On 10/3/11 you said “In the scenario you present, the deliberate handling by the goalkeeper outside his own penalty area, no obvious goalscoring opportunity has been denied. There is no evidence that, but for the handling by the goalkeeper, the ball would have gone into the goal. The horse is dead. Long live the horse.”

Your second sentence has no bearing on the first sentence. The law says the offense is “denying . . . a goal or an obvious goal scoring opportunity.” While I agree that a goal has not been denied (as the ball was not moving towards the goal), I am shocked to hear that an attacker in the “D” with only the keeper to beat is not an obvious goal scoring opportunity.

Which D is not ticked here?

Number of defenders: 0 not counting the offender.

Distance to goal: 20 yards. While not inside the area, it’s certainly closer than many breakaway OGSO I’ve seen called.

Distance to ball: Unclear in the scenario, but would the keeper have handled it if he wasn’t under pressure?

Direction of play: Not entirely clear, but I take “running onto play” to indicate he was in a position to shoot.”

I’m not saying it’s always a send-off when the keeper handles outside of the area (I’ve had 2 this season and not sent-off for either), but to dismiss it just because the ball isn’t moving is not consistent with the 4D philosophy.

USSF answer (October 11, 2011):
You seem to have missed the clear interpretation of DG-H provided in the original training materials for OGSO and confirmed clearly in Advice to Referees 12.37(a). Your argument is without merit.

We shall spell it out one last time (we have done this several times before). The elements of the 4 Ds may be used in determining if, in the opinion of the referee, the ball would have gone into the net but for the handling offense (e.g., the more defenders there are between the handling and the goal, the more likely it is that ONE of them at least would stop/redirect the ball on its path; the farther away the handling offense occurred from the goal, the greater is the distance the ball must travel in its path to the goal and so the more likely it is that its target area is so wide that it only encompasses the goal rather than being aimed at the goal itself; and so on).

However, the Ds when applied to DG-H are merely guidelines, not hard and fast rules as they might be when applied to DG-F. For example, the “D” related to direction of play is reduced to a simple linear vector decision — is the ball going into the net? Likewise, the “D” related to distance to ball is totally irrelevant.

The 4 Ds apply to DG-F precisely because it is an attacker who is being fouled whereas DG-H involves a foul committed WITH the ball, against the Spirit of the Game, rather than against an opponent. In the two “Ds” which were “not entirely clear,” this lack of clarity stems precisely from the simple fact that they don’t apply at all. You have defined them in a way that meets your needs, not the letter and spirit of the Law. For example, the “D” for distance to ball is DEFINED as the distance between the attacker who was fouled and where the ball was when the attacker was fouled. Because this attacker had not had possession of the ball, the question as to whether that distance was or was not great enough for the fouled attacker to continue his possession/control of the ball and thus to continue his attack is irrelevant.