I am always accessing this site for information. Even as I search for one topic I always stop to review many others that come up in a search. This time though my search did not bring up any information that I could use.
In a U14 Rec game, the goalkeeper would slide in a manner that brought his feet, and cleats first towards the attacking opponent. In various games this season the referee has warned and later yellow carded the [same] GK for this action. The GK has tried to modify his saving dives but his feet are still ahead of his hands and body and even though the cleats don’t directly point to the attacker they are visible first.
I am not the referee but rather the Soccer Director of this Rec league. The GK’s mother has come to me arguing that the referee is targeting her son for the repeated YC over the course of the season.
As a referee myself, I don’t see that the referee is making any incorrect calls here as I would follow the same actions. To me the GK is playing dangerously and the GK’s coach should be better instructing him to rid him of this dangerous bad habit. And when contact is made using this technique it is Reckless and deserves a yellow card.
I will never over rule any referee in the games they officiate in my league. But I would like to have some official information to give to this parent that clearly does not want to listen to my opinion or accept that of the referee. Also, I am a former GK myself and I know better than to slide in that fashion.
USSF answer (March 5, 2012):
There is absolutely no rule against sliding feet first if the boots are not used as weapons, but we have some difficulty visualizing a reason for a ‘keeper to be sliding feet first (particularly with “cleats first”) toward an opponent in a valid pursuit of the ball unless he was attempting to tackle the ball away with those feet. If this is NOT the case (i.e., he was trying to gain hand possession while sliding feet first toward an opponent), then his actions were clearly dangerous, if not in fact provocative. If he was performing a sliding tackle, then this action (as would equally be the case if done by a field player) would come under the guidelines that have been established for tackles of this sort — involvement of the lead leg, body used as a guided missile, trail leg involvement, combined with such misconduct elements as speed of movement, direction of attack, height of either foot above the ball, and exposure of the studs. Only the referee on the game can make the decision, no matter what guidelines the IFAB and the USSF issue.