WHEN MUST THE GOALKEEPER RELEASE THE BALL INTO PLAY?

Question:
I did a search back to early 2004, went to the FIFA site, and several other sites and I can’t seem to find any definitive information. This question pertains to the time period a keeper has to release the ball. If a keeper makes a diving save and either rolls or skids across the ground, at what point does the time limit start? Granted, the keeper intentionally holding the ball would be unsportsmanlike. In the case where the momentum of the goalkeeper carries him after the save, would not the time start at the point in which the keeper has the ability to rise?USSF answer (April 3, 2007):
The ‘keeper has six seconds to release the ball into play, once he or she has established possession–and is able to put the ball into play. This means that the goalkeeper may have to right him-/herself if on the ground and then rise or be able to come to a definite stop if running when taking possession of the ball. These things take time and should not be included in the allowed six seconds. This is, of course, in the opinion of the referee, who also keeps track of time remaining in the game and exercises common sense in adding time for reasonable time lost–the same idea.

Many referees are too eager to begin counting the six seconds, as if those seconds were a magic number that could not be altered through the use of common sense. If you were to keep track of the elapsed time in goalkeeper possession in the top games around the world, you would find that goalkeepers use (and referees allow) anywhere from eight to ten seconds on average. The only time the top referees punish such infringements are when they become habitual and are clearly designed to waste time. Do not let this insignificant matter of a few seconds ruin an otherwise perfectly good game. Remember that the referee can always add time.

And to give you a reference, here is an excerpt from the USSF publication “Advice to Referees on the Laws of the Game”:

12.18 THE “SIX-SECOND” RULE
The goalkeeper has six seconds to release the ball into play once he or she has taken possession of the ball with the hands. However, this restriction is not intended to include time taken by the goalkeeper while gaining control of the ball or as a natural result of momentum. The referee should not count the seconds aloud or with hand motions. If the goalkeeper is making a reasonable effort to release the ball into play, the referee should allow the “benefit of the doubt.” Before penalizing a goalkeeper for violating this time limit, the referee should warn the goalkeeper about such actions and then should penalize the violation only if the goalkeeper continues to waste time or commits a comparable infringement again later in the match. Opposing players should not be permitted to attempt to prevent the goalkeeper from moving to release the ball into play.

CHARGING THE GOALKEEPER

Question:
I have seen lately that referees are not calling charges on the keeper inside his/her penalty area when the keeper is either attempting to control the ball or is in control of the ball. I have always been taught (over 20 years of officiating experience) that the goalkeeper cannot be legally charged inside the penalty area while in control or possession of the ball unless the keeper is playing the ball with his/her feet. I have recently been told by senior ranked (State 5 or above) referees that this is no longer the case and that the keeper may be fairly charged just like any other player on the field and does not have special privellages inside their penalty area. In reading the Advice to Referees Section 12.16 I believe it says that “While the ball is in the possession of the keeper, it cannot be lawfully played by an opponent and any attempt to do so may be punished by a direct free kick.” I also believe I read in the Advice to Referees Section 12.23 that charging a keeper in possesion of the ball should be considered a violation of law 12 and a direct free kick awarded unless the keeper is playing the ball with his head, feet or etc… This would seem to me that nothing has changed and that charging a keeper who is not playing the ball is still illegal. Can you clarify this for me?If you have answered this previously I must have not been able to find it and would appreciate a reference where I can find this answer.

USSF answer (March 30, 2007):
No matter what you may hear from “senior ranked (State 5 or above) referees,” the facts are contained in the document you cite, the USSF publication “Advice to Referees on the Laws of the Game”:

12.16 GOALKEEPER POSSESSION OF THE BALL
The goalkeeper is considered to be in possession of the ball while bouncing it on the ground or while throwing it into the air. Possession is given up if, while throwing the ball into the air, it is allowed to strike the ground. As noted in Advice 12.10, handling extends from shoulder to tip of fingers. While the ball is in the possession of the keeper, it cannot be lawfully played by an opponent, and any attempt to do so may be punished by a direct free kick.

12.17 PREVENTING THE GOALKEEPER FROM RELEASING THE BALL INTO PLAY An opponent may not interfere with or block the goalkeeper’s release of the ball into play. While players have a right to maintain a position achieved during the normal course of play, they may not try to block the goalkeeper’s movement while he or she is holding the ball or do anything which hinders, interferes with, or blocks the goalkeeper who is throwing or punting the ball back into play. An opponent does not violate the Law, however, if the player takes advantage of a ball released by the goalkeeper directly to him or her, in his or her direction, or deflecting off him or her nonviolently.

12.18 THE “SIX-SECOND” RULE The goalkeeper has six seconds to release the ball into play once he or she has taken possession of the ball with the hands. However, this restriction is not intended to include time taken by the goalkeeper while gaining control of the ball or as a natural result of momentum. The referee should not count the seconds aloud or with hand motions. If the goalkeeper is making a reasonable effort to release the ball into play, the referee should allow the “benefit of the doubt.” Before penalizing a goalkeeper for violating this time limit, the referee should warn the goalkeeper about such actions and then should penalize the violation only if the goalkeeper continues to waste time or commits a comparable infringement again later in the match. Opposing players should not be permitted to attempt to prevent the goalkeeper from moving to release the ball into play.

12.23 CHARGING THE GOALKEEPER Referees must carefully observe any charge against the goalkeeper and call as an infringement of Law 12 only those charges which are performed carelessly, recklessly, or with excessive force (direct free kick), are performed in a dangerous manner (indirect free kick), or prevent the goalkeeper from releasing the ball from the hands (indirect free kick). Charging the keeper who is in possession of the ball must be considered an offense because, by definition, the charge cannot be for the purpose of challenging for control of the ball (see Advice 12.16). A goalkeeper can be otherwise legally charged if the ball is not in the goalkeeper’s possession (see Advice 12.16) but is being played by the goalkeeper in some other manner (e. g., dribbled at the feet, headed, etc.).

To sum it up: The goalkeeper in possession of the ball AND preparing to put it into play may NOT be charged or otherwise interfered with. However, the goalkeeper may be charged FAIRLY when both the ‘keeper and the opponent are striving for possession of the ball.

And could it be that this is what the senior referees were saying and that you might have misunderstood?…

FAILURE TO SEND OFF AFTER THE SECOND CAUTION

Question:
On rare occasions, a Referee commits the grievous error of not sending a player off after a second Caution. If the Referee realizes his or her error later in the match, I understand that the Referee is to go ahead and issue the Send-Off. But the situation seems to be really messy, because the officials must now deal with some complications not addressed by the Laws. I’m interested to know if USSF has any guidance on these kinds of questions:What is the status of either team’s achievements and actions during the Interval between the second Caution and the eventual Send-Off? Do all goals scored in the Interval still count? Is the twice-cautioned person still considered to be a player during the Interval? If his or her player status has changed, does that affect rulings on fouls or misconduct committed against him or her during the Interval? If either team’s achievements or errors during that Interval are canceled, does the Referee add time to compensate for what is, effectively, lost playing time?

You know, the more I think about this situation, the less I want to ever stumble into it.

USSF answer (March 28, 2007):
The answer to the first question follows from the rest.
Yes.
Yes.
No.
No answer necessary.

And we agree: It should never happen, which is why all referees and ARs should keep good notes.…

HOW TO CAUTION A PLAYER IN RARE CASES

Question:
I know that in most situations when cautioning or sending-off a player, the established procedure is to isolate the player, write any necessary information, administer the caution or send-off, and then display the card. I also know we make exceptions and display the card first when there is a chance of retaliation or in particularly tense situations.However, after reading Advice to Referee 3.21, I have a few other questions about carding mechanics in unusual situations: “If a player or substitute is cautioned or dismissed for misconduct which has occurred during a break or suspension of play, the card must be shown on the field before play resumes.”

1: If a player is sent-off during the half-time interval (for example, in the locker rooms), do I need to require that player to return to the field so he can be shown the red card before the kick-off? If that player leaves the field and its vicinity, to whom should I display a card?

2: By tradition, referees will not show a card to a player who is injured. If the referee needs to caution or send-off a player who was injured and unable to return to play, how should he do it?

In both of these cases, can you display the card “to” some other player (for example, the captain) on this player’s behalf? Should you simply display the card “to” empty space? Should you dispense with the card entirely and simply tell both team captains (and possibly their coaches as well) what punishment has been given?

I appreciate any advice you can give for how to handle these rare situations.

USSF answer (March 22, 2007):
1. The information you cite in Advice 3.21 would apply only in higher-level games. As long as it is clear to both sides that the player has been dismissed during the interval, there is no need for the now-former player to be on the field to receive the card before the next period of play begins. In fact, it would be a bad idea from a player management point of view.

2. This “tradition” is simply that, a tradition, but it is not part of the Laws of the Game nor of any procedures recommended by the U. S. Soccer Federation. It is normal to wait for the player to rise or be carried off, but that is not a requirement. The referee should show the card as soon as it is clear that the player is leaving the field or is able to rise and continue play (provided that no trainers entered the field to apply the magic sponge).…

TO SHOW OR NOT TO SHOW THE SECOND YELLOW CARD

Question:
It seems there is quite problem [in our state] that needs a Law interpretation.The issue is simply this. If a Referee shows a yellow card to blue player #5 in the 30th minute, then shows blue player #5 a red card in the 63rd minute for a second cautionable offense, but never actually showed the second yellow card before producing the red card, is this failure of mechanics grounds for protest for the blue player to say since you did not do the carding procedure correctly then the red card can not be enforced?

I have grappled with this issue and can make valid arguments in either direction. I need something from you to solve the argument.

USSF answer (March 14, 2007):
While normal procedure is to show the yellow card first, there is no valid reason for a player to protest being sent off if the referee has failed to show the yellow card for the second caution before showing the red card for the send-off. The referee must be certain to include the matter in the match report.…

DENYING THE OGSO

Question:
In a recent tournament as veteran referees were exchanging war stories, we came across a divided decision on a scenario that was encountered at a recent tournament. Please give us your verdict.Attacker takes a shot from the top of the 18. A defender ( we are not sure if it was the goalie or one of the defenders ) realizing that the ball is about to enter the goal, jumps up and grabs the top of the goal cross and brings it down. They were using one of those cheap goals. Ball obviously did not enter the goal and whistle was blown after the ball crossed the goal line.

I think we all agreed that the correct re-start would be a goal kick ( we may be wrong on that? ). The argument is over a caution vs. red card. Some referee argue that it was a USB and it should only be a caution. The others obviously argue that it was a deny of goal scoring opportunity. The administrators at that tournament elected to red card the player after the game.

So give us your opinion, please.

USSF answer (March 14, 2007):
The original offense is unsporting behavior, for which the player must be cautioned. The player’s misconduct is punished by an indirect free kick. Because the misconduct, punishable by an indirect free kick, denied the opponent a goal or an obvious goalscoring opportunity, the player must also be sent off for that reason. This holds true for most scenarios.

However, there is at least one possible scenario in which it would make a difference if it was a field player or the goalkeeper: That would involve the ball contacting the crossbar instead of sailing into the goal (i. e., the crossbar was pulled down just enough to cause the ball to hit it, as opposed to being pulled down enough to cause the ball to sail over it). If the ball made contact with the crossbar AND the offending player was NOT the goalkeeper, then the crossbar became an extension of the player’s hand (just as would be the case if the player threw an object at and struck the ball), so the restart would be a penalty kick in addition to the send-off for S4. If it was the goalkeeper or if the pull on the crossbar allowed the ball to sail totally over it, then IFK for the misconduct in addition to the red card (but this time it would be S5).…

ARTIFICIAL AIDS

Question:
What do you think about sticky stuff on the goalkeeper’s gloves? I believe it is covered on throw in and the players using the ribbed gloves, but I have not had anything come up on goalkeepers. My gut-feel is that it is unsporting behavior.USSF answer (March 12, 2007):
The goalkeeper is allowed certain exceptions in the equipment he or she is permitted to wear. These exceptions for the goalkeeper are designed strictly for protection of the goalkeeper, who is often expected to dive quickly to the ground. Law 4 is meant to ensure player safety, not player superiority through artificial means. There is no provision for the goalkeeper or any other player to wear artificial aids to enhance their ability to play. Therefore tacky substances on the hands or “sticky” gloves are illegal equipment and, if used, constitute unsporting behavior for which a caution should be given. The offending substance must be removed and offending gloves may be replaced by others that are not “doctored.”…

MAY THE REFEREE ISSUE A CAUTION AFTER THE GAME HAS ENDED?

Question:
I am the president of a soccer club that plays its matches in [a state association]. Yesterday, one of our players received a yellow card for unsporting behavior after the final whistle had blown for the match to be completed. The player was upset at the frequent calling of “unjustified” offsides, and left the pitch without permission in the closing seconds.Is it legitimate for a referee to issue cards after a match?

USSF answer (February 28, 2007):
Yes, it is, provided that the teams have not completely left the field. Here are the instructions we give our referees, taken from the USSF publication “Advice to Referees on the Laws of the Game”:

3.21 DISCIPLINARY PROCEDURES BEFORE, DURING, AND AFTER THE GAME
Misconduct committed by a player or a substitute prior to the start of the match, during the match, during breaks between playing periods is subject to a formal caution or a send-off, as appropriate. Yellow and red cards, which are now mandatory indications of cautions and send-offs, may be shown only for misconduct committed by players, substitutes, or substituted players during a match. “During a match” includes:
(a) the period of time immediately prior to the start of play during which players and substitutes are physically on the field warming up, stretching, or otherwise preparing for the match;
(b) any periods in which play is temporarily stopped;
(c) half time or similar breaks in play;
(d) required overtime periods;
(e) kicks from the penalty mark if this procedure is used in case a winner must be determined.
(f) the period of time immediately following the end of play during which the players and substitutes are physically on the field but in the process of exiting.
//deleted//
Postgame: Any misconduct committed by players or substitutes after the field has been cleared must be described in the game report and reported to the competition authority. Since such misconduct cannot result in a formal caution or send-off, no card may be displayed. Referees are advised to avoid remaining in the area of the field unnecessarily.

The fact that the player left the field of play without permission before the match warranted a caution, as the match had not yet been completed. The referee’s action was within the requirements of the Law.…

MAY A SUBSTITUTE/SUBSTITUTED PLAYER BE DISMISSED FOR DENYING AN OBVIOUS GOALSCORING OPPORTUNITY?

Question:
situation 1: an attacker was moving toward the goal with the ball. the goalkeeper was way out of his goal area and a defender tripped and fell, leaving the goal open to the attacker. a substitute who was warming up near the goal ran on to the field without my permission and tripped the attacker who was getting ready to shoot on goal as the defender tripped and fell. i didn’t know what to do, so i cautioned the substitute and gave the goalkeeper’s team an indirect free kick.what should i have done? i know the 2006 Law says we can send off substitutes or substituted players for all 7 of the reasons listed in Law 12, but i am not sure. some referees said i did it right, but others say i should have sent him off. can we really send off substitutes who enter the field illegally and prevent goals?

a second question: what should i do if the substitute or substituted player enters the field without my permission and then simply kicks the ball away, rather than tripping the opponent or committing any other foul?

USSF answer (February 23, 2007):
1. The 2006 changes in Law 3 and Law 12 regarding substitutes or substituted players who illegally enter the field were dealt with in the 2006 edition of the USSF publication “Advice to Referees on the Laws of the Game” (see, for example, the many rewritten entries under Law 3). Unfortunately, the 2006 edition of the Advice does not cover the question about whether a substitute who has entered the field illegally can be sent off if, while on the field and before play is stopped for the illegal entry, he or she handles the ball to prevent a goal or commits any other action which, in the opinion of the referee, interferes with an obvious goal-scoring opportunity.

The answer is yes: A substitute or substituted player can be sent off and shown the red card for any action which, if it had been committed by a player, would have resulted in the player being sent off for either the 4th or the 5th send-off reason listed in Law 12. Just as with players, all elements of the decision to send someone off for either of these reasons are governed by Section D of Law 12 in Advice to Referees and apply to substitutes and substituted players as well as to players.

2. In this second question, the solution for simply kicking the ball by the “invading” substitute or substituted player would be two cautions followed by the send-off for the second caution: one caution for unsporting behavior for entering the field without permission and the second for unsporting behavior for kicking the ball away from the opponent. You would then restart the match with an indirect free kick where the ball was when the substitute illegally entered the field (the first misconduct).…

SECOND TOUCH OR GOAL?

Question:
During live play, a GK punts the ball straight up in the air. A strong wind blows the ball toward the goal. The GK touches the ball but it ends up in the goal. Is this a second touch violation or is advantage applied and a goal allowed? (I know this is covered in Advice to Referees in regard to goal kicks taken by a goalkeeper but I see no reference to this particular scenario.)USSF answer (February 21, 2007):
The correct restart would be a kick-off. In touching the ball again, the goalkeeper has violated Law 12 and the referee may apply the advantage. In the case of the goal kick, the goalkeeper would be violating Law 16, in which case the referee may not apply the advantage.…