of trickery include a player who deliberately flicks the ball with the foot up to the head, so as to head the ball to the goalkeeper, or a player who kneels down and deliberately pushes the ball to the goalkeeper with the knee or head. [NOTE: If the ball is already in play, the latter infringement is punished at the discretion of the referee; this does not apply when it occurs at a free kick.]

If the ball was already in play, an indirect free kick from the spot where the initiator touched–not merely “kicked”–the ball is appropriate. If the ball was out of play, the restart for a violation depends upon how the circumvention began. If the action began from a free kick or goal kick that was properly taken, the restart will again be an indirect free kick from the spot where the initiator of the trickery played it, no matter where the kick was taken or when it occurred in the sequence of play. If the goal kick or free kick was not properly taken, then the restart must be that goal kick or free kick. This could lead to a situation where the offending team has a player cautioned (or sent off for a second cautionable offense), but still retains the ball on the restart.

If more than one player was involved in the trickery, the question as to which defender to punish can be answered only by the referee. The referee must be sure that the sequence of play was meant to circumvent the Law and to prevent opponents from having a fair chance to compete for the ball rather than have it unfairly handled by the goalkeeper. If, in the referee’s opinion, there was trickery, then it is the teammate who played the ball immediately prior to it going to the goalkeeper who would be cautioned.

The punishment for trickery is a caution for unsporting behavior, with the restart to be taken at the place where the trickery was initiated, not where the goalkeeper handled the ball. The referee does not have to wait until the ‘keeper handles the ball to make the call. The referee must only be convinced that trickery was the player’s motive for the act.

Categories: Trickery

Question:
Should this (please see video…Newcastle v Tottenham on 18 Aug 2012) be considered trickery? [Note, it was not called in the EPL match]. Not too different from flicking the ball in the air in order to head it to keeper.

http://www.101greatgoals.com/blog/the-best-back-pass-ever-steven-taylor-for-newcastle-v-tottenham/

and
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8b88k1ZxDuQ&feature=youtube_gdata

I imagine we’ll see kids imitating this move. This has many tactical and skill implications for those of us who coach. I guess I will stop having players shield the ball while the keeper comes out for it, and instead teach them to bend one knee and use the other thigh to pass it back to the keeper and therefore alleviate pressure more easily.

Goal kicks are now easier. The keeper kicks to the side of the PA and a runs out to the line (or stands there while a back kicks it), a player stationed at the side gets down on the ground and heads it to the keeper just inside the area.

Innovation will abound. Not sure I like it, but, as they say, change is the only constant. The game could change a bit because of this, I can’t be the only one whose brain started to whirl when I watched the match.

Answer (August 23, 2012):
The play itself was perfectly legal. If, as sometimes happens, this link has disappeared from the original site, the situation was that Newcastle player Steve Taylor stopped with his foot a ball going over the goal line and, knowing his his ‘keeper could not play the ball with his hands if Taylor deliberately kicked the ball to him, Taylor dropped to the ground and headed it to his ‘keeper, who could then play the ball with his hands within both the letter and spirit of the Law. One cannot and must not call this perfectly legal act “trickery” or trying to circumvent the Law.

Categories: Trickery

TRICKERY? YES, INDEED

January 16, 2012

Question:
Is it Trickery when defender A passes the ball back to the keeper and the keeper flicks the ball up to the defender A who then heads it back to the keeper? I know two defenders can do this and it is normal play but I was curious if the keeper is allowed to initiate without penalty.

USSF answer (January 16, 2012):
This was one of the first tricks used when the Law was changed to do away with this sort of behavior. Yes, it is trickery.

“TRICKERY” AT A THROW-IN

September 28, 2011

Question:
I have a question about the trickery rule; there was a throw in to myself. My first touch i chested it up to a header back to the goalie where he picked it up with his hands. The opposite team was awarded a free kick at spot. I was told if i didnt chest it and just hit with my head it would of beeen fine just want to double check his call thanx

USSF answer (September 28, 2011):
The International Football Association Board (IFAB) changed Law 12 in 1992 in an effort to deal with trickery aimed at circumventing the requirement limiting the opportunities for the goalkeeper to handle the ball when it was deliberately kicked to him by a teammate. (Previously it had been legal for the goalkeeper to pick up the ball with his hands if the teammate had been outside the penalty area when he kicked the ball to the goalkeeper.) Players looked for and found crafty ways to get around the requirement and thus the IFAB adopted a new Decision 18 to Law 12 in 1993 (since incorporated into Decision 3 to Law 12). This Decision 18 specifically defined trickery as including (but not limited to) the teammate “using his head or chest or knee, etc.” That is now found in the Interpretation of the Laws of the Game and Guidelines for Referees under Cautions for unsporting behavior: “uses a deliberate trick while the ball is in play to pass the ball to his own goalkeeper with his head, chest, knee, etc. in order to circumvent the Law, irrespective of whether the goalkeeper touches the ball with his hands or not. The offense is committed by the player in attempting to circumvent both the letter and the spirit of law 12 and play is restarted with an indirect free kick”

One clue to the correctness of the player’s action is whether it a natural part of play or is clearly artificial and intended only to circumvent the Law. In such cases, the action is considered misconduct whether it ultimately is touched by the goalkeeper or not. Indeed, the misconduct should be whistled before the goalkeeper even has a chance to touch it.

The defender who initiates the “trickery” is cautioned and shown the yellow card for unsporting behavior; the decision does not require that the goalkeeper actually handles the ball, and the misconduct can occur during dynamic play or at a restart. The question as to which defender in this case was guilty of initiating the deliberate trickery can be answered only by the referee who is on the spot. The referee must be sure that the sequence of play was indeed intended to circumvent the Law and to prevent opponents from having a fair chance to compete for the ball rather than have it unfairly handled by the goalkeeper. If, in the referee’s opinion, there was trickery, then it is the teammate who played the ball immediately prior to it going to the goalkeeper who would be cautioned.

The key to deciding whether or not a player is trying to thwart the Law by passing the ball to the goalkeeper without actually kicking it is whether the action is a natural one, a normal playing tactic, which is perfectly legitimate, or a contrived act, a “trick,” which must be punished with a caution for unsporting behavior.

You will also find the answer in the USSF publication “Advice to Referees on the Laws of the Game.” It requires that the referee exercise a good sense of the game.

12.21 BALL THROWN TO THE GOALKEEPER
A goalkeeper infringes Law 12 by touching the ball with the hands after receiving it directly from a throw-in taken by a teammate. The goalkeeper is considered to have received the ball directly by playing it in any way (for example, by dribbling the ball with the feet) before touching it with the hands. Referees should take care not to consider as trickery any sequence of play that offers a fair chance for opponents to challenge for the ball before it is handled by the goalkeeper from a throw-in.

PASS BACK TO ‘KEEPER

November 12, 2010

Question:
In a soccer game a player deliberately used his knee to pass the ball to the goalkeeper. The goalkeeper then picked the ball up with his hands. Does this count as a pass-back to the keeper?

What part of the body can a player use to send the ball to his/her goalkeeper and have the keeper pick it up with his/her hands? Or maybe I should ask what part of the body can’t a player use to pass the ball to the keeper if the keeper intends to pick it up?

USSF answer (November 12, 2010):
The Law is pretty clear. See the back of the Law book 2010/2011, Interpretations, Cautions for unsporting behavior:

• uses a deliberate trick while the ball is in play to pass the ball to his own goalkeeper with his head, chest, knee, etc. in order to circumvent the Law, irrespective of whether the goalkeeper touches the ball with his hands or not. The offense is committed by the player in attempting to circumvent both the letter and the spirit of law 12 and play is restarted with an indirect free kick

Even with that information, we would be remiss if we did not point out that, subject to the terms of Law 12, a player MAY pass the ball to his (or her) own goalkeeper using his head or chest or knee, etc., if he does NOT use trickery. Furthermore, just to lock it down tightly, for the misconduct offense to be called the referee must decide that the action was done to circumvent the Law.  Merely observing that the ball was played from foot to head is not enough, even if the ball subsequently goes to or toward the GK.  Because we are dealing with misconduct here (the “trickery”) and not the foul commonly referred to as “pass back to the ‘keeper,” we are required to evaluate the intentions of the defender.

In such circumstances, it is irrelevant whether the goalkeeper subsequently touches the ball with his hands or not. The offense is committed by the player in attempting to circumvent both the letter and the spirit of Law 12.

Question:
This question arose this weekend during a regional game event.

Team A defender #1 receives the ball, he then plays the ball in the air (operative word here) to Team A defender #2, who then decides to head it back to his keeper. Thus circumventing the pass-back to the keeper. First of all, does this constitute a pass-back to the keeper?

And then does this fall into the ‘trickery’ clause as defined in Law 12, and you caution defender #1 for initiating the trickery? Or do you caution defender #2 for knowingly deceiving the other team.

I have gone through a series of links online to which it’s only addressed a single player flicking it up to his own head, and the other talking about a throw in to a teammate’s head who consequently heads it back to the keeper.

USSF answer (October 19, 2010):
When calling “trickery” on passes to the goalkeeper we look for contrived and unusual plays. Heading the ball to the goalkeeper is part of the game; we see it every weekend at all levels of play. This play appears to have been entirely normal and involved two players who were simply trying to keep the ball away from their opponents. That is not trickery.

TRICKERY? YES!

October 15, 2010

Question:
We were playing a high school soccer match in Illinois and a player on my team flicked the ball up to his head and headed it back to the goalie so he could pick it up and would not be in violation of the pass back to the goalie rule. The ref did not know the rule but the linesman did and called it trickery and gave the player that passed the goalie the ball a yellow card.

I was wondering what the real rule would be.

USSF answer (October 15, 2010):
The assistant referee was correct; the practice of flicking the ball to one’s head and then heading the ball to the goalkeeper is trickery, punished with a caution of the heading player for unsporting behavior and an indirect free kick for the opposing team from the place where the misconduct occurred. Here is an article on the matter that appeared in the USSF referee magazine Fair Play five years ago. It should answer your question.

Trickery
FIFA has demanded that referees deal quickly and firmly with timewasting tactics. One of the least understood forms of time wasting is trickery in passing the ball to the goalkeeper. This article describes trickery and how the referee can combat it.

Law 12 was rewritten in 1997 to reduce the number of options available to players for wasting time. Playing the ball to one’s goalkeeper was traditionally used as a way of “consuming” time. By the time the Law was rewritten, the practice had become synonymous with time wasting.

Normal interplay of the ball among teammates is not a matter of concern to any referee; however, the referee must be concerned with obvious deliberate attempts to circumvent the requirements of the Law. Players may pass the ball to their goalkeeper in any legal way and not infringe on the requirements of Law 12. It is when a player uses trickery that the referee must act. Trickery is any contrived scheme or unnatural way of playing the ball in an attempt to circumvent the requirements of Law 12 when passing the ball to the goalkeeper. Examples of trickery include a player who deliberately flicks the ball with the foot up to the head, so as to head the ball to the goalkeeper, or a player who kneels down and deliberately pushes the ball to the goalkeeper with the knee or head.

If the ball was already in play, an indirect free kick from the spot where the initiator touched—not merely “kicked”—the ball is appropriate. If the ball was out of play, the restart for a violation depends upon how the circumvention began. If the action began from a free kick or goal kick that was properly taken, the restart will again be an indirect free kick from the spot where the initiator of the trickery played it, no matter where the kick was taken or when it occurred in the sequence of play. If the goal kick or free kick was not properly taken, then the restart must be that goal kick or free kick. This could lead to a situation where the offending team has a player cautioned (or sent off for a second cautionable offense), but still retains the ball on the restart.

If more than one player was involved in the trickery, the question as to which defender to punish can be answered only by the referee. The referee must be sure that the sequence of play was meant to circumvent the Law and to prevent opponents from having a fair chance to compete for the ball rather than have it unfairly handled by the goalkeeper. If, in the referee’s opinion, there was trickery, then it is the teammate who played the ball immediately prior to it going to the goalkeeper who would be cautioned.

The punishment for trickery is a caution for unsporting behavior, with the restart to be taken at the place where the trickery was initiated, not where the goalkeeper handled the ball. The referee does not have to wait until the ‘keeper handles the ball to make the call. The referee must only be convinced that trickery was the player’s motive for the act.

However, this is a high school match and the action becomes cautionable to the defender playing the ball to his goalkeeper only if the goalkeeper actually handles the ball. Rule 12-7-4 (Note). The Laws of the Game do not care if the keeper handles the ball or not, it is misconduct by the defender either way.

ANNOUNCEMENT:
We get so many queries on this topic that I am putting up this stock answer on the deliberate kick by a player to his goalkeeper. Several of the items have been abridged to make the entire item more readable. I hope it is helpful.

1. The first item displayed is the information found on US Soccer website at the URL below. There is other useful information at that URL as well.

The answer to this and many other questions can be found in the USSF’s FAQ for new referees:
ttp://www.ussoccer.com/referees/refdev/faq.jsp.html

The answer to your question is in these Q&As:

Q. If a player deliberately kicks the ball to his goalie, who is outside the penalty area, may the goalie dribble the ball back into the penalty area and pick it up with his hands?

A. No, because the goalkeeper may not use the hands to play a ball last deliberately kicked to him or her by a teammate.

Q. Is there any exception to this?

A. Yes, if the ball bounces off an opponent o the way to the ‘keeper, the ‘keeper may dribble it into the penalty area and pick it up.

Q. How about if the ball is kicked to the ‘keeper by a member of the other team?

A. Then it is fine for the goalkeeper to pick it up, but only inside the penalty area.

2. This second item is a recent answer to the question. It should answer everyone’s need.
USSF answer (June 16, 2008):
//deleted//
It is not an infringement of the Law to kick the ball to the goalkeeper, as the goalkeeper has the right to play the ball with the feet at any legal opportunity. The Law spells out perfectly clearly when the offense takes place: When the goalkeeper “touches the ball with his hands,” etc. The restart takes place at that place, bearing in mind the special circumstances regarding free kicks in the goal area.

3. The third item pertains to the ball thown in to the goalkeeper by a teammate.
USSF answer (April 14, 2008):
First, the situation involving a throw-in directly to a goalkeeper by a teammate of the goalkeeper is not an example of the so-called “pass back” to the goalkeeper, it is an entirely separate indirect free kick foul which is listed in Law 12.  The only things they have in common is that the action starts with a teammate, followed by the ball going directly to the hands of the goalkeeper, and that it is one of several indirect free kick violations by a goalkeeper designed by the Laws of the Game to discourage instances when, because the ball is being held by the goalkeeper, opponents cannot legally challenge for control.
//rest deleted//

3. The third item combines items on “trickery” as part of an effort to avoid being caught in kicking or throwing the ball to one’s own goalkeeper. It also addresses those instances when coaches become actively involved in helping their team deceive the opponents — that is irresponsible behavior, for which the coach or other team official should be expelled.

USSF answer (October 15, 2008):
There are no longer any International F. A. Board decisions appended to Law 12. They were in the 2007/2008 edition of the Laws. Decision 3 of 2007/2008 reads:

Decision 3
Subject to the terms of Law 12, a player may pass the ball to his own goalkeeper using his head or chest or knee, etc. If, however, in the opinion of the referee, a player uses a deliberate trick while the ball is in play in order to circumvent the Law, the player is guilty of unsporting behavior. He is cautioned, shown the yellow card and an indirect free kick is awarded to the opposing team from the place where the infringement occurred. * (see page 3)
A player using a deliberate trick to circumvent the Law while he is taking a free kick is cautioned for unsporting behavior and shown the yellow card. The free kick is retaken.
In such circumstances, it is irrelevant whether the goalkeeper subsequently touches the ball with his hands or not. The offense is committed by the player in attempting to circumvent both the letter and the spirit of Law 12.

That text is now found in the back of the Laws for 2008/2009, under Interpretations and Guidelines for Referees in reference to cautionable offenses:

* uses a deliberate trick while the ball is in play to pass the ball to his own goalkeeper with his head, chest, knee, etc. in order to circumvent the Law, irrespective of whether the goalkeeper touches the ball with his hands or not. The offense is committed by the player in attempting to circumvent both the letter and the spirit of law 12 and play is restarted with an indirect free kick
* uses a deliberate trick to pass the ball to his own goalkeeper to circumvent the Law while he is taking a free kick (after the player is cautioned, the free kick must be retaken)

It is clear from the text and from accepted use throughout the world — well maybe not in the United States, where “those foreigners” are not allowed to tell us anything — that the IFAB’s meaning is that trickery occurs only when a player is passing the ball to his/her own goalkeeper. It does not occur when the ball is passed to some other player.

Furthermore, just to lock it down tightly, the misconduct offense requires the referee to decide that the action was done to circumvent the Law.  Merely observing that the ball was played from foot to head is not enough, even if the ball subsequently goes to or toward the GK.  Because we are dealing with misconduct here (the “trickery”) and not the foul commonly referred to as “pass back to the keeper,” we are required to evaluate the intentions of the defender.

USSF answer (October 21 2008):
Your use of the term “trickery” is incorrect. “Trickery” is a “term of art” which has a specific meaning related to attempts to circumvent the restriction on ‘keeper handling following a teammate’s deliberate play of the ball with the foot or a throw-in by a teammate.  Nothing else can be described as trickery. Whatever else a player might do to obfuscate, disorient, or fool opponents has to be analyzed apart from the issue of trickery.

The players on the kicking team are allowed to deceive, fool, or disorient their opponents, but that does not include the kicking team’s coach. If it is clear to the referee that the coach’s words were intended to help his team deceive the opposing team, then that could be considered to be irresponsible behavior.

While the league’s rules may allow carding of coaches, we need to remember that the Laws of the Game do not. By accepting a game in a competition whose rules mandate unauthorized actions, the referee also assumes the responsibility for enforcing those mandates.

Under the Laws of the Game team officials may only be expelled, not sent off and shown a card, for irresponsible behavior. If the rules of the competition allow a caution or a send-off for irresponsible behavior, they should also outline what constitutes each offense, so that the referee is able to do the job correctly.

What we can say is that coaches are allowed to give positive input to their players. Coaches ARE NOT ALLOWED to participate in any trickery or ruses. If they do so, that is irresponsible behavior, not unsporting behavior, and coaches or other team officials MUST be expelled for irresponsible behavior.

TRICKERY

October 15, 2008

Question:
Under Law 12, Decision 3 deals with ‘Trickery’. Within this there seems to be a position among some referees that ‘Trickery’ – bringing the ball from your feet to your head – is a stand alone violation and should be called anytime it is observed, however this happens frequently during play all over the pitch.

At issue is that frequently players under the pressure of an opponent bring the ball from their feet to their head and play it over the opponent to a team mate or their keeper who strikes the ball with their foot, clearing the ball upfield, out and away from pressure.

Some referees say this was accomplished using ‘Trickery’ and a violation should be called with a yellow card given and an IFK as a restart.

What is the correct application of ‘Trickery’ in this instance?

USSF answer (October 15, 2008):
There are no longer any International F. A. Board decisions appended to Law 12. They were in the 2007/2008 edition of the Laws. Decision 3 of 2007/2008 reads:

Decision 3
Subject to the terms of Law 12, a player may pass the ball to his own goalkeeper using his head or chest or knee, etc. If, however, in the opinion of the referee, a player uses a deliberate trick while the ball is in play in order to circumvent the Law, the player is guilty of unsporting behavior. He is cautioned, shown the yellow card and an indirect free kick is awarded to the opposing team from the place where the infringement occurred. * (see page 3)
A player using a deliberate trick to circumvent the Law while he is taking a free kick is cautioned for unsporting behavior and shown the yellow card. The free kick is retaken.
In such circumstances, it is irrelevant whether the goalkeeper subsequently touches the ball with his hands or not. The offense is committed by the player in attempting to circumvent both the letter and the spirit of Law 12.

That text is now found in the back of the Laws for 2008/2009, under Interpretations and Guidelines for Referees in reference to cautionable offenses:

* uses a deliberate trick while the ball is in play to pass the ball to his own goalkeeper with his head, chest, knee, etc. in order to circumvent the Law, irrespective of whether the goalkeeper touches the ball with his hands or not. The offense is committed by the player in attempting to circumvent both the letter and the spirit of law 12 and play is restarted with an indirect free kick
* uses a deliberate trick to pass the ball to his own goalkeeper to circumvent the Law while he is taking a free kick (after the player is cautioned, the free kick must be retaken)

It is clear from the text and from accepted use throughout the world — well maybe not in the United States, where “those foreigners” are not allowed to tell us anything — that the IFAB’s meaning is that trickery occurs only when a player is passing the ball to his/her own goalkeeper. It does not occur when the ball is passed to some other player.

Furthermore, just to lock it down tightly, the misconduct offense requires the referee to decide that the action was done to circumvent the Law.  Merely observing that the ball was played from foot to head is not enough, even if the ball subsequently goes to or toward the GK.  Because we are dealing with misconduct here (the “trickery”) and not the foul commonly referred to as “pass back to the keeper,” we are required to evaluate the intentions of the defender.

“PASS BACK”?

April 14, 2008

Question:
I recently stopped play to issue a caution for unsporting behavior, the ball was in the possession of the goal keeper at the time of the foul. While I used to simply do a “drop ball” to the keeper to restart play, allowing him/her to pick it up (it only seemed fair…), I realize that the correct restart is an indirect free kick. I instructed the keeper that he needed to put the ball down and restart with an indirect free kick, a teammate of the keeper decided that since his keeper had the ball and was going to punt it until I had stopped play, he would have the keeper ‘flick’ the ball to him as a restart and he would simply head it back to the keeper. I explained that would be a violation of the ‘pass back’ rule – using trickery to circumvent the law – and he would not be permitted to do that. After reading the laws a little closer, I’m not sure I was correct…

Can a keeper ‘flick’ the ball to a teammate on a restart, have the teammate head the ball back to the keeper, then the keeper can catch it and punt it away??

USSF answer (April 14, 2008):
We will not go into your former way of restarting play, other than to say that it is certainly not correct now.

If play was stopped for a caution, then
(1) there was no foul;
(2) it doesn’t matter whether the ball was just laying there, being played by someone, or being held by the goalkeeper;
(3) giving the restart to the goalkeeper was (a) valid only if it was an opponent who committed the misconduct and (b) beyond the referee’s authority since the indirect free kick restart can be conducted by anyone on the GK’s team (assuming the offense was by an opponent).  The questioner’s scenario makes it appear that he believes the GK must perform the IFK (because he was holding the ball at the time?).

Explaining about pass backs and trickery etc. is also beyond the referee’s authority unless the players were very young (of course, the referee could respond to a brief, direct question about the Law if asked by a player).

Finally, if the restart is any sort of kick by the goalkeeper (DFK, IFK, GK, or CK — we exclude penalty kicks solely for practical reasons), “flicking” the ball to a teammate who then heads it back to the ‘keeper cannot be considered trickery since there would be no possibility of a so-called “pass back” offense occurring anyway.  The trickery rule has to be based on the restart of kicking the ball deliberately to the goalkeeper. If there is no possibility of the offense by the goalkeeper handling the ball after it has been kicked deliberately kicked by a teammate, then there is also no possibility of the misconduct.

TRICKERY?

April 14, 2008

Question:
I am returning back to refereeing after a 16-year absence. I am currently taking the Grade 8 course, and at our last meeting we were discussing Law 12 regarding infractions requiring a re-start with an IFK. You have to remember that 16 years ago, a ball played back to the keeper in the penalty area (who subsequently handled the ball) was not an infraction. Therefore, I was paying particular attention during this segment of the class. We discussed a throw-in to the keeper who handles the ball “directly” from a teammate would be considered a violation, and restarted with an IFK.

The instructor then gave the following scenario:

A throw-in is taken, and “flicked” by a teammate to the Keeper who subsequently handles the ball inside his penalty area.

What is the violation, if any, asked the Instructor.

My response was, No violation. My belief was that since it did not involve a “deliberate kick” to the Keeper that no violation had occurred.

The Instructor’s interpretation was that this was an effort to circumvent the law, and would therefore constitute trickery. IFK to the other team.

I continued to disagree, and was referredd to “Advice to Referees”. 12.21 of the ATR specifically states that “Referees should take care not to consider as “trickery” any sequence of play that offers a fair chance for opponents to challenge for the ball before it is handled by the goalkeeper from a throw-in”.

Could you please give me some direction, because I plan on revisiting this subject at our meeting tonight.

USSF answer (April 14, 2008):
First, the situation involving a throw-in directly to a goalkeeper by a teammate of the goalkeeper is not an example of the so-called “pass back” to the goalkeeper, it is an entirely separate indirect free kick foul which is listed in Law 12.  The only things they have in common is that the action starts with a teammate, followed by the ball going directly to the hands of the goalkeeper, and that it is one of several indirect free kick violations by a goalkeeper designed by the Laws of the Game to discourage instances when, because the ball is being held by the goalkeeper, opponents cannot legally challenge for control.

Second, the “trickery” issue is misconduct, not a foul, and is therefore governed by a different set of requirements (in fact, the misconduct itself is being committed by the teammate, not the goalkeeper, and the goalkeeper does not even need to touch the ball in order for the misconduct to be committed).

Third, as a foul, the “pass back” or the “throw back” offenses are rare; as misconduct, “trickery” is even more uncommon.  Whereas the foul only requires the referee to see where the ball came from (kick from a teammate, throw-in by a teammate), the trickery offense requires evaluating what is going on around the play in question and why (in the opinion of the referee) the play was performed this way.

The ATR which you cited makes it clear that “trickery” should not be considered if the opponents had a fair chance to challenge for the ball.  If the referee decides they did not and that is why this sequence was performed, then “trickery” should be considered.