Bing Jong, a U-12 and under player, asks:
I was in a tournament game when a ball was kicked out of bounds for a goal kick restart. We were playing on a hill so the ball rolled a decent way down it. The goalie was wasting time by taking his sweet little time to get to the ball. Was that punishable and, if it is, how?
Answer (see also “Apology” posted on July 5)
Let’s see. We’re going to take a guess that it was your team that played the ball last before it went across the goal line (not between the goal posts), for a goal kick restart. I’m also guessing that it was your opponent’s dastardly goalkeeper who took “his sweet little time” getting the ball (yes, we caught the sarcasm). Further, you have already decided that the dastardly goalkeeper was “wasting time” (which is, in fact, a decision of the referee). My final guess is that, because you didn’t say otherwise, the referee did not punish the dastardly goalkeeper at all or at least not appropriately.
Just so we understand each other here, the goalkeeper might have been moving slower than you expected or desired because he was at the top ofa hill and might not have wanted to trip, fall, and roll “a decent way down it” as the ball did. On the other hand, if he was laughing, smirking, and picking daisies on the way down, you’ve got a pretty good argument.
If the former is what happened (in the opinion of the referee), there was no time being wasted. After all, U-12 games rarely in our experience, have ball retrievers ready at an instant to get the ball back to the goal kick restart. Or, given that the ball was played on a hill, the team playing at the downhill end at each half could have had an extra ball available for just this sort of problem. If the latter were not the case or if, despite the presence of a pre-approved backup ball at the net, the goalkeeper deliberately ignored it and went traipsing “a decent way” downhill unnecessarily, then (again in the opinion of the referee) this could have been deemed time wasting, the penalty for which is a caution for “delaying the restart of play.” You might note, however, that, in the absence of any prior warning about delaying a restart, most referees early on would warn the wandering-down-the-hill goalkeeper to “get a move on!” and only show the yellow card if it seemed that the goalkeeper was deliberately ignoring the referee’s observation. Note also that the referee might base his or her opinion about the probability of time being wasted at least in part on the score at the time. After all, “wasting time” might be considered a trifling offense if it was being done by a goalkeeper whose team was behind in the score. Note finally that giving a caution will have the ironic result of further delaying the restart.
If there was misconduct here and if the referee decided a caution was appropriate, the restart would still be the original goal kick. Misconduct during a stoppage of play does not change the original restart decision.