Defender under pressure kicks the ball back to the keeper, it is a crappy rainy day, the keeper misplays the ball trying to kick it away but it bounces up an into the air only a short distance away where it bounces and as attackers and other defenders are now close at hand the keeper chooses to grab this ball with the hands.

Is this an INDFK offence?

Can it be ignored as the keeper tried to do the right thing the first time but failed?

Should it be ignored if a pursuing opponent was there to challenge but prevented because the keeper WAS able to use the hands?

Is the ONLY reason to make this call if time wasting was the reason?

Does the intention of the passer or the intention of the keeper matter?

USSF answer (November 16, 2009):
There is no issue here at all if the scenario is to be given its face value meaning. A teammate kicks the ball back to his goalkeeper — no violation.

The goalkeeper kicks the ball (badly, but that doesn’t matter) — no violation. The goalkeeper subsequently handles the ball — since this occurred directly (no intervening play of the ball by anyone ELSE) — violation.

In short, there is no issue that a violation has occurred. The only question is whether it was trifling or should be whistled. This HAS to be decided by the referee based on the circumstances of play, taking risks, maintaining flow, etc. The only fact bearing on the matter is that the goalkeeper DID illegally take hand control of the ball under pressure from the opponents. In other words, he illegally withheld the ball from challenge, which is what this infringement is all about. Accordingly, although the decision must be up to the referee, the scenario tends to favor whistling this indirect free kick foul.

Referees often make the mistake of treating this as an issue involving time-wasting when, in fact, the central issue is unfairly withholding the ball from challenge.

And, no, the “intention” of the passer is not relevant to this decision because that was resolved when the action was determined to be a violation.

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