Below is the signal for a 4 second count violation. What is the correct mechanic to use when counting the actual four seconds time interval? Does the official hold the (right? or left?) arm
(a) straight up
(b) straight down or
(c) at a 45 degree angle and extend one finger for each second?

[picture not included]

USSF answer (December 10, 2008):
This answer is easy. The jury is still out.

At the recent Futsal World Cup, game officials were counting the 4 seconds all different ways. There is as yet no definite decision. When we know, you’ll know.…


This event occurs often especially in HS boys games due to the size of the GK, slick pitch and the Goal Area size.

Event description: GK in his/her own Goal Area, runs toward the attacker and initiates a slide tackle from inside the Goal Area. However, GK’s momentum carries his/her legs across the Goal Area Line and the resulting contact between the GK’s legs and the ball occurs outside the Goal Area. Endangering the safety of the opponent is not observed in the event described above.

Because contact with the ball occurs outside the Goal Area but the slide began inside the Goal Area, what “options” are suggested?

2008 Amendments to the Futsal Laws
Direct free kick
New Text
A direct free kick shall be awarded to the opposing team if a player commits any of the following seven infringements in a manner considered by the referees to be careless, reckless or using excessively forceful:
• kicking or attempting to kick an opponent;
• tripping or attempting to trip an opponent, either by sliding or by bending down in front of or behind an opponent;
• jumping at an opponent;
• charging an opponent,
• striking or attempting to strike an opponent;
• tackling an opponent;
• pushing an opponent.
A direct free kick shall also be awarded to the opposing team if a player commits any of the following four infringements.
• holding an opponent;
• spitting at an opponent;
• sliding in an attempt to play the ball while an opponent is playing it or is about to play it (sliding tackle), except for the goalkeeper in his/her own penalty area, provided he/she does not endanger the safety of an opponent;
• carrying, striking or throwing the ball with one’s hands or arms, except for the goalkeeper in his/her own penalty area.

USSF answer (December 10, 2008):
In Futsal, goalkeepers are allowed to slide as long as it’s for the ball, the slide is inside the penalty area, and their actions don’t endanger an opponent. Otherwise, a slide tackle for the ball by the goalkeeper outside the penalty area should be treated no differently than another player slide tackling for a ball. If, in the opinion of the referee, an opponent is within playing distance then it’s a direct free kick offense. From the way you describe this event, even though there was no contact made with the opponent, since the goalkeeper made initial contact with the ball outside the penalty area, this sounds like a direct free kick just outside the penalty area for a sliding tackle.…


In the opinion of the Referee?

Look up a definition of “throw.” Now consider the following which has been observed several times in the last few weeks Futsal games.

Keeper runs towards the edge of the Goal Area Line and begins what would normally be a distribution of the ball by “throwing” but then “fumbles” (loses his/her grip on the ball) and the ball ends up an inch or two outside the Goal Area Line. The GK, seeing an attacker running towards the ball, is uncertain what to do. Consequently, the GK decides to “kick” the ball in a desperate attempt to keep the attacker from making a play on the ball.

Was the Goal Clearance properly executed (based on the definition of “throw” and the action of the GK?)
If not, the GK would be entitled to a “redo” as the ball was not properly put into play under the definition of “throw.”
If the referee deems the act of the GK to be an attempt to properly execute a Goal Clearance by distribution of the ball by “throw” then by virtue of the “Second Touch” by the GK, the attacking team would be awarded an Indirect Free Kick restart.

In previous years, the issue of “kick” and the definition of “kick” has been brought up time and again. In your responses, you have articulated in Ask A Referee that “stepping on the ball” (for instance) is not considered “kicking” and therefore does not meet the requirements in the Law of a proper restart (Indirect Free Kick although we continue to see that act tried and in some cases, given acceptance by the official.) Given the great lengths taken to articulate what “kick” means, we now have a similar situation regarding what “throw” means.

In conclusion, if you were a Futsal official and witnessed the specific act by the GK described above, what would your decision be?

LAW 17 – THE GOAL CLEARANCE….……….………………………………………
A goal clearance is a method of restarting play.
A goal may not be scored directly from a goal clearance.
The goal clearance is awarded when:
· the whole of the ball, having last touched a player of the attacking team, passes over the goal line, either on the ground or in the air, and a goal is not scored in accordance with Law 11.
· the ball is thrown from any point within the penalty area by the goalkeeper of the defending team.
· opponents remain outside the penalty area until the ball is in play.
· the goalkeeper does not play the ball a second time until it has touched another player or crossed the halfway line.
· the ball is in play when it is thrown directly beyond the penalty area.
If the ball is not thrown directly beyond the penalty area:
· the goal clearance is retaken.
If, after the ball is in play, the goalkeeper touches the ball a second time before it has touched an opponent or crossed the halfway line:

USSF answer (December 8, 2008):
In the dynamic play situation you describe, irrespective of the intent of the goalkeeper, when the ball leaves his or her possess by hand AND leaves the penalty area it is then in play. Should the goalkeeper again play the ball with his or her foot before it touches an opposing player or crosses the halfway line, the referee should award an indirect free kick to the opposing team from the place where the goalkeeper plays the ball a second time.

In specific response to your questions:
1. Yes the goal clearance was properly executed BECAUSE the ball left the penalty area. (There is no goal area in Futsal.)

2. Here are some other possibilities in your scenario;
a. If the ball had not left the penalty area yet, then the ‘keeper could have picked it up again and then thrown it into play PROVIDED he or she had not yet violated the 4-second distribution requirement. Please remember that proper distribution requires both the ball being released by the ‘keeper AND it leaving the penalty area directly. Rather than stop play and retake the goal clearance, the spirit of the law is that the goalkeeper distribute it directly into play. Provided he or she does so without violating the 4 seconds, there is no problem if s/he bobbles it or bounces it or whatever, as long as s/he gets it back into play.
b. Had the goalkeeper touched the ball with the hands after it had left the penalty area, then it should be a direct free kick to the opposing team because the ‘keeper handled the ball outside the penalty area.…


Could you tell me is there any time in the game when a goal keeper can come out of the penalty area and pull the ball back into the box with there foot and then pick the ball up with there hands and be legal? For indoor or outdoor.

USSF answer (March 25, 2008):
This is permitted unless the ball was last (1) kicked deliberately by a teammate or (2) delivered by a teammate’s throw-in.

Rule 12.11 (b)
(a) Illegal Procedure – Handling: A goalkeeper who receives the ball outside of the penalty area shall not handle the ball inside the penalty area.…