A referee brought up this question at our association meeting tonight. It started quite a debate and we would like to know the correct answer to put this to rest:
A shot on goal is made by an attacker. The goalkeeper is too short to stop the ball from entering the goal with his hands so he pulls on the back of the net thus preventing the ball from completely crossing over the goal line.
What should the referee do in this case? If he stops play, what action should he take and what is the restart?
USSF answer (May 6, 2010):
In using the net as an artificial aid (and extension of his hands), the goalkeeper has theoretically denied the opposing team a goal or an obvious goal-scoring opportunity by deliberately handling the ball. However, as we know from Law 12, the goalkeeper is expressly excluded from the requirement for a send-off in this case, “(this does not apply to a goalkeeper within his own penalty area).” Solution? After the caution is given for unsporting behavior, award an indirect free kick for the opposing team on the goal area line parallel to the goal line at the point nearest to where the infringement occurred.