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|-= LAW - 12 - INDIRECT FREE KICK =-|
|The aim of this page is to learn about Law 12 - INDIRECT FREE KICK|
The aim is of this page is how to recognize a Indirect Free Kicks; how
to deal with it, and when a punishment should be applied.
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And just to remind you - a goal cannot be
scored direct from an indirect free kick.
The Referee should signal an indirect free kick by firstly blowing his
whistle to stop play, and then pointing an outstretched arm upwards
about 45 degrees from the horizontal, and in the direction that the
indirect free kick is to be taken. Whilst the indirect free kick is
taking place, the Referee should raise an arm straight up in the air and
keep it their until the ball either goes directly out of play, or
touches another player.
Where did the Referees' Indirect Free Kick signal originate?
The Indirect Free Kick originated from the late Arthur Blythe, an
ex-FIFA referee from London. In the 1950â€™s a new a new word came into
the football vocabulary - "obstruction". Players with outstretched arms
were preventing their opponents from playing the ball and allowing it to
run out of play or to their goalkeeper. The FA in their wisdom said this
had to stop and referees were instructed to award an indirect free kick
for obstruction (the first time this term was used) anywhere on the
pitch including the penalty areas. Straight away, this caused problems
for referees. Players began crowding around the referee with "Can we
score from it?" especially when the offence occurred in the
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Difference Between a 'Direct Free Kick', An 'Indirect Free Kick' and a 'Dropped Ball':
Before we go on to look at the Indirect Free Kick offences, it can
sometimes be difficult for new trainee Referees to differentiate between
a 'Direct free kick', an 'Indirect Free Kick or a 'Dropped Ball'
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Indirect Free Kick against Goalkeeper Inside his own Penalty Area:
(Law 12) An indirect free kick is awarded to the opposing team if a
goalkeeper, inside his own penalty area, commits any of the following
- 2. Goalkeeper touches the ball again with his hands after it has been
released from his possession and has not touched any other player.
- 3. Goalkeeper touches the ball with his hands after it has been
deliberately kicked to him by a teammate.
The 1992/1993 Law change stated:
- 4. Goalkeeper touches the ball with his hands after he has received it directly from a throw-in taken by a teammate
If the goalkeeper (GK) touches the ball inside his penalty area with his hands after he has received it directly from a throw-in taken by a team-mate the restart is an INDIRECT FREE-KICK to be taken from the place where the goalkeeper handled the ball.If the goalkeeper (GK) touches the ball outside of his penalty area with his hands after he has received it directly from a throw-in taken by a teammate the restart is a DIRECT FREE-KICK to be taken from the place where the goalkeeper handled the ball. ~ Remember - once the goalkeeper leaves his penalty area - he becomes another outfield player
The goalkeeper is allowed to touch and play the ball with his feet (or
with his head or chest etc.), having received it directly from a
throw-in by a colleague. It is only when the goalkeeper handles the ball
that it becomes an offence.
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Further Four Indirect Free Kick Offences:
Law 12: An indirect free kick is also awarded to the opposing team if a player, in the opinion of the Referee commits the following four offences:
- 1. Plays in a dangerous manner
This is usually referred to as 'dangerous play'. The Referee and the
Referee alone is responsible for deciding what is 'dangerous play' (with
the help of any Assistant Referees) . Always err on the side of caution
when dealing with this offence. Players are usually receptive if you
offer them protection, albeit that you will sometimes receive some moans
from the perpetrators about whether or not an incident was dangerous or
- 2. Impedes the progress of an opponent
- 3. Prevents the goalkeeper from releasing the ball from his hands
- 4. Commits any
other offence, not previously mentioned in Law 12, for which play is
stopped to caution or dismiss a player.
The indirect free kick is taken from where the offence occurred.
The following are some (on the field of play) examples of when the
Referee should restart the game with an Indirect Free Kick:
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Some... Questions & Answers:
Question 1: What action
should the Referee take when a defender (Number 3) taking a goal kick,
kicks the ball to his goalkeeper (GK) who is standing outside of the
A direct free kick should be awarded if the goalkeeper picks the ball up outside of his penalty area.Question 2: A goalkeeper takes a goal kick. He purposefully 'chips' the ball up into he air onto the head of a colleague standing just outside of the penalty area. The colleague deliberately heads the ball back to the goalkeeper inside the penalty area. The goalkeeper catches the ball and quickly kicks it up field. What should the Referee do - if anything?
Answer 2: Award an indirect free kick to the opposing team at the place where the goalkeeper caught the ball. Why you may think ??. Both the goalkeeper and his colleague are guilty of circumventing the spirit of the so called 'back-pass rule' - and should be penalized. This is another attempt by the players to circumvent the Law 12 stipulation......." to penalize if a (goalkeeper touches the ball with his hands after it has been deliberately kicked to him by a team-mate)".
Question 3: A defending player standing just outside of his penalty area purposefully lifts the ball up into the air and heads it directly back to his goalkeeper who catches the ball inside his penalty area. What should the Referee do - if anything?
Answer 3: Again - award an indirect free kick to the opposition at the place where the goalkeeper caught the ball. Why you may think again??. Both the defender and goalkeeper are again guilty of circumventing the spirit of the back-pass rule - and should be penalized.
Question 4: A defender intentionally passes the ball back to his goalkeeper. The goalkeeper controls the ball with his feet and THEN picks it up. Is this a so called 'back-pass 'foul?"
Answer 4: Yes. The goalkeeper is not allowed to touch the ball with his hands if it has been deliberately kicked to him by one of his teammates. And neither can he dribble the ball outside of his penalty area, dribble it back in again, and then pick the ball up. No time limit applies to these infractions, and the punishment is to award an indirect free kick to the attacking team at the place where the goalkeeper picked up (or handled the ball). There is nothing the a goalkeeper can do to void or reset a deliberate 'back-pass' situation.
If a goalkeeper handles or picks up a ball last touched by an attacking opponent, then it is not an infringement. But if the goalkeeper picks the ball up, and then puts the ball back on the ground and picks it up again - this is touching the ball a second time. The punishment for touching the ball a second time before it has been touched by another player, is to award an indirect free kick to the attacking team at the place where the goalkeeper picked up (or handled the ball) a second time. Once the goalkeeper has controlled the ball and released it, he is not allowed to touch the ball again with his hands until another player has touched it.
This stipulation in the Laws is to prevent time wasting by goalkeepers and to make the game faster.Question 5: If a goalkeeper picks the ball up from a deliberate 'back pass' by a team-mate, which may have led to a goal scoring opportunity - what would be the correct course of action from the Referee ?.
Answer 5: Denying a goal by deliberate handling refers to situations where the ball would enter the goal but is stopped from doing so by a defender (other than the goalkeeper). There is nothing in the Laws to specifically state that the goalkeeper must be sent off for handling the ball from a 'back pass' (even if it prevented a goal scoring opportunity). As the ball was clearly in control of the goalkeeper and not the oncoming player, this is not an offence committed against that opponent which denies that opponent an obvious goal scoring opportunity â€“ the offence is committed by the goalkeeper on himself!. The restart is an indirect free kick to the attacking team at the place where the goalkeeper touched the ball with his hands. Goal scoring opportunities refer to fouls made on attacking players, and when a defending player (not the goalkeeper) handles a goal bound shot. It does not cover those instances when a player commits an infringement by himself, such as touching the ball a second time, or when the goalkeeper handles a ball received directly from a team-mate taking a throw-in (or from a deliberate 'back-pass'). An indirect free kick is awarded in all instances. These incidents are not deemed by Law to be preventing an opponent from scoring an obvious goal. (Even though they might be!)
Question 6: What should the Referee do, if an attacking player heads the ball from a goalkeeper who is only holding the ball with one hand? Is a goalkeeper who is holding the ball with only one hand, deemed to have the ball in his possession or not?
Answer 6: Let's look at it from another angle. Supposing the goalkeeper only had one arm (and this is not unknown) what would you give then? Of course the goalkeeper still has possession when he is holding the ball with one hand. Possession does not rely on the number of hands a goalkeeper has on the ball, it is just plain possession! The Referee should stop the game and restart with an indirect free kick to the goalkeeper's team.
Question 7: During an indirect free kick, the goalkeeper fingertips the ball into the net. Is the Goal allowed?
Answer 7: Of course it is a goal. Law 13 covering Indirect Free Kicks clearly states:" "A goal can be scored only if the ball subsequently touches another player before it enters the goal. "A touch includes "keeper finger tips the ball into the net".
Question 8: I remember seeing a goalkeeper holding the ball, who was wasting time by waving all the players away to prepare for a long kick. He then dropped the ball and dribbled it slightly out of the penalty area where he waited until an attacking player ran to put pressure on him. He eventually aimed a long kick downfield. He did this repeatedly and the Referee did have words with him eventually. I know that if a goalkeeper holds the ball in his hands for over a certain amount of time, it is an offence - but what is the ruling for this sort of thing when the ball is technically 'in play' at the goalkeeper's feet. Or is it just left to Referee's discretion?
Answer 8: Before Season 2001/2002, Law 12 stated that an indirect free kick was to be awarded if a goalkeeper in his own penalty area "wastes time". Now this was taken literally by some Referees who gave an indirect free kick if they though that the goalkeeper was 'wasting time', even if the ball was at the goalkeepers feet so long as he was inside his own penalty area.
Notwithstanding the above, the words "wastes time" were removed from Law 12, and the only delay refers to the six seconds allowed when the goalkeeper has the ball in his hands. In other words, the goalkeeper can keep the ball at his feet for as long as he likes.
Question 9: During a supposed deliberate 'back-pass', is the Referee obliged to answer the goalkeeper's question "Can I pick the ball up Ref.?"
Answer 9: The Referee is not there to answer Law questions on the legality of certain moves during a game. These situations very often occur when the ball is on its way back to a goalkeeper, and the goalkeeper openly asks the Referee whether he can pick the ball up or not (i.e. to avoid confusion over whether the pass was a deliberate 'back-pass' or not). In such cases, the Referee should not offer advice or a running commentary on how the game should be played doing so, gives the defending team an unfair advantage over the attacking team.
Tip: If a pass is going towards the goalkeeper and the Referee has decided that it is a deliberate 'back-pass' by a team-mate, then the Referee should run towards the goalkeeper - so that if the goalkeeper picks the ball up, the Referee will be near to the incident if he needs to stop play. Conversely, if the Referee decides that the ball is not a deliberate 'back-pass,' the Referee should move away from the goalkeeper (so long as there is not any anticipated trouble). These two moves in themselves should help players understand what the Referee may give, without the Referee having to speak. It also allows the Referee to get closer, when anticipating a possible infringement by the goalkeeper.
Question 10: If the ball is kicked into the goal (on a indirect or direct free kick) by the attacking team and it
did touch another player, but never left the penalty box, would that be considered a goal?
Answer 10: If an attacking team takes an indirect free kick inside the defenders' penalty area, a goal is awarded if the ball enters the goal after it deflects, or is touched in by another player. The ball does not have to leave the penalty area in this instance before a goal can be scored. A goal cannot be scored direct from an indirect free kick (the ball has to touch another player).
It is impossible for an attacking team to be awarded a direct free kick inside the defending team's penalty area - this would be a penalty kick.
Question 11: Does the ball have to leave the penalty area, if a free kick is taken inside the penalty box, before it can be in play again and become a goal regardless of who actually kicks it in?
Answer 11: When an attacking team takes an indirect free kick inside its opponent's penalty area, the ball comes into play as soon as the ball is kicked and moves. Therefore, a goal can be scored without the ball having to first leave the penalty area. (Don't forget that a goal cannot be scored direct from an indirect free kick. In other words, the ball has to touch another player before it enters the goal).
When a defending team takes a free kick inside its own penalty area, no other player is allowed to touch the ball until it leaves the penalty area - the ball comes into play as soon as it leaves the penalty area (and not before.)
Question 12: The goalkeeper accidentally loses his boot, and it lands inside the goal area. An attacking player takes a shot, and the ball hits the displaced goalkeeper's boot and is deflected wide of the goal (the initial shot was goal-bound). What action should the Referee take?
Answer 12: As the misplaced boot was entirely an accident, the goalkeeper should not be penalized. Consider the situation where a goalkeeper (when moving across his goal line) unbeknowingly lifts a sod of turf out of the ground that subsequently deflects the ball out for a goal kick. The restart in both situations should be a goal kick. A dropped ball restart could be considered â€“ but as the boot (and the sod!) was not in reality an outside interference, the goal kick is correct restart. As the misplaced boot at that particular time, was not connected with the goalkeeper, a corner cannot be given. This is a case of Law 18 Common Sense coming into play. Any other decision, would not give the goalkeeper a leg to stand on!
Question 13: A goalkeeper in attempting to stop a deliberate 'back pass' from a colleague, 'fly-kicks' at the ball that is on its way into the goal. The goalkeeper's boot flies off his foot and deflects the ball wide of the goal. What action should the Referee take?
Answer 13: ~ Same as the above question
Question 14: It was a very windy day. A defending player deliberately passes the ball to his goalkeeper. The goalkeeper then kicks the ball up field into the wind. The ball travels about 10 -15 yards (m) outside of the goalkeeper's penalty area, then a strong gust of wind blows the ball back into the penalty area towards the goal. It has not been touched by anybody else, and the goalkeeper picks the ball up. Is this still deemed to be the offence of handling the ball from a deliberate back-pass?
Answer 14: Firstly, the back pass was 'deliberate'. So the goalkeeper knows he cannot touch it with his hands until it has touched another player (no matter how many touches of the ball the goalkeeper has with his feet).
OK... so let's say he traps the ball, kicks it a few paces in front of him, and then picks it up.
Law 12 states that an indirect free kick is awarded to the attacking team if the goalkeeper touches the ball with his hands after it has been deliberately kicked to him by a teammate. Straightforward 'Indirect free kick'.
Now, if the goalkeeper traps the ball and kicks it outside of his penalty area and then picks it up. Direct Free kick. So far so good!!!
Now does it matter in Law how far the ball goes, or whether the wind blows it back or not. NO. I don't
The fact is, is that the goalkeeper touched the ball with his hands after it was deliberately kicked to him by a teammate.
Indirect Free Kick to the attacking team at the place where the goalkeeper touched the ball with his hands. This is no different to when a goalkeeper slices the ball after a pass-back and then picks it up. There is no distance stipulation that the ball has to be kicked in the Laws that negates having to award an indirect free kick.
It is also no different to a goalkeeper standing 1 yard (m) inside his penalty area, receiving a back-pass, kicking it 1 yard (m) outside of his area, and then blown back in by the wind and he touches it with his hands. It is not the distance that counts but the Law.
Question 15: If a goalkeeper, who has caught the ball by cradling it in his arms, accidentally drops the ball out of his arms and onto the floor, is the goalkeeper allowed to pick the ball up again without being penalized?
Answer 15: Law 12 states that the goalkeeper is not allowed to touch the ball again with his hands after if has been released from his possession. In this case, the Referee must decide whether the ball was accidentally dropped when it was initially caught, or deliberately released by the goalkeeper. If the Referee believes that possession of the ball was lost because the goalkeeper had mishandled the incoming shot, then the Referee should allow the goalkeeper to pick the ball up. If the Referee is unsure whether the goalkeeper dropped the ball deliberately or dropped the ball intentionally, then the Referee should allow the goalkeeper the benefit of the doubt, and allow play to continue. The goalkeeper should only be penalized if the Referee thinks that the goalkeeper had initially gained possession of the ball but purposefully released it, and then picked it up a second time before another player touched the ball. If a goalkeeper gains possession of the ball and subsequently accidentally drops it, then the goalkeeper should not be allowed to handle it a second time (just because it was an accident).
Question 16: If a goalkeeper controls the ball by balancing it on his head (using a gentle rolling action to keep it in place), is he deemed to have it under his possession, and is an opposing player allowed to challenge him?
Answer 16: This is a clever question that paradoxically has a simple answer.
The only thing that a goalkeeper can use in his penalty area, that other players canâ€™t, are his hands. Apart from that, he is just the same as any other player.
So ask yourself this. If a player (not a goalkeeper) had the ball balancing on top of his head - is another player legally entitled to make a play for it (for example, by jumping up and heading it off)?
Of course he is.
And the same goes for a daft goalkeeper who balances the ball on his fizzog!.
As soon as the goalkeeper releases the ball from his hands, it becomes fair game for an attacking player to make a play for it. So if he decides to place it on the top of his head, it is very likely that it is not only the ball that will be knocked off his shoulders!
Question 17: In a recent U14 match, the goalkeeper made a dive for the ball that bounced off the side post. While on the ground, the keeper made an effort to scramble for the ball and reached out for it, maybe touching the side (not the top) of the ball with one hand. The attacker got to the ball at the same time and hit the ball into the net. What, in your opinion, is "control of the ball"? I am all for protecting the keeper from dangerous challenges, but the Referee explained to me that he has possession even if he has a pinkie finger or even an elbow contacting the ball. Please help me understand this?
Is an attacking player allowed to kick for the ball if the goalkeeper has attempted to dive on the ball, but is not yet in control of the ball?
Answer 17: Although goalkeepers must be especially protected by Referees, an attacking player is allowed to challenge for the ball and may attempt to play the ball as long as it is not in possession of the goalkeeper - providing that (in the opinion of the Referee) the challenge on the goalkeeper is not dangerous (reckless, careless or using excessive force).
A goalkeeper is considered to have possession of the ball if he has the ball trapped on the ground with as little much as one finger on the ball.
A goalkeeper has possession of the ball, and should not be challenged anytime that he has a part of his body (hand, fingertip, chest, nose, etc.) in contact with the ball (this does not include when the goalkeeper has the ball at his feet when he is considered fair-game to a challenge by an attacking player).
Whether or not the goalkeeper has possession of the ball or not, any significant contact by an attacker on the goalkeeper may be deemed a foul. Any attempt by an attacker to kick the ball whilst it is in possession of the goalkeeper would be a foul. One of the Referee's responsibilities is to keep the game safe and to especially protect the vulnerable goalkeepers.
However, if a goalkeeper is not actually touching the ball, then the ball becomes fair game for an attacking opponent, so long as the opponent is not guilty of dangerous play (For example, placing his leg and boot near the goalkeeper's face).
Possession of the ball means having control of the ball. The Referee decides whether a goalkeeper has possession of the ball or not. The easiest way to define this, is to understand that possession is not determined by the amount of body mass that the goalkeeper has to use on the ball, in order for it to be in his possession. He can use one finger, two fingers, one hand, two hands or his whole body to gain possession of the ball.
The difficulty that the Referee has, is in deciding the exact moment when a diving goalkeeper actually has possession of the ball. This can be very difficult to define, when both an attacking player and the goalkeeper are stretching for the ball and make contact at virtually the same time. Considering the vulnerability of goalkeepers, Referees should err on the side of the goalkeeper when making these decisions.
When a goalkeeper makes a save with his hands (or finger), and he does not catch, or gain possession of the ball cleanly, he is not deemed to be in possession of the ball and an attacking player is entitled to make a play for the ball (so long as it is not done dangerously). The goalkeeper is also not in possession of the ball, when he fumbles the ball or drops the ball or has it knocked away by an attacking opponent before he has it properly under his control.
Possession of the ball by the goalkeeper includes, when he has it under control when bouncing it to the ground or when releasing the ball into play. So if whilst bouncing the ball to the ground an attacking player challenges the goalkeeper for the ball - this is illegal because the ball is still deemed to be in the possession of the goalkeeper
There should be no 'roughing-up' of a goalkeeper once he gains possession of the ball.
The ultimate way of understanding if a goalkeeper can possess the ball by just using one finger, is to imagine the goalkeeper standing upright, with the ball at his feet, and one of his fingers pressing down on the top of the ball. This is possession, the same as if he was stretched out on the ground with one finger on the top of the ball.
Question 18: When an injury occurs, one of the teams will very often kick the ball out of play for a throw-in, to allow treatment to be quickly administered to the injured player. The team taking the throw-in usually gives the ball back to the team who 'sportingly' kicked it out. This is a form of sportsmanship that exists in the game. What can the Referee do, if instead of gently throwing the ball back to the opposing team, the team taking the throw-in, keep possession and go on to score a goal?
Answer 18: This actually happened during an Arsenal v Sheffield Wednesday quarterfinal match in the FA Cup (2000/2001) here in England. On receiving the ball from an opponent's throw in, after the ball was deliberately kicked out to allow an injury to be treated, instead of the Arsenal player Kanu passing the ball back gently to the Sheffield Wednesday goalkeeper (as he sportingly should have done), he passed it into the Sheffield Wednesday penalty area to colleague Marc Overmars who promptly scored whilst the goalkeeper was out of position and awaiting the ball to be passed gently back to him. As you can imagine, 'all Hell let lose'. The Referee could do nothing about it, because no Law had been infringed. The game was completed with the final score being 2-1 to Arsenal.
In the post-match conference, the Arsenal manager Arsen Venga sportingly said "There is nothing for it but to replay the match."
The English FA said no, the result of the game should stand. Arsenals subsequently responded by stating that they would vacate the victory and withdraw from the FA Cup entirely â€“ rather than be known as cheats. The FA relented, and allowed the match to be re-played. Arsenal won the re-play 2-0, and fair play was seen to be done.
Kanu, (a foreigner to England) who was making his debut, later said: "I was very sad about what happened against Sheffield United. I didn't know when I took the ball and played it for Marc Overmars to score that it should have been given to Sheffield instead. I wanted to explain that to people right away and thankfully we then had the chance to make up for it in a replay."
In situations like this, the Referee is not able to use the Laws to disallow the goal. The only loophole is if the Referee actually hears a player actually telling the thrower, that he will kick the ball back to the opposing goalkeeper â€“ and then subsequently cheats by either scoring a goal, or passing to a colleague. In this case, the Referee can stop play to administer a caution, and restart with an indirect free kick to the opposing team. (Law 12: An indirect free kick is also awarded to the opposing team if a player, in the opinion of the Referee commits any other offence, not previously mentioned in Law 12, for which play is stopped to caution or dismiss a player.)
Question 19: Just exactly what is dangerous play?
Answer 19: Committing dangerous play is not by itself an offence (for example completing a scissors kick when no other player is near). A dangerous act becomes dangerous when in the opinion of the Referee, the action (a) is dangerous to an opponent, (b) the action was committed with an opponent very close by, and (b) the dangerous nature of the action caused the opponent to falter in his play, and was thus unfairly disadvantaged.
The key is that "dangerous" in Law, refers to the potential for danger. The Direct Free Kick fouls include actually delivering (or attempting to deliver) contact of some sort. Dangerous play recognizes the potential danger to an opponent, and the award of an Indirect Free kick is a way of causing the opponent to modify his/her play to maintain safety.
(Thanks to Karl Arps for the above excellent paragraph description of dangerous play.)
Players would not normally be cautioned for dangerous play (unless the dangerous play is the culmination of a number of other persistent fouls committed by the same player). However, if a player continues to play in an uncontrolled and dangerous manner, the Referee may caution him for "unsporting behavior".
The Referee should stop play when a dangerous act adversely effects the progress of an opponent who will normally cease challenging for the ball in order to avoid receiving an injury as a direct result of the other player's dangerous action. Because fouls (dangerous play) may only be committed only against opponents - playing in a manner considered to be dangerous when only a teammate is nearby is not actually a foul. Contact is not necessary for dangerous play to be penalized - on the contrary if contact does occur during a dangerous play situation, the Referee can penalize the more serious (Direct Free Kick) foul of kicking, studs-up, tripping, illegal charging etc.
An indirect free kick is awarded when a player, 'plays in a dangerous manner'. Dangerous play by defenders in their own penalty area against an opponent is penalized by an indirect free kick and not a penalty. The Referee is the sole judge as to exactly what constitutes dangerous play. Football is a contact sport, and the Laws allow players to compete without danger to them - so long as they respect the 'letter' and the 'spirit of the Laws'. The Referee judges the question of danger as it happens, and the question of danger rests entirely on his opinion.
Goalkeepers are very often exposed to dangerously challenges - Referees will normally attempt to provide the goalkeeper with special protection against such challenges and are more likely to penalize an attacker for dangerous play when a collision involves the goalkeeper. This is an accepted modern part of the game that has without doubt prevented many very serious injuries to goalkeepers.
The following are examples of what may constitute 'dangerous play':
- (a) Tackling with one foot lifted from the ground. This action is not always considered dangerous - players very often use the sole of their foot as an effective means of controlling a ball passed to them. If the Referee feels that a player has raised his foot, and this action endangers an opponent, then the Referee should stop play immediately and award an indirect free kick against that player. If a player contesting for the ball, purposefully goes over the top of the ball with his foot and makes contact with an opponent's leg - this is serious play (direct free kick) and not dangerous play (indirect free kick). European Referees are very particular about penalizing players for tackling with one high foot. Referees in England are less particular, and will only penalize players if there is a definite danger to opponents. The most common instance when the Referee will penalize players for dangerous play, is when a player lifts his foot very high in the air in an attempt to kick the ball which is very near an opponent's face. Players are normally receptive to this type of protection from the Referee. Players kicking the ball with their foot going above their waist is not by itself dangerous. It is only dangerous if there is another player who almost gets kicked in the face (or body) when the ball is challenged for.
- (b) Tackling by sliding. With the advent of the Law 12 change in season 1998/1999 where 'a tackle from behind which endangers the safety of an opponent must be sanctioned as serious foul play' (a Direct Free Kick offence) - the use of the slide tackle has lessened dramatically. A slide tackle carried out with one or both legs outstretched can be allowed - but not if committed from behind. A player making a slide tackle from some distance can be construed as being dangerous, and if contact is made with an opponent, then there is a large element of danger to the opponent. A player making a slide tackle from some distance knows that if he misses the ball, he may bring down his opponent. If he does bring down his opponent, then this is a tripping offence (direct free kick) and not dangerous play (indirect free kick). Slide tackles can be allowed if made from the side and contact is made cleanly with the ball and not the player. An indirect free kick should be awarded when a slide tackle is made from some distance, and the tackler makes no contact with the ball or the player, but his action constitutes a potential danger to the opponent. Opponents are very adept at riding tackles (jumping over sliding tackles) - this does not mean that the Referee should ignore such tackles. The Referee can allow 'advantage' when sliding tackles do not contact or effect the flow of play for the opposing team. Of course, the Referee should have a strong word (or caution) the perpetrator at the next convenient moment. A player committing a sliding tackle with the sole purpose of inflicting damage on an opponent (even if he makes contact with the ball first) can be construed as 'serious foul play' and punished by a 'sending-off' depending on the severity of the tackle. I have seen many occasions when players who are looking for retribution, make violent sliding tackles against opponents, in the hope that the Referee will allow such action as part of the game itself. Be aware of players exacting this punishment on opponents. Serious foul play is "serious foul play" (a Direct Free Kick offence) so do not be duped into thinking that such action can be masked by players attempting revenge within the Laws of the Game - because it does not exist - and is not allowed. A Referee who allows such action to go unpunished will quickly lose control of a match - players will very quickly realize that they can make serious fouls without worrying about being punished by the weak Referee.
Note: Tripping does not necessarily have to be instigated by the use of a foot. Tripping or attempting to trip an opponent includes situations were a player uses his body to unbalance or upend an opponent. Referees must carefully distinguish between the act of accidentally tripping from that of being deliberately tripped by an opponent. Deliberate tripping or attempting to trip is an offence, if it is clearly directed at an opponent and causes the opponent to falter or fall. Players may trip over themselves, or accidentally fall over an opponent as a result of natural play - and in these instances - no infringement of the Law has been committed.
- (c) The "Scissors" kick. The very best goals ever scored emanate from execution of this very difficult and exciting maneuver. Players attempting a 'scissors' kick can put an opponent's head at risk. The 'scissors' kick is normally done within the penalty area where there are likely to be other players in the near vicinity of the kicker. A 'scissors' kick entails the kicker lifting his feet very high in the air to project the ball backward from the direction he is facing. A 'scissors' kick is not an offence in itself - it is only dangerous when the kicker's feet come into close proximity with an opponent's face (or body) when the kick is being executed. The Referee according to the situation in which the â€˜scissorsâ€™ kick is being performed must judge the danger. If there are no other players near, then the 'scissors' kicker should not be penalized - as no dangerous offence has been committed.
- (d) Dangerous play against the goalkeeper. When a goalkeeper has gained possession of the ball in his hands, opponents should not attempt to challenge him, or block his momentum as he attempts to release the ball back into play. It can be most annoying when players try to block the goalkeeperâ€™s path by moving to and fro in front of him, or by lifting a foot in front of the goalkeeper whilst he is attempting to punt the ball up field. An indirect free kick should be awarded to the goalkeeper if an opponent infringes the goalkeeper in this manner. Law 12 states that an indirect free kick is to be awarded if an opponent prevents the goalkeeper from releasing the ball from his hands. Another form of dangerous play is when the ball is fired towards the goalkeeper, and an attacker dangerously challenges the goalkeeper (or attempts to reach for the ball with an outstretched foot) when the goalkeeper has dived along the floor and has gained possession of the ball with his hands - these incidents can be very dangerous for the goalkeeper.
- (e) Dangerous play by the goalkeeper. Goalkeepers have a nasty habit when an attacker is approaching nearby, of purposefully raising one of their boots when coming out to catch a high ball. This is supposed to be a warning by the goalkeeper to the attacking player "not to come too near again when challenging for the ball". This is a dangerous act by the goalkeeper and should be punished by an indirect free kick to the attacking team. Nevertheless, this infringement is very rarely given against a goalkeeper. The Referee should at the very least have a strong word with the goalkeeper at the next suitable opportunity - to warn him about using such dangerous foot raising tactics when an opponent is close by. If the goalkeeper commits this act again (after being warned by the Referee) then the Referee has no option but to caution the goalkeeper for dangerous play and award an indirect free kick to the attacking team. If all Referees stamped down on such behavior, then it would not happen - goalkeepers would soon get the message!
Question 20: If a goalkeeper in his own penalty area holds the ball in his hands for more than six seconds, what action should the Referee take?
Answer 20: The Referee should stop play and award an indirect free kick to the opposing team at the place where the goalkeeper was standing when the six-second time limit expired. If the goalkeeper was standing in his goal area, then the free kick should be taken from that part of the goal area line that runs parallel to the goal line, at the point nearest to where the infringement occurred.
Question 21: A goalkeeper who has had possession of the ball in his hands for 6 seconds, is just about to punt the ball up the field. An attacking player runs in front of the goalkeeper and prevents release of the ball. Should the Referee penalize the goalkeeper for holding on to the ball for too long (more than 6 seconds), and award an indirect free kick to the attacking team?
Answer 21: Certainly not. The attacking player committed the offence. Law 12 states that an indirect free kick is to be awarded if an opponent prevents the goalkeeper from releasing the ball from his hands. The goalkeeper should not be penalized for being prevented in releasing the ball by an infringement committed on him by an opponent. The goalkeeper has the right to release the ball without being obstructed by an opposing player.
Question 22: Can a Referee use his notebook to note a player's number and name, as a warning for a foul committed?
Answer 22: The Referee should never get his notebook out unless he was going to use it for a caution or a sending off. Using the notebook to formally warn and note a player's name is NOT what Referees are taught to do (it is definitely not the 'done thing'). In fact, revealing the notebook in this way is tantamount to a threat to the player concerned. Although the sentiments are understood, Referees should stick to the tried and tested method, of giving a clear message to players, that when the notebook comes out, it is "either a caution or a sending off". Using the notebook to note down warnings will cause problems. When the next Referee officiates the same team next week, what is the same player going to say to the Referee when he gets his notebook out?
I'll say anything he can to dissuade that Referee from putting his name in the book.
"Because the Referee last week only used it to issue a warning".
Question 23: When a goalkeeper who has released the ball at his feet, purposefully picks it up again to prevent an oncoming nearby challenging attacker gaining possession and shooting towards goal. Should the Referee Send off the goalkeeper for denying a goal scoring opportunity and restart with an indirect free kick, or should the Referee just give the goalkeeper a caution and restart with an indirect free kick for touching the ball a second time after he has released it.
Answer 23: As the ball was clearly in control of the goalkeeper and not the oncoming player, it is not a clear goal scoring opportunity. An indirect free kick should be awarded. The additional punishment of a caution is not automatic. If the Referee considers that the goalkeeper has gained an unfair advantage over his opponent, he would judge this as unsporting behavior and caution him.
When a goalkeeper handles the ball whilst in his own penalty area, in violation of the laws as in this question, the punishment is an indirect free kick and not a penalty kick.
Because a goalkeeper is allowed to handle the ball in his own penalty area, he can not therefore be sent off for stopping an obvious goal scoring opportunity by illegal use of his hands in his own penalty area. (The goalkeeper can of course be sent off for stopping an obvious goal scoring opportunity by other fouls, or if he stops an obvious goal scoring opportunity by handling the ball outside of his penalty area).
This is the end of the Law 12 Indirect Free Kick page.
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