February 22, 2013
In futsal on a goal clearance the ball has to leave the penalty area in order for it to be in play. So if a goalkeeper saves the ball, establishing possession and trips over his own feet and the ball goes into net crossing the goal line, what is the correct restart?
Answer (February 22, 2013):
You are confusing two totally different parts of the Futsal Laws.
The fact that on a goal clearance (same as goal kick in outdoor) the ball is supposed to leave the penalty area before it is in play has nothing to do with a dynamic play play situation where a clumsy goalkeeper does an “opps” and scores on himself.
The answer to your question is a kick-off.
February 10, 2013
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.
January 22, 2013
This question opened an intense debate on a referee discussion forum (http://www.bigsoccer.com/community/threads/where-did-this-cool-site-come-from-and-why-did-noone-tell-me.1981356/):
“A shot taken on goal is blocked by a defending player inside his own team’s penalty area. The defending player then starts to dribble the ball while having full control of it. Before the defender dribbled the ball out of the penalty area, the goalkeeper picked up the ball dribbled by the defender (his teammate). The Referee should stop the play and award an Indirect Free Kick to the opposing team.”
Some (including with reference to contact with high level referees) have argued that a dribbling player has not deliberately kicked the ball to the keeper within the meaning of ATR 12.20 (sepcifically Note (a)). Others have argued that Note (a) does not define deliberately kicked to the keeper, and that by the ATR definitions a dribbling player has kicked the ball (because the player has used the foot) and the kick is deliberate (because the player has control of the ball), such that the triangle and the violation are complete (though there could be possibility that the offense was trifling depending on other surrounding facts).
Would you care to share your interpretation?
Answer (January 22, 2013):
And the referees who cited info from the high-level referees are correct: there is no infringement of the Laws here.
Those who argue for saying the ball deliberately kicked is “not defined” are sophists (those who use a specious argument to deceive someone, in this case, themselves) and are full of hokum (a polite word for something apparently impressive or legitimate but actually nonsense). Pay no attention to those people behind the screen.
January 19, 2013
During corner kicks, some teams in our league (U14) place one or more players immediately in front of the goalkeeper to block his view of the play. In some situations, those same interfering players on offense deliberately crowd the keeper, making it difficult or impossible for him to make the play.
Is this legal?
Answer (January 19, 2013):
No, it is not legal, and the referees should be dealing with it. Shame on the for allowing it. The particular text covering this offense is in the back of the Laws of the Game, under Law (not “rule”) 12 in the large section on “Interpretation of the Laws of the Game and Guidelines for Referees”:
Holding an opponent
Holding an opponent includes the act of preventing him from moving past or around using the hands, the arms or the body.
Referees are reminded to make an early intervention and to deal firmly with holding offenses especially inside the penalty area at corner kicks and free kicks.
To deal with these situations:
• the referee must warn any player holding an opponent before the ball is in play
• caution the player if the holding continues before the ball is in play
• award a direct free kick or penalty kick and caution the player if it happens once the ball is in play
If a defender starts holding an attacker outside the penalty area and continues holding him inside the penalty area, the referee must award a penalty kick.
• A caution for unsporting behavior must be issued when a player holds an opponent to prevent him gaining possession of the ball or taking up an advantageous position
• A player must be sent off if he denies an obvious goalscoring opportunity by holding an opponent
• No further disciplinary action must be taken in other situations of holding an opponent
Restart of play
• Direct free kick from the position where the offense occurred (see Law 13 – Position of free kick) or a penalty kick if the offense occurred inside the penalty area
January 11, 2013
The limitation on scoring directly from a drop ball. Can you clarify the meaning of directly in this situation. Thanks.
My confusion arises because in other free kicks (corner, IFK, DFK, GK, PK) the kicker is not able to play the ball twice. e.g. they must kick it, and they cannot dribble the ball (e.g. kick or play it twice in a row without an intervention from another player).
However, in the drop ball, a player can in fact take possesion of the ball (usually by foot since the ball must touch the ground to in play), dribble some distance, and kick the ball, without the intervention of another player without comitting a violation of the laws.
Hence, I’m trying to understand what “directly” means in the new Law 8 (Start and Restart) text for drop balls. The new law says, “If the ball enters the goal: * if a dropped ball is kicked directly into the opponents’ goal, goal kick is awarded” (Similar for own goal with a corner kick.
Is “directly” in this case ONLY the first touch or play of the ball, or is directly meant to include all initial play by a player, until the ball has been touched or play by any other player?
Thanks for clarifying the situation for me. I am a referee and a coach. Recently, as a coach, this situation nearly happened to one of my players. In her case she missed the shot wide, so the ball did not enter the goal. However, had she made the shot (off a pull back move at the drop, two quick dribbes to open space in the penalty area, and a shot with no touch from any other player), I realized that I was unsure if the goal would have counted or not had she made the shot.
As a referee, and realized I should come to understand the correct call in this case should I come to see it again. This is a new law change, and I haven’t seen any guidance in this situation.
Answer (January 8, 2013):
This year’s Law 8 on the dropped ball:
If the ball enters the goal:
• if a dropped ball is kicked directly into the opponents’ goal, a goal kick is awarded
• if a dropped ball is kicked directly into the team’s own goal, a corner kick is awarded to the opposing team
Yes, it is indeed a change in the Law, likely not noted by many people. It is an unusual change and is probably more confusing to referees, coaches, and players than necessary. Thank you for asking, and we are pleased to present the reason, straight from the International Football Association Board, as published for the IFAB by FIFA. And yes, it applies only to the first touch after the ball is in play.
FIFA Circular 1302, 31 May 2012: Amendments to the Laws of the Game — 2012/2013:
There have been a number of occasions where goals have been scored from “uncontested” dropped balls. This has put a great deal of pressure on the referee as he has to allow the goal to stand. We then have the unseemly situation where the opposition allows the team to score from the kick-off without any players trying to stop them in order to rebalance the game.
Just for the clarification of others, the dropped ball is NOT a free kick.
December 29, 2012
In the recent Boxing Day match between Newcastle United and Manchester United, a controversial goal was awarded in the 28th minute.
[The questioner included a load of detail of items from Law 11, the Interpretation of the Laws of the Game and Guidelines for Referees, and the USSF publication “Advice to Referees on the Laws of the Game.”
The bottom line is that the ATRs *appear* to offer guidance that is either not backed up by IFAB or FIFA guidance, or the rest of the world is unaware of said guidance.
Any clarification you can provide would be helpful.
Answer (December 28, 2012):
This is a very close call. From the available evidence (two photos and a video clip), it is impossible to decide one way or another. In such cases, we cannot do any better than to rely on the long-time guidance from the IFAB, FIFA, and the U. S. Soccer Federation: The referee must be completely sure that an offense has occurred before calling it. If the referee does not recognize a possible infringement as such and call it (either by whistling for the offense or invoking the advantage clause or making no call at all on a trifling offense), then that offense has not occurred.
We are very concerned, however, with the comment that the Advice to Referees (ATR) appears to offer guidance which is not backed by anything official. Obviously, we disagree. The original question, which I have omitted here, breaks down the decision into its appropriate parts and comes down exactly where it should have: the core question (given the givens) is whether there was interference with an opponent, and THAT is solely a matter of judgment for which the IFAB’s own guidance is quite sufficient — blocking the path, blocking the vision, or acting to distract or deceive. The ATR does not say anything contrary to this. The citation from the ATR is merely a good, concrete example of what exactly is meant by “acting to distract or deceive”: If the actions of the attacker in an offside position “draw” or cause a defender to move in a way he would not likely have moved in the absence of the offside position attacker, that is interfering with an opponent. So it all comes down to the basic issue of determining whether any of the three elements of interfering with an opponent applied. Our opinion is that it is arguable either way. We see the possibility of the goalkeeper’s line of vision being blocked or at least hindered (given where the attacker was). We also see the possibility that the attacker in the offside position blocked a possible movement path by the defender. And there is also the possibility – though we have no information on what was happening in the second or two prior to the first still picture — that the attacker may have drawn the defender to be where he was at the moment the ball deflected off the defender’s knee. However, because these are all only possibilities, that does not negate the guidance from on high that the referee must be absolutely certain of the offense – any offense, not simply offside – before calling it.
December 21, 2012
Many referees, particularly those newly-minted and inexperienced, run into situations in which they are not certain about what to do and where the line should be drawn in dealing with team officials:
* When is it appropriate to ask the coach to leave the field?
* When is enough enough?
* How much abuse must I and my assistant referees (and the players) take?
According to Law 5, the referee “takes action against team officials who fail to conduct themselves in a responsible manner and may, at his discretion, expel them from the field of play and its immediate surrounds.” By no stretch of the imagination do most, and certainly not many, coaches or other team officials behave irresponsibly. However there are enough of them that referees need to have a plan of action. This article is designed to help referees at all levels do that.
Here are some examples of irresponsible behavior, directed by coaches or other team officials at referees, assistant referees, fourth officials, players of the opposing or their own team, and opposing coaches:
1. Screaming at or verbally or physically abusing the officials or any players or other participants for any reason.
* a youth coach “who begins to scream at his players when the game begins and does not stop until long after the game is over. With every touch of the ball by his team he gives (screams) instructions to the players off the ball as well as the player with the ball. With every touch of the ball by the other team he is giving (screaming) specific instructions to each player on his team as fast as he can get them out of his mouth. Much of what he says is negative and all mistakes are pointed out and players are taken to task. He is a physically intimidating person who loves to argue about anything and most area referees just stay as far away from him as they can.”
* ordering a player who has made a mistake to “drop and give me ten” (pushups) right there on the field.
* Speaking insulting words or making offensive gestures * making unwanted contact with opponents
2. Interfering with the game in any way, such as:
* yelling out instructions to do something illegal or giving deceptive instructions.
* when coaches become actively involved in helping their team deceive the opponents, such as saying that player “x” should do this or that and clearly intending something else to occur (as discovered after the restart).
* clearly instructing the players to line up within the required distance and “have the referee move you.”
* instructing his/her team, both on the field and on the bench, to jump up and down, waving their arms, and scream at the top of their lungs.
* giving tactical instructions to other players when invited to enter the field to see to the injury of a player.
* presuming to give the officials instructions on how to make or signal their calls.
* insisting that an opposing player be cautioned or sent off.
* throwing objects in protest
* kicking chairs
* striking advertising boards
* persistently and flagrantly protesting decisions by an official * interfering with the performance of assistant referee or fourth official duties * refusing to return to the technical area * entering the field of play without the permission of the referee * failing to deal with team spectators who loudly and persistently harass or insult the referee team
There is a widespread trend within the nation and the soccer community toward eliminating abuse of young people by any adults. The referee is certainly empowered to ensure responsible behavior by the team official in that regard. The method chosen would be up to the individual referee. The first action to consider is a quiet word with the coach or other team official to let him or her know that the behavior will not be allowed to continue.
WHAT CAN THE COACH OR OTHER TEAM OFFICIALS DO?
Under the Law, only one person at a time is authorized to convey tactical instructions from the technical area — in most soccer games this term includes the team area, where they have their bags and chairs. The coach and other officials must remain within its confines except in special circumstances, for example, a physiotherapist or doctor entering the field of play, with the referee’s permission, to assess an injured player. The coach and other occupants of the technical area must behave in a responsible manner. Team officials are also encouraged to promote sporting behavior by their players and supporters.
As a practical matter, particularly at the youth level, any POSITIVE coaching is allowed. Whether at the level of the least experienced players (and coaches) or at the highest levels, any case in which the coach behaves irresponsibly will result in the coach being dismissed. (Two examples from among many: ranting at the referee, overt participation in deception of the opposing team.)
Beyond the reasonable expectation that the referee will call a good game, the coach has no “right” to anything in the game of soccer, other than the right to conduct him-/herself responsibly during the game — from within the technical or bench area — while offering advice to his/her team’s players.
A referee who allows coaches or other team officials to parade around the field or shout abuse at players in the guise of instruction, in contravention of the requirements in Law 5 that coaches behave responsibly and that referees not permit anyone other than players to enter the field, should be ashamed.
A coach may do nothing during the match about any decision of the referee.
If it seems necessary, the coach may submit a report to the appropriate authorities after the match. To do anything else during the match would likely be considered irresponsible behavior, for which offense the coach would be dismissed by the referee.
WHAT CAN THE REFEREE DO?
First and foremost, live up to the reasonable expectations of the coaches, team officials, and players that you will call a good game. Do not invent your own rules.
Coaches and other team officials are expected to behave responsibly. (See Law 5, The Technical Area, and Interpretation of the Laws of the Game and Guidelines for Referees, the only three places in the Laws where team officials are mentioned.) The intelligent referee will generally disregard coaching comments, unless they become openly disrespectful of the game and of the refereeing crew. The referee’s first line of defense (unless the behavior is REALLY egregious) is to warn the coach who is behaving irresponsibly. This is the equivalent of a caution, but no card is shown. Then, when the behavior persists (as it usually does, because most coaches who behave this way fail to understand that they must change their errant ways), the coach is expelled from the field for failing to behave in a responsible manner. Please note that under the Laws of the Game, no card may be shown; however, showing the card may be a requirement of the rules of the competition. Let us emphasize: There is no requirement for a warning or a quiet word; that is at the discretion of the referee.
Unless the matter is particularly grave, the referee would usually wait until the next stoppage. However, if the situation is indeed grave — as any case of abuse would be — then stopping the game and drawing attention to the matter is an excellent tool in and of itself. Proactive steps such as the admonition of the coach will usually prevent players who become disgusted with their coach’s behavior from acting out and thus becoming subject to punishment themselves. It sends a clear message that the referee is serious about the matter. In such cases, the referee would stop play with the ball in the possession of the abusive coach’s team (if possible), advise the coach or other team official that this behavior is irresponsible and must stop if the coach or other team official wishes to remain in the vicinity of the field. If this warning is not effective, then another stoppage and the expulsion of the coach must follow. No cards, please, unless the rules of the competition require them. Also, do not engage in extended discussions when doing this in any circumstances: State the message in a calm and firm manner and leave.
In all events you should prepare a supplemental game report or letter to the league on the matter. You might also suggest in the report or letter that they send someone to monitor a couple of games. The letter could be written in such a way that says perhaps the coach was having a bad day, but it should suggest that it might be beneficial to the children involved if someone from the league dropped in for a game or two just to make sure.
December 7, 2012
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):
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.
November 28, 2012
Question: Sounds stupid but…
Me and my friends were having a debate in the pub about the offside rule. I was a neutral in this debate but would be interested to know what an official referee would do:
If a player is laying injured in an offside position while play is continuing, and a shot that was going in anyway is deflected off his leg or head unintentionally, is it offside? If the player wasn’t there and the shot was going in anyway, surely as the player had no intent the goal should stand?
Answer November 28, 2012):
But his presence DID have an effect on play — “deflected off his leg or head unintentionally” — means by definition that he interfered with play.
We need to remember that it is only a supposition that the shot was going to go in anyway. There is, unfortunately, no way of proving that, without the deflection, the keeper might or would have made the save. In all events, Law 11 does not require or even presume that the attacker in the offside position must INTENTIONALLY become involved in active play; he only needs to BE involved in active play. If he had been standing up in an offside position and a shot from a teammate had bounced off his back into the goal, wouldn’t this be offside position? Suppose the player on the ground were dead and the ball deflected off him into the goal — it’s still an offside violation (though, to be fair, we should probably have stopped play before all this due to the “serious injury”).
This was illustrated in the 2008-2009 Laws of the Game on p. 101, illustration 1 (last time it is shown, but the principle still applies): “An attacker in an offside position (A), not interfering with an opponent, touches the ball.” And the ruling on the same page says “The assistant referee must raise the flag when the player touches the ball.”
November 24, 2012
When defending a free kick, is there a law that forbids a team from erecting a human pyramid on their goal line, i.e. standing on each other’s shoulders to obstruct the goal mouth. If there is no specific law, would it come under ‘bringing the game into disrepute”?
Answer (November 24, 2012):
No, there is no “Law” on this, but there is an old International Board Decision from the International Football Association Board, the people who make and change the Laws. It declares that using a teammate’s shoulders to boost one’s height in order to make a play for the ball was misconduct. It was originally IBD #4 under Law 12 but became IBD #2 in 1995. So, yes, there is at least an interpretation of the Law that remains valid guidance for such situations. In addition, there is tradition, which holds that other than when they are jumping into the air to play the ball, players are expected to remain earthbound, not stacked high like cheerleaders, circus acrobats, synchronized swimmers, or cans of soda. They may kneel (although not when taking throw-ins) or jump into the air, but definitely may not build a pyramid. Doing so would constitute the cautionable act of unsporting behavior and bringing the game into disrepute.
November 15, 2012
this question is about youth Ull-19
i am a fast learning referee who has learned alot in his two years of reffing,but there is one thing that bothers me the most.
i always fail to recognize a foul so here are some questions and please be clear/detailed what do the laws of the game mean when they say (under direct free kick fouls): jumps at an opponent, charges an opponent and what does impeding the progress of an opponent mean? Are there any other fouls that might not be mentioned in the laws?
Answer (November 15, 2012):
Both the “jumping at:” and “charging” fouls are punished with a direct free kick if they are done carelessly, recklessly (also a caution/yellow card), or with the use of excessive force (also a sending-off/red card). Together with “charging” and “impeding the progress of an opponent,” they are not described at any length in the Laws of the Game by the International Football Association Board (the people who write the Laws) because, as with many other things in soccer, “everyone knows that.”
1. Jumps at
Here is an article I wrote in 2006 for “Referee” magazine.
What is “Jumping At an Opponent”?
By Jim Allen
It is a general principle underlying the Law that players are not permitted to “play” the opponent rather than the ball. That is enshrined in the concept of “jumping at an opponent.” “Jumping at” means precisely that: launching one’s body toward the opponent. It can be from a standing or “flying” position. It can be done in two ways: (1) to intimidate or (2) in a feigned (really meant to distract or intimidate the opponent) or genuine but unsuccessful attempt to gain the ball. It is most often seen under the pretext of heading the ball, but may also be seen when a player launches himself through the air, feet first, to “tackle” away the ball.
Example. A8 is running upfield with the ball. Defender B3 jumps at A8 to startle him, causing A8 to flinch and lose possession.
What to do? B3 has committed the foul of jumping at an opponent if he does it in a manner considered by the referee to be careless, reckless or using excessive force. If the foul was careless, the result would be a direct free kick (or penalty kick if committed within B’s penalty area) for team A. If the foul was reckless, the result would be a caution/yellow card to B3 for unsporting behavior and a direct free kick (or penalty kick) for team A. If the foul involved excessive force, the result would be a send-off/red card for B3 and a direct free kick (or penalty kick) for team A.
Normally contact is not required, as specified by the word “at” in the name of the foul. However, another form of “jumping at” an opponent is the two-footed tackle, which by definition has to be a jump — launching one’s body toward that of the opponent. If that two-footed tackle is for the ball, it is likely fair, but if the jumping player lands on the ball just as the opponent’s foot is kicking it, the referee should consider the tackle dangerous and punish it with an indirect free kick. If contact is made with the opponent, give a direct free kick. If it is reckless, caution it. If it is done with excessive force, send the player off.
Faking. Another form of “jumping at” is to make the foul appear to have been committed by the opponent when the player with the ball has actually committed it. That sort of foul is common in youth soccer, where some players jump into an opponent and, while doing so, turn their back. Since that essentially makes them an unguided missile, it highlights the danger of jumping at an opponent with the back turned. Direct free kick for the opponent’s team.
Where to punish? At the spot where the opponent was affected by the jump. If a player starts his jump outside the penalty area but completes it inside, the referee must give the direct free kick (or penalty kick, if applicable) inside the penalty area.
There are two things to remember about “jumping at” an opponent. First, contact is not required for the foul. The foul is in the intimidation or distraction of the opponent by the jump. Second, this is one of those fouls where the “rule of thumb” about “playing the player rather than the ball” is particularly apt as a shorthand way of viewing the offense — the foul is almost certain when the offending player is looking at the opponent rather than the ball.
“Jumping at” has nothing to do with the foul of charging. “Jumping at” implies carelessness on the part of the player, while charging can be done fairly. If a charge misses, it cannot be a foul at all, but the way in which it is committed could be considered to be unsporting behavior.
2.Charges an opponent
The act of charging an opponent can be performed without it being called as a foul. Although the fair charge is commonly defined as “shoulder to shoulder” and without the use of arms or elbows, this is not a requirement and, at certain age levels where heights may vary greatly, may not even be possible. Furthermore, under many circumstances, a charge may often result in the player against whom it is placed falling to the ground (a consequence, as before, of players differing in weight or strength). The Law does require that the charge be directed toward the area of the shoulder and not toward the center of the opponent’s back (the spinal area): in such a case, the referee should recognize that such a charge is at minimum reckless and potentially even violent.
3. Impeding the progress of an opponent
Impeding the progress of an opponent means that a player moves into the path of an opponent to block that opponent’s ability to play the ball, but does not play the ball himself. That is an indirect free kick foul. As to the foul of charging that you emphasized, this is exactly what I told you it was. It is not described in the Law because, as with many other things in soccer, “everyone knows that.”
October 29, 2012
I did a U-12 girls game today and had a tough call to make.
The keeper and the striker were both going for a 50/50 ball. As the keeper reached down to grab the ball, the striker kicked the ball into the net. The strikers follow through kicked the goalkeeper’s hand. The girl had to go to the hospital. I allowed the goal to score because the keeper didn’t have control of the ball. The coach came on to the field to help the keeper and then turn on me. He said that I needed to protect his players more. Did I make the right call by allowing the goal to score?
Answer (October 29, 2012):
In a word, yes! You did fine. The position of goalkeeper is the most dangerous on the field, as the goalkeeper is required to go up in the air and down to the ground in her effort to protect her goal and stop the ball. There is no rule that “protects the goalie” from contact initiated by other players — as long as that contact is not against the requirements for a fair charge and does not happen when the goalkeeper is attempting to release the ball for others to play — in other words, to punt or throw the ball out of the penalty area.
Let’s break this down into smaller parts to help make the entire problem understandable for referees, coaches, and players alike.
1. THE GOALKEEPER POSITION AND DANGER
Yes, safety is the referee’s first concern under the Laws. However, referees — and coaches and players — need to remember that the position of goalkeeper is inherently dangerous and the goalkeeper is allowed a bit more leeway than other players in placing him- or herself in danger and thus affecting how the opponents can act. Everything he or she does when attempting to clear a ball or take it away from an onrushing attacker is dangerous. Why? Because it is the ‘keeper’s job to stop the ball from going into the goal, no matter at what height above the ground it may travel. Unless the ‘keeper or the opponent did something that was careless or violent or reckless, and you indicated that they did not, then there was no foul, but simply bad luck. This is one of the lessons referees, players, and coaches need to learn.
Would we allow this for the opposing attackers? Not if it places the goalkeeper in danger that he cannot avoid. Is this inconsistent? Yes, but it is the way the game has always been played.
2. GOALKEEPER POSSESSION
The goalkeeper is considered to be in control (= possession) of the ball when the ball is held with both hands, held by trapping the ball between one hand and any surface (e. g., the ground, a goalpost, the goalkeeper’s body), or holding the ball in the outstretched open palm. And the “hand” in this case can consist of as few as one finger of the ‘keeper’s hand.
The Laws do not grant the referee (or, in this case, the coach) the power to extend the definition of goalkeeper possession, nor to legislate new meanings on the field of play.
3. PLAYERS’ RIGHTS AND FAIR CHALLENGES
The goalkeeper has no more rights than any other player, with the exceptions of protective equipment and not being challenged when attempting to release the ball into general play. When not in possession of the ball, the goalkeeper may be fairly challenged. And the fairness is determined by the referee, not the coach and not the player.
There is no rule that “protects the goalie” from contact initiated by other players — as long as that contact is not against the requirements for a fair charge and does not happen when the goalkeeper is attempting to release the ball for others to play — in other words, to punt or throw the ball out of the penalty area.
Any time a player (either a field player or a goalkeeper) raises his/her leg above knee level there is the likelihood that someone will be hurt. As age and skill levels go down, the referee must interpret both “possession” and “safe challenge” more conservatively. Something an adult player might be allowed to do is not always the same as something a youth player (U14 for example) would be allowed to do.