Your site is a wonderful resource. Thanks for helping all of us become better referees.

I am the center ref at a U-18 USSF game. An attacker on a breakaway enters the box. The keeper hesitates, unsure whether to charge out or wait for the shot. Keeper decides to come out. Attacker gets the shot off and it slides under the keeper’s lunging body but goes wide of the goal. However, the keeper’s frantic attempt to stop or deflect the ball results in contact with the attacker, who goes down. I am in a very good position to see all this, and I note that at the time of contact the ball hasn’t crossed the goal-line. The keeper’s action, I decide is neither careless nor reckless vis-a-vis the attacker, but is dangerous (actually, to the keeper more than to the attacker). So I blow the whistle, show the keeper a yellow card and indicate an IFK within the box, where the foul was committed. The attacking team fails to score. At half-time, I am told by one of A/Rs, an experienced ref who I respect, that a PK should have been called because “you can’t have a contact IFK against the defence in the penalty box”. I maintain that, since the attacker got the shot off, and missed, awarding a PK against the keeper would provide the attacking team with two bites of the cherry(and might require sending-off the keeper as well) while, given the fact that the keeper was trying to get the ball rather than the player, albeit by playing in a dangerous manner, an IFK was appropriate. Was I wrong?

USSF answer (April 13, 2010):
We would suggest that you are operating under a slightly “iffy” premise, that the goalkeeper’s action constituted playing dangerously. All referees need to remember that the job of the goalkeeper is inherently dangerous; everything he or she does when attempting to clear a ball or take it away from an onrushing attacker is dangerous. Unless the ‘keeper did something that was careless or violent or reckless, and you said that he did not, then there was no foul, but simply bad luck. This is one of the lessons we need to learn. There was no foul in this situation, at least not as you describe it. Not a penalty kick, not an indirect free kick.

No need to discuss the advice you were given by others in this case; just disregard it.

Leave a Reply