I recently refereed a playoff game and the following situation arose:
The defending goalkeeper stepped out the 18 yard box prior to punting the ball. I called for an indirect free kick for the attacking team as I thought that it was unintentional. Was this the right call? none of the coaches caught it but myslaf and the AR’s had a discussion that it could have been a direct kick with a possibility of a sending off for deliberate hand ball.
Please advise as if i made a mistake, I do not want to make the same one again.
USSF answer (November 3, 2008):
It makes no difference where the goalkeeper’s feet were when the ball was kicked. What is important is when the goalkeeper released the ball to kick it. If that occurred when the ‘keeper’s hands were inside or on the penalty area line, then no infringement occurred and no verbal announcement of any sort is necessary.
If the ball was not released until after the goalkeeper’s hands were outside the penalty area, then the proper restart is a direct free kick, not an indirect free kick.
And, just for clarification’s sake, there is no such thing as “a possibility of a sending off for deliberate hand ball” unless the goalkeeper handled the ball outside his penalty area to prevent it from going into the net.