Thinking About the Unthinkable

John, a U13 – U19 player, asks:

As a goalkeeper, I was wondering if I pick the ball up and one of my players came to applaud me and accidentally hit the ball with his hand, will that be a penalty for handball?

Answer

Shouldn’t be!  Might a Referee make such a call against your teammate for it?  Hope not!

In order to make that decision, that Referee would have to see this contact as a “deliberate act” and even your scenario called it “accidental.”  Further, before whistling, the Referee should ponder seriously the obvious question  — why would a teammate deliberately make contact with a ball held by his goalkeeper?  We suppose there could be circumstances leading to a disaffected teammate, unhappy about something his goalkeeper did or said, coming up and knocking the ball out of his goalkeeper’s hands in a fit of pique (maybe his “applauding” was sarcastic).  We hope not.

One thing we would definitely recommend to you … don’t pick the ball up as that would be a real  violation (second hand contact).  Kick it away as quickly as possible because, technically, the ball is now open for challenge by an opponent.