Situation: Attacker takes a shot on the goal. Keeper blocks the shot with his hands, and the ball bounces out of the penalty area.

Keeper runs after the ball, and plays it back into the penalty area (with his feet).

Question: If the keeper then picks up the ball with his hands, does this constitute illegal handling, punishable by IFK?

My understanding is that this question hinges on whether this was “deliberately parrying the ball”, in which case the keeper is considered to have possession and is not allowed to play the ball back into the penalty area and pick it up, or “the ball rebounds accidentally from him”, in which case the keeper does not have possession of the ball and is allowed to pick up back up inside the penalty area.

My interpretation is that this case (where the keeper intentionally moved his hands towards the ball to keep it from crossing the goal line) would fall under “deliberately parrying”.

USSF answer (July 21, 2010):
What you describe sounds more like a good defensive move than a parry, but only the referee on the game can decide for certain. Parrying is no longer seen at the higher levels of play, because it is no longer an effective tool for the goalkeeper, who has only six seconds to distribute the ball after achieving possession. “Parrying” should not be confused with making a “save.” “Parrying” occurs when the goalkeeper knowingly controls the ball with the hands by deliberately pushing it to an area where it can be played later. By parrying the ball, the goalkeeper has done two things simultaneously: (1) established control and (2) given up possession. The ball is now free for all to play and the goalkeeper may not play it again with the hands. Referees must watch carefully to see that the goalkeeper does not use a parry (disguised as a “save”) in an attempt to hide the fact that he or she has established possession.

This excerpt from the USSF publication “Advice to Referees on the Laws of the Game” may be helpful:

After relinquishing control of the ball, a goalkeeper violates Law 12 if, with no intervening contact, touch or play of the ball by a teammate or an opponent, he or she handles the ball a second time.  This includes play after parrying the ball. Referees should note carefully the text in the IGR, which defines “control” and distinguishes this from an accidental rebound or a save.

In judging a second touch with the hands by the goalkeeper, referees must take into account tactical play which may seem unsporting but is not against the Laws of the Game or even the spirit of the game. If a goalkeeper and a teammate play the ball back and forth between them, the goalkeeper can handle the ball again legally so long as the teammate has not kicked the ball to the goalkeeper.  However, of course, an opponent can challenge for the ball during such a sequence of play.  The players are “using” but not “wasting” time. The referee’s goal under these circumstances is to be close enough to manage the situation if the opposing team decides to intervene.

The “second possession” foul is punished only by an indirect free kick from the place where the goalkeeper handled the ball the second time*. Please note: A goalkeeper may never be punished with a penalty kick for deliberately handling the ball within his or her own penalty area, even if the handling is otherwise a violation of another restriction in Law 12.