My question is in regards to the keeper, when he punches the ball. During a high level game, the keeper came off his line on a corner kick to play the ball. He jumped to punch the ball out of danger, but instead of punching the ball, he hit the attaching player in the face. I was the AR2 while this happened in front of AR1 and the CR. The CR felt the play was not deliberate and said play on.

The coach of the attaching team felt there should have been a red card for striking and a PK.

Based upon the skill level, feel of the game, etc…. has this play been called striking by the keeper?

USSF answer (October 16, 2009):
We recommend for your reading pleasure this excerpt from the USSF publication “Advice to Referees on the Laws of the Game” 2009/2010, downloadable from the USSF website:

A foul is an unfair or unsafe action committed (1) by a player (2) against an opponent or the opposing team, (3) on the field of play, (4) while the ball is in play. Deliberate handling of the ball is committed against the opposing team, not against a particular opponent. If any of these requirements is not met, the action is not a foul; however, the action can still be misconduct.

Except for a handling offense, it is not necessary for the player’s action to be considered “deliberate” in the sense that the player intentionally set out to kick, push, trip, hold or otherwise foul the opponent. If that were so, the referee would have to be capable of reading a player’s mind. Under Law 12, the referee makes a decision based upon what he or she sees a player actually do – the result of the player’s action – not upon what might be in the player’s mind.

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