Situation: Goalkeeper on ground. Offensive Player on ground on goal line, attempts to kick ball, kicks goalkeeper in face. Continues to kick and kicks ball into goal.
Goal or Foul?
U9 game, the AR said he did not see goalkeeper get kicked in face. She was crying (u9) and had a mark and was removed from game due to injury. Referee counted goal.
My interpretation of Law 12 – Foul and Direct Free Kick –
if a player commits any of the following offenses in a manner considered by the referee to be careless, reckless..etc.
– Kicks or attempts to kick an opponent
USSF answer (October 5, 2009):
As you have reasoned, this player has committed the foul of kicking an opponent. While players are permitted to play the ball while on the ground, they may not place any participant (including themselves) in danger and may certainly not foul an opponent without facing punishment.
Correct referee action: Send-off for violent conduct, followed by a direct free kick for the goalkeeper’s team. This applies even for U9s.
What complicates the decision is that apparently neither the referee (or so it seems) nor the AR saw the incident. What were they doing? Clearly not watching the game very carefully. This issue essentially resolves itself into the extent to which a referee can visit a penalty (direct free kick/penalty kick, yellow/red card) upon a player for something that the referee has not seen but may suspect.
Moral of the story: Pay full attention to what is happening on the field, even at the U9 level.