Pass Back to the Goalkeeper

Frank, an adult amateur fan, asks:

A deliberate back pass from far out does not reach the penalty area. The goalkeeper runs out of the area and dribbles the ball back into the area. If he then picks the ball up.  Is he guilty of an infringement?

Answer (see also “Apology” posted on July 5)

We can’t tell you how much fun we have talking about the so-called “pass back to the goalkeeper” violation and disabusing notions right and left about this commonly-misunderstood offense.  But not in this case.  This is an easy one.


All the technical requirements for this indirect free kick foul are indisputably present.  The only thing that we might quibble about is that the scenario does not expressly state that the pass was performed with the foot, i.e., kicked — hey, it could have been a header for example that launched the ball to the goalkeeper (which, if that’s what happened, means that it wasn’t an infringement).