Greg, a senior amateur referee, asks:
When was Law 12.23 introduced? In other words, when was “charging” a goalkeeper effectively banned ?
First of all, the reference to “law 12.23” is unfamiliar. Law 12 only has 4 numbered sections. Perhaps you are referring to 12.23 in Advice to Referees on the Laws of the Game (2010-2011 edition). The relevant material in this section was rewritten and reorganized as 12.B.4 in the 2013-2014 edition of Advice (which was then discontinued after that edition).
Charging a goalkeeper was never banned as such. It is entirely legal to charge a goalkeeper, provided that goalkeeper does not have hand control of the ball.
As regards this restriction, there has been a gradual evolution of the Law. In 1984, for example, Law 12 stated the following: “In case of body contact in the goal area between an attacking player and the opposing goalkeeper not in possession of the ball, the Referee, as sole judge of intention, shall stop the game if, in his opinion, the action of the attacking player was intentional, and award an indirect free kick.” This language remained, word-for-word, in the Law until 1995 when the scenario was rewritten to specify that charging the goalkeeper was an indirect free kick offense if it occurred while the goalkeeper was holding the ball, obstructing an opponent, or was outside his goal area. Further, a player who interferes with the goalkeeper’s effort to put the ball back into play is punished by an indirect free kick.
This stayed in effect for several years but then, in 1997-98, the language was simplified further by declaring that preventing a goalkeeper from releasing the ball into play with his hands was an indirect free kick offense anywhere inside the goalkeeper’s penalty area.
The Law on this subject has not changed materially from then up through the current Lawbook. Simply described, an opponent can charge a goalkeeper (providing the charge itself is legal, i.e., not careless, reckless, or done with excessive force) only if the goalkeeper is not in hand control of the ball. If the goalkeeper does have hand control of the ball, any attempt at even an otherwise legal charge is taken as an interference of the goalkeeper’s release of the ball into play and results in an indirect free kick restart. Of course, if this occurs as a result of a charge which is itself illegal, the restart would be a direct free kick because that takes priority as the more serious offense.