In the Manchester United v. Sunderland game on Oct. 3 2009 a Sunderland striker made contact with United keeper Ben Foster in the process of striking a header into goal. Many arguments have ensued as to the legality of the contact; although it did appear IMHO that the striker did touch the ball first. Are the rules for physical contact different when the keeper is concerned? If the contact had been made in the same manner with a defensive player (not the keeper) would the call have been different?

USSF answer (October 20, 2009):
With the exception of certain circumstances — such as no interference when the ‘keeper is releasing the ball back into play — the goalkeeper should be treated precisely the same as any other player. All such cases are decided in the opinion of the referee who is on the game, based on the conditions of the game and what he or she sees happening on the field.

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