A defending player (red) kicks the ball away from the goal line past the goalkeeper (red) who has his back to the kicker and could not have seen how the ball was propelled past him. Goalkeeper sees the ball as it travels within 2-3 feet of him and, in the penalty area, picks it up with his hands. Same scenario but the ball initially goes no less than than 7-8 feet from the goalkeeper yet the goalkeeper chases the ball and in the penalty area picks it up with his hands.In either case should the referee stop play and award an indirect free kick to white? Is the determination of an infraction founded in the referee’s opinion of whether or not the kicker was deliberately kicking the ball to the goalkeeper or that the kicker deliberately kicked the ball and it happened to go close enough for the goalkeeper to handle it?
USSF answer (February 12, 2007):
As stated in the USSF publication “Advice to Referees on the Laws of the Game,” the decision to punish this possible infringement of the Laws is always in the opinion of the referee.