Where Does the Fault Fall?

Max, a U13 – U19 player, asks:

If someone has tripped on the field, is it legal to jump over them in order to get the ball on the other side?

Answer

A qualified yes.  “Qualified” because the actual, on the field, answer depends on several specific measurements that have to be made in a fraction of a second (and the assumption that the jumper and the faller are opponents).

First, how “down on the ground” is the player who tripped?  Is he flat on the ground or just down on the elbows and knees, or higher.  Second, at the moment of deciding to jump over the downed player, does it look like it just happened or it was a hard fall such that the player is “down for the count” (i.e., not likely to get up until after the leap over him)?  Obviously the more “down on the ground” the player is AND the less likely it is that the downed player is likely to start getting up, the more reasonable it is for the player going for the ball to try a jump over.

However, jumping over a player on the ground (unless the fall to the ground happened immediately right in front of the not-down player), is a risky decision and the burden of proof is on the jumper, not the faller.  In other words, if the jumper either takes no heed of the player on or going to the ground or even if the jumper makes an erroneously-decided jump, causing contact with the player on the ground, particularly if it results in an injury, it must be judged as the jumper’s fault.  Depending on the circumstances, contact with the downed player would probably result in a decision that the action was a careless (no card) or reckless (caution) foul.

Of course, probably on the rare side, the foul could be charged against the player who fell IF the referee, given all the facts and circumstances, decided that the leap over was reasonable but the downed player “retaliated” against the leaper by deliberately and knowingly attempting to get up for the sole purpose of bringing the leaper down (and preventing him from getting to the ball).  Given the assumption that such a decision by the fallen player was deliberate, the foul (tripping or attempting to kick) would be charged against the faller with a potential caution (recklessness).

An event like this could be evaluated in several different ways depending on how the referee assesses  the actions of the two players involved.…

Handling versus Spectator Interference

Kannan, an adult pro referee, asks:

A player handles the throw-in from his teammate and at the same time a spectator also blows the whistle from the stadium. How will play be restarted?

Answer

It really depends on your judgment and the critical question is whether the spectator whistled measurably prior to or after the ball handling.  By the way, we should add that, under the Laws of the Game,  you should always “know” which event happened first – “simultaneous”  is not in your vocabulary when it comes to such matters.

If the whistle occurred clearly prior to the handling, then the restart is a dropped ball (outside agent interference) where the ball was when the interference occurred (i.e., the whistle) and the handling is ignored.  If that location is in either penalty area, the drop is defended by the goalkeeper in that penalty area.  If not in either penalty area, the drop is for a player of whichever team last touched the ball prior to the interference.

If the handling occurred clearly prior to the spectator whistle, then the handling is an offense resulting in a direct free kick where the handling occurred.

If it is not immediately clear which event occurred first, then you must make a quick judgment as to which event caused or played a part in the other (e.g., did the spectator whistle to call attention to the foul on the field or was the handling a player misjudgment that the whistle came from the referee and the player was simply getting the ball?).  All data, no matter how secondary to the event itself, must be considered.  For example, what was the player’s demeanor immediately afterward?  How did the player act? If the sequence of events is still not clear, then you must nevertheless make some judgment, announce it clearly, and manage the correct restart accordingly.

All other things equal, it seems to us that a player catching and holding the ball directly from a teammate’s throw-in would not make much sense unless the player was convinced that the whistle was a spectator interference because, if not, what benefit is achieved for the player’s team?  None, and indeed the team will be punished for it.  Further, the overwhelming number of players who would seek to handle the ball during play (goalkeeper excepted, of course) are more likely to attempt to hide the action rather than display it publicly.

Nevertheless, based on the events in the game so far, which of the above decisions best supports the game?  The one thing you absolutely cannot do is order the players to just keep playing!  And you should have a quiet word with the player during the stoppage to make the point that, while you understand the player grabbed the ball for apparently good reasons, try not to do it ever again – the next referee might not understand.

Regardless of the above issues, you should advise both coaches that the offending spectator be removed from the field by whichever coach has responsibility for the spectator (or by both of them if the spectator is not apparently associated with either team) and that the game is suspended until this is done to the referee’s satisfaction.…

Handball Following a Restart

Daniel, an adult amateur referee, asks:

Direct free kick for the attackers 18 meters in front of the goal. After the ball has been released by the referee, an attacker shoots the ball towards the goal. A defender runs 3 meters ahead of the wall forward and fends off the shot with a deliberate handball. Referee’s decision? Please motivate the disciplinary sanction.

Answer

Your description of the scenario is incomplete in several potentially important areas.

First, what do you mean by “after the ball has been released by the referee”?  Referees don’t “release balls” on any kind of free kick.  Indeed, there is only one restart that involves the referee releasing the ball and that is the dropped ball.

Second, if it is a direct free kick (DFK) restart (and thus there is no “referee releases the ball” component), there nevertheless is the major issue of whether this DFK restart is ceremonial or not.  If it is ceremonial, then the DFK cannot occur unless and until the referee signals with the whistle that the kick can be taken.  If the DFK is not ceremonial, then it means that the kick can be taken immediately by the attacker.

The third incomplete information issue is when did the defender run “3 meters ahead of the wall”?  If the defender was in the wall at the time of the kick and then ran forward before the attacker kicked the ball, that is an offense by the defender – carries a caution and a retake of the DFK.  If the defender began to move closer than the wall after the ball was kicked (assuming it was no closer to the DFK location than the minimum required distance), then no encroachment offense was committed even if that defender made contact with the ball well within the minimum distance requirement.  What is interesting about this scenario element is that, ultimately, it doesn’t matter because, if the defender actually ran forward before the ball was kicked, this retake is overtaken by what is discussed below under the fourth element and the misconduct is overtaken by what is discussed below in the fifth element.

Fourth, several different issues arise when you state that the defender then handled the ball.  Based on your scenario, the DFK restart was 18 meters from the goal which puts the restart just 1.5 meters from the top of penalty area.  The minimum distance for the defenders was 9.15 meters from the ball.  Assuming all lines are straight, 90 degrees from the goal line, and not beyond the sidelines of the penalty area (if any of these three requirements is not met, the issue of where the defender made contact with the ball is impossible to determine in relation to the penalty area.  All that can be said unequivocally is that, if all three are true, then the defender handled the ball inside the penalty area.  Accordingly, if that is the case, the restart becomes a penalty kick.  To understand this element, you will probably need to draw a field diagram and mark up the pertinent distances (that’s what we did to make sure we understood the scenario!).

The fifth and last incomplete information issue relates to whether any misconduct occurred and, if so, what color card.  If, in the opinion of the referee, the ball was going into or it was an obvious goal-scoring opportunity (high likelihood inside the penalty area), then the card color is red (denied goal by handling).  If, in the opinion of the referee, the defender handled to ball merely to interfere with or stop a promising attack (a less likely possibility inside the penalty area), the card color is yellow.

As far as motivating the disciplinary sanction, that’s easy.  It’s what the Law calls for.  The really critical motivator is that, based on your stated distances and making a necessary assumption about lines being straight and perpendicular to the goal line, the offense was committed in the penalty area.…

Who Owns the Ball?

Shawn, a U13 – U19 coach, asks:

After a goal is scored, may the scorer or a teammate of the scorer’s team retrieve the ball from the goal?  It is my understanding that the scored ball belongs to the conceding team. If the scorer retrieves the call and carries it to midfield, it shall be a caution for that player.  Please reference the law regarding this judgment.

Answer

Only at their peril ….

Under the Law, after a goal is scored against Team A, the ball “belongs” to Team A (because that is the team which has the restart) and any action by Team B seen by Team A (and concurred in by the referee) as an attempt to “take charge” of the ball can result in a yellow card to any Team B player who, regardless of a claimed motive, makes such an attempt.

Among the elements that the referee would consider in deciding if a caution is needed would be a “tug of war” between a Team B player (often the goal scorer) and a Team A player (often the defending goalkeeper or a fullback) or whether there was any proximate effort by a defender to prevent a Team B player from getting the ball.  The Team B player may claim that all he is doing is “helping” (particularly if it would be in Team A’s advantage to delay or slow down the kick-off restart).

The referee must read the game at that moment and decide if Team B’s action is an unsporting attempt to interfere with Team A’s ball possession.  Often, this sort of scenario quickly but obviously builds and can reach a flash point within seconds – the referee can loudly (with or without a hard-blown whistle) order the Team B player to leave the ball alone or it may be necessary to jump immediately to a caution if Team B’s action is sparking possible retaliation from Team A (as would be the case if there were an actual physical struggle for the ball).

The bottom line for this is to prevent the scoring team from taking an unfair advantage, either in fact or in the minds of the opposing team’s players, by wresting possession of the ball from the team that owns it.  If Team B unduly delays the restart, that is a separate problem but the scoring team has no right to step in to “help” in ways that will result in bad feelings.  If Team B has no problem with Team A (as evidenced by complaining to the referee or attempting to take matters into their own hands), then the referee should stay out of things.

By the way, this scenario is not limited to player behavior after a goal has been scored.  Indeed, you asked for a Law citation (see below) and that citation is not limited to the scenario we have been discussing.  In fact, the principle applies to any restart performed by a player (thus excluding a dropped ball).  We suspect that it happens more often on free kick restarts, followed by throw-ins, and then by goals — it’s rare on goal kicks and completely impossible on kick-offs and penalty kicks.  The citation is in Law 12 (page 110 in the 2019-2020 edition of the Laws of the Game): “Referees must caution players who delay the restart of play by … kicking or carrying the ball away, or by provoking a confrontation by deliberately touching the ball after the referee has stopped play“.…

Goalkeeper Possession and Other Issues

Thomas, an adult amateur player, asks:

With regard to Goalkeeping:

Q1. How long does a Goalkeeper have to retain possession of the ball in their hands before they are required to put the ball “back into play” either by throwing, punting or kicking the ball? I believe it is officially 6 seconds, but I don’t believe this time element is seldom actually called by referees.

Q2. If a Goalkeeper takes legitimate control of the ball with their hands inside the penalty area, then runs to within say 4 yards of the forward edge of the box, stops, and absent any opposing player within a 5 yard radius, is it legal for a goalkeeper to then toss the ball in front of them with a backspin on the ball such that the ball bounces back into their hands, then REGAINS possession of the ball with their HANDS, REPEATS THIS PROCESS 1 or 2 more times, and then eventually returns the ball “back into play” either by throwing, punting or kicking the ball?

Some have said this activity by the goalkeeper is similar to when a basketball player standing at the free-throw line is passed the ball by an official and before the player takes their actual shot, they dribble the ball multiple times off the floor, and then they take their free-throw. Basketball players have a set time to take their free-throw starting when they take hand possession of the ball from the official and ending when they release the ball in the motion of shooting the free-throw. Some soccer coaches/players say that this similar “dribbling” by a goalkeeper prior to putting the ball “back into play” is allowed. I believe it is a violation of the possession rules for goalkeepers and once they intentionally forfeit their hand possession of the ball they are not permitted to REGAIN HAND Possession of the ball and if they do it is an illegal use of their hands and the opposing team should be awarded a penalty kick.

Answer

It doesn’t make any difference whether something occurring in a soccer match is “like” something occurring in some other sport.  Soccer has its own rules.

Now, having said this, you are raising two complex issues as a matter of the Laws of the Game are concerned.

Q1:  Law 12 is very clear. The goalkeeper has six seconds, not 7 or 8 or whatever, to release the ball from the goalkeeper’s control.  By the way, just to keep the record straight, this is often stated – incorrectly – as releasing the ball into play.  The issue is that the ball IS in play during the entire time it is in the hand possession of the goalkeeper BUT what is different is that, during this time the goalkeeper cannot be challenged for the ball by an opponent.  This is the correct terminology – the ball is being withheld from challenge, not withheld from play.

Back to the point.  It has long been the standard interpretation of this requirement that the goalkeeper HAS gained hand control whenever the goalkeeper has the ball in one or both hands, including when the ball is being stabilized against any hard surface – e.g., the body of the goalkeeper, the ground, any part of the goal frame, etc.  The goalkeeper has not yet released the ball from his control if he is bouncing the ball or tossing the ball up into the air but loses control if the toss into the air is followed immediately by the ball hitting the ground and then taken back into the goalkeeper’s hand.  Although not often seen, it can happen easily enough if the goalkeeper tosses the ball up into the air but misses the catch, followed by the goalkeeper scrambling to regain the ball from the ground.   This is considered a second touch violation by the goalkeeper and results in an indirect free kick for the opposing team from where the second touch occurred.

If in all this the 6 seconds are exceeded (but see below regarding referee discretion), the referee can signal for a stoppage and turn control of the ball to the opposing team where the violation occurred, followed by an indirect free kick restart.

All this is fairly cut and dried.  What is NOT cut and dried is when the referee becomes aware that the goalkeeper is exceeding, or has exceeded, or is about to exceed the six second limit.  Sometimes observers think that the time has been exceeded because they have not paid attention to the starting point of the six second limit.  Sometimes, the referee may warn a goalkeeper that the time limit has been or shortly will be exceeded.  And sometimes, the six second limit is indeed exceeded with no whistle by the referee.  But “it’s the Law” you might say and the answer is, yes, it is the Law but it is also “lawful” not to whistle at 6+ seconds because the violation is doubtful or trifling.  Referees have the authority to handle this matter in any of these ways depending on the circumstances.  Remember, constantly whistling for something that might not have been an offense in the first place (doubtful) or didn’t really matter (trifling), is not soccer, it’s some other sport.  Soccer lives on the judgments of referees and the Law explicitly supports this … thank goodness.

Q2:  Here is where things get a bit hairy.  Certain facts can be clear.  For example, it doesn’t matter how much backspin a goalkeeper gives the ball when bouncing it on the ground so that it comes back to his/her hands, if the whole of the ball completely leaves the penalty area, the referee can conclude that the ball is out of the goalkeeper’s control because it would be illegal for the goalkeeper to handle the ball outside the penalty area.  Were we a goalkeeper who allowed the ball, even temporarily, to be outside our penalty area, we better be following it and be prepared to kick that ball somewhere rather than try to regain hand control.  But, if in the process of bouncing the ball, it does not leave the penalty area, the goalkeeper has the right to regain contact with the ball and to NOT be considered to having actually released the ball from “control” as long as the total time this is taking does not exceed six seconds.  Remember, as noted above, the Law does not consider bouncing the ball on the ground as having lost control of the ball so, for that reason, having the bounce come back to the hands of the goalkeeper does not constitute regaining control.

In general, what the Law is aimed at is not taking allegedly “extra” time to get the ball back into challenge when it is clear that this is what the goalkeeper is doing.  Punishment is reserved for those goalkeepers who exceed the time limit because they are deliberately wasting time to achieve an unsporting benefit.…

The Slide Tackle

Jack, a U12 and Under player, asks:

So in soccer my friends always side tackle and need help determining if it’s a foul or not.

Answer

We assume you mean “slide tackle” and, if so, the answer is a qualified yes, it can often be a foul and, only slightly less often, a serious foul.  Any tackle is legal, depending on how it is done.  The problem is that slide tackles, by their very nature, are more likely to involve misconduct than most other kinds of tackles.  Remember, “tackle” is simply the name for a soccer player’s effort to take possession of the ball away from an opponent using his foot or feet.  Accordingly, tackling for the ball is in one sense what soccer is all about.

So, you might ask (go ahead, ask) why, if tackles are such an important part of the game, does the Law say they are illegal?  Simple, because that’s not what the Law actually says.  I challenge you to find anywhere in the Law it says that.  What it DOES say is that, if you tackle an opponent carelessly, recklessly, or with excessive force, THEN and only THEN have you done something against the Law.  It’s not the tackle, it’s how you did it that made the difference.  If you tackle an opponent carelessly, you have committed a foul; if you tackle an opponent recklessly, you have committed a foul AND also committed a misconduct that will earn you a yellow card; and, if you tackle an opponent with excessive force, then, in addition to the foul, you will be charged with misconduct and shown a red card.  All of these are fouls, but reckless fouls are also a caution and a tackle using excessive force gets you thrown out of the game (plus the next one as well).

Of course, if you tackle an opponent for the ball and it is not done carelessly, recklessly, or with excessive force, then the tackle is entirely legal, which is the case with the overwhelming number of tackles occurring every day across the thousands of soccer fields across the country.  In short, if it is not done perfectly, it becomes one of the most seriously dangerous events on the pitch.

Now, is there anything special about sliding tackles?  Yes, because they are more likely to be performed carelessly, recklessly, or with excessive force.  Why is this so?  Because a sliding tackle involves, well, sliding and a player who is sliding on the ground with a foot forward aiming at an opponent is almost certainly going far beyond being careless – more likely it will be reckless (caution), or involve excessive force (red card).  Again, why?  Because a sliding player is out of control – once you are on the ground and sliding toward an opponent you are creating a dangerous situation.  Can that be avoided?  Yes, but it takes skill, experience, knowledge, and excellent physical abilities.  The “sliding player” is sometimes referred to as an “unguided missile”!  Add the foot outstretched with cleats showing and you have an armed unguided missile!  The very worst slide tackle is two feet forward, studs up, foot above ball height, and coming in fast.

“But I played the ball, ref!!” is a common attempt by a player to defend themselves, but it is a defense that doesn’t work if, before, during, or after “playing the ball,” one or more of the feet also connect with the opponent’s body.  Having played the ball, although a common excuse, means nothing under the Law.  If that is ALL the player did, then the player will not likely even be warned.  Add sliding or high speed or cleats exposed or both feet, or direct contact with the opponent’s body and you have a foul and most likely misconduct.  And the more of these five elements you have the more certain is the foul and the more serious the misconduct.

While we would not want to rest our reputation entirely on the following generalization, we are not averse to suggesting that only a rare few if any under 14 age players of either gender could execute a legal slide tackle … and adding more of each of the five elements we outlined above would make the generalization become almost a certainty.…

When Do Cards Get Given?

Taz, an adult pro parent, asks:

Is there ever a situation where a cautionable offense doesn’t require a stoppage of play, other than advantage?

Example:  Player on Team A commits an unsporting behavior while their team has the ball, but they do not commit a foul.  Is it required for the ref to stop play to issue the caution, or can the ref hold till the next stoppage of play?

Answer

Regarding your initial question, yes.

The 2019-2020 Laws of the Game, Law 12, provides that the usual procedure in a card situation is that the card is given at the very next stoppage – whether that is coincident with the commission of the misconduct or, if advantage is used, at the first stoppage following the misconduct either upon deciding that the advantage was not maintained for at least several seconds or, if play proceeds because the giving of advantage was successful, at the next stoppage whistled for any reason.  The International Board long ago, though, advised referees that this should be a very rare occasion if the offense was a red car, the misconduct was violent, and there was little or no likelihood of an immediate goal being scored by the non-offending team.

There is a new “however” however – if (a) the non-offending team is ready, willing, and able to restart quickly; and (b) allowing the restart involves a clear goal-scoring opportunity; and (c) the referee has not taken any overt action (by word or deed) indicating that the restart may not be taken, the restart can be allowed to occur, the card remains as a punishment,  but giving the card can be delayed until the next stoppage.  (a) and (b) are entirely based on the judgment of the referee while (c) includes such things as the referee pulling out or otherwise displaying a card as concrete evidence that the card is about to be given or the referee saying anything in a sufficiently public way as to be heard by members of either or both teams in the immediate vicinity of the restart location.

Another way of explaining (c) is that, if the referee shows any public indication that a card will be given and this is understood to require that the restart will be delayed, thus inducing either one or both teams to back away from taking or defending against the restart, then the card must be given immediately even if the team in possession of the restart would objectively had wanted to restart quickly in order to take advantage of a goal-scoring opportunity.  In short, the referee was not reading play correctly or had done something to lead players to believe that the referee was going to show the card and thus cause players to “back off.”

Now, your “example” actually raises two different questions.  First, can a referee ignore an offense (foul or misconduct) and not give a card at all?  Yes.  It’s not generally advisable but is entirely within the referee’s scope of authority and may be entirely warranted (e.g., the offense was trifling or “iffy”).  Second, can a referee decide that a card is to be given but waits quietly and without notice the next stoppage?  Not in accordance with standard protocol unless advantage is being applied.  Standard protocol calls for fouls and/or misconduct be called and punished accordingly upon their occurrence unless the referee invokes advantage.  It is considered incorrect mechanics to “secretly” decide a misconduct has been committed and then do nothing about it until play stops, either by the referee’s whistle or by the ball leaving the field.…

Interfering with Goalkeepers

Stuart, a U13 – U19 referee, asks:

Can an opposing player stand in front of a goalie attempting to punt the ball?

Answer

No.  It is a violation of the Law to interfere in any way with the goalkeeper’s release of the ball from his/her hands.  This obviously doesn’t apply if the goalkeeper’s control is, say, only with the feet.

Note that we didn’t say “release the ball into play” because, technically, the ball is and remains “in play” even while in the hands of the goalkeeper —  it’s just that both the ball and the goalkeeper holding it are protected from challenge by an opponent.  This balances, in part, the four specific offenses that apply only to goalkeepers and are designed to limit the amount of time opponents cannot attempt to challenge for the ball while it is in the hands of the goalkeeper.

That said, we try to train referees to be proactive about this.  It is always a good idea, for example, to keep an eye on such a situation as it develops and to step in before it runs it’s course into a scenario in which there is no option other than to stop play.  This usually can be achieved by clearly giving a verbal warning to any opponent who is too close or not clearly backing away that they need to get out of there.  Sometimes a baleful stare at the potential miscreant will be sufficient to do the job.  If it becomes necessary for you to actually step in if actual interference occurs (e.g., a concrete attempt to challenge for a ball held by the goalkeeper or an attempt to challenge for the ball while the goalkeeper is in the physical process of releasing it, or bumping into the goalkeeper), then play must be stopped.   If this occurs, it is recommended that the opponent also be cautioned (for unsporting conduct).

Why a caution?  For game control and player management purposes.  All players (particularly the goalkeeper), need to appreciate that the referee will not allow this sort of behavior.  Goalkeepers are strange folks (we know based on personal experience) who feel that, once they have the ball in hand, it needs to be their choice as to how and when they release it because they are God’s gift to soccer.  If the referee is forced into stopping play for interfering, we add a caution to sweeten the pot for the goalkeeper who now, instead of his/her brilliant release of the ball causing gasps of amazement from players, coaches, and spectators all, is forced to restart play with a plain, boring IFK.

It also has a deterrent effect and reduces the likelihood of seeing something like that develop again.…

Communications Between Referees and Players

Gabriel, a High School and college player, asks:

Can a referee use inappropriate language towards a player?

Answer

Umm, that’s a short, interesting, and loaded question.  If the language is “inappropriate,” by definition it would be wrong to use it.  It comes down to your (and the Law’s) definition of “inappropriate.”  It can’t be “anything that I don’t like” because that definition leaves no room for debate.

It is probably safe to say that, in general, it would be inappropriate for a referee to say anything to a player that it would be inappropriate for one player  to say to another player … with two important provisos.  First, players know each other (even if between opponents) and thus are in a better position to judge the intent and content of anything one says to another.  Second, while it is common in general for one player to speak to another (even an opponent) because they are engaged in a common endeavor, this is not the case with a referee and players – even if they happen to know each other outside the immediate game.  Referees have an obligation to limit their communications with players – even immediately before and after the game – to the specific performance of the referee’s duties.

As we have noted, a referee has no more (and arguably much less) right, for example, to use “offensive, insulting or abusive language” toward a player than a player has toward another player.  The big difference, of course, is that a player cannot red card a referee.  We can tell you, however, with great assurance, that virtually all referees have stored up many sharp-edged, brilliant, and wholly inappropriate things they would like to say to players, coaches, and spectators.…

Kicking the Goalkeeper

Marc, a high school and college parent, asks:

In a recent game, the goalie had possession of the ball while standing with both hands on the ball.. As the ball was held at about hip level waiting for the defense to move out, a player on the opposite team jogging by the keeper kicked the ball out of the keepers hands by hitting the keepers hands with the studs of his cleats.  This caused both teams to come together almost resulting in a fight. The referee cautioned the player who kicked the ball out and ended up red carding the goalie for dissent . Did the referee make the correct call?   Everybody at the match felt the player should have been sent off for violent conduct.

Answer

In general, kicking, striking, and spitting are considered red-cardable offenses unless there is clear evidence to mitigate the response to the offense down to a caution. This is opposite to the approach to all other direct free kick offenses where the referee starts with “careless” (no card at all) and then needs concrete evidence to justify treating them as “reckless” (a caution) or “excessive force” (a red card) events. It is possible that the referee (incorrectly) showed only a caution because he or she thought that this came under the special circumstances of “denying an obvious goal-scoring opportunity” but this doesn’t even come close to applying because (a) the perpetrator was an attacker rather than a defender, (b) the action of kicking an opponent (as I mentioned) starts as a red card offense and then requires special circumstances to do anything less serious than a red card, and (c) the attacker was not “competing for the ball” because, while in the hands of the goalkeeper, the Law does not allow for an attacker to challenge in any way.

We can’t speak to the issue of the red card to the goalkeeper for “dissent” because, without more information, this is contrary to the Laws of the Game on its face.  Under Law 12, dissent is cautionable misconduct, and a red card would be correct only if the dissent included language which was abusive, insulting, or offensive OR the referee correctly cautioned the goalkeeper for dissent but this was the goalkeeper’s second caution in the game, in which case the red card would NOT be for dissent but for having received a second caution.

The opponent should have been shown a red card because the kick involved excessive force, the goalkeeper could be shown only a caution if the GK’s actions involved only dissent, and play should be restarted with a direct free kick coming out from where the kick occurred.

The above observations are sufficiently fundamental to the sport of soccer that they would apply regardless of whether the game occurred rules other than the Laws of the Game (e.g., NFHS/highschool or NCAA/college rules).…