In a soccer game a player deliberately used his knee to pass the ball to the goalkeeper. The goalkeeper then picked the ball up with his hands. Does this count as a pass-back to the keeper?
What part of the body can a player use to send the ball to his/her goalkeeper and have the keeper pick it up with his/her hands? Or maybe I should ask what part of the body can’t a player use to pass the ball to the keeper if the keeper intends to pick it up?
USSF answer (November 12, 2010):
The Law is pretty clear. See the back of the Law book 2010/2011, Interpretations, Cautions for unsporting behavior:
• uses a deliberate trick while the ball is in play to pass the ball to his own goalkeeper with his head, chest, knee, etc. in order to circumvent the Law, irrespective of whether the goalkeeper touches the ball with his hands or not. The offense is committed by the player in attempting to circumvent both the letter and the spirit of law 12 and play is restarted with an indirect free kick
Even with that information, we would be remiss if we did not point out that, subject to the terms of Law 12, a player MAY pass the ball to his (or her) own goalkeeper using his head or chest or knee, etc., if he does NOT use trickery. Furthermore, just to lock it down tightly, for the misconduct offense to be called the referee must decide that the action was done to circumvent the Law. Merely observing that the ball was played from foot to head is not enough, even if the ball subsequently goes to or toward the GK. Because we are dealing with misconduct here (the “trickery”) and not the foul commonly referred to as “pass back to the ‘keeper,” we are required to evaluate the intentions of the defender.
In such circumstances, it is irrelevant whether the goalkeeper subsequently touches the ball with his hands or not. The offense is committed by the player in attempting to circumvent both the letter and the spirit of Law 12.