I’m sure that you have gotten a number of these emails in recent weeks due to the Eduardo issue in the Champions League, and more particularly the ruling by the UEFA today. I would like to know what the rules are at the professional level on contact in the box by a keeper and what warrants a penalty and/or booking.

As I watch the limited replay views that I have of the Eduardo “Dive” I do understand that he went down exceptionally easy although at the same time I question whether the calf of his trailing leg was hit causing him to fall or at least causing him to have a warranted reason to attempt to dive. With that in mind I also notice that there was no Ball Contact by the keeper in the Eduardo case either. This makes me wonder does ball contact have anything to do with a ruling on whether or not a player should or should not be penalised?

USSF answer (September 2, 2009):
The following standard applies at all levels of the game: Simulation occurs when the player “attempts to deceive the referee by feigning injury or pretending to have been fouled.” Whether the contact would or would not have caused the player to fall is relevant to a decision about a foul, but not to a decision about misconduct. In other words, the caution is for faking or exaggerating — where the faking is usually focused on whether a foul occurred whereas the exaggerating is often focused on whether a foul went beyond “careless” and should be carded. A player might well have been fouled (i. e., the contact did indeed unfairly cause him to fall), but if he then screams, moans, groans, rolls, etc. in an attempt to “sell” a card, then it is included as a cautionable offense. In all cases, we are punishing efforts to con the referee into a favorable decision — which could be to call a foul that wasn’t or to card for a true foul that didn’t involve misconduct. Of course no professional player would attempt to con the referee to gain a penalty kick from an opportunity that was clearly already lost, right?

The goalkeeper is liable to commit the same fouls as any other player on the field. If the goalkeeper trips or pushes or commits any other foul against an opponent, then he or she should be punished.

We could not possibly comment in any case on the UEFA ruling.

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