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Goalkeeping Tips, Tidbits and Random Thoughts

An athlete talking to themsleves during competition is hardly a new phenomenon.... The talk does not have to be vocal. By merely thinking you are talking to yourself and sending a message.
   -- Tony DiCicco, Goalkeeper Soccer Training Manual

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Laws which prohibit interference with the goalkeeper

The end of the World Cup Qualifying playoff between Trinidad & Tobago and Bahrain the other day got a little ugly. An incident having to do with the goalkeeper sparked a melee that led to one Bahraini player being sent off.

The T&T goalkeeper, Kelvin Jack, had the ball and went to the top of the box, where Hussain Ali of Bahrain was standing. As Jack went to punt the ball into play, Ali kicked the ball away as it fell from Jack's hands, and went on to score the apparent equalizer. But referee Julian Oscar Ruiz Acosta correctly disallowed the goal. In the ensuing ruckus, Ali made contact with the referee and was sent off.

While the goalkeeping in many instances is given no special treatment over other players on the field, there are a few laws which prohibit interference with the goalkeeper. Had Ali known the laws, he wouldn't have even attempted the gambit in the first place:

FIFA Laws of the Game, Law 12: "An indirect free kick is also awarded to the opposing team if a player, in the opinion of the referee... prevents the goalkeeper from releasing the ball from his hands."

If that isn't sufficiently clear, add this from the 2005 FIFA Laws of the Game Questions and Answers: "As a goalkeeper releases the ball to kick it into play, an opponent intercepts it before it touches the ground. Is this permitted?

No. It is an offence to prevent a goalkeeper releasing the ball from his hands. The releasing of the ball from his hands and the kicking of the ball is considered to be a single action."

The same thing happened to Thierry Henry against Brad Friedel in the Premiership, and then too the goal was disallowed. Some pundits believe the reason for calling a foul is dangerous play, and although it may be dangerous it's not really the correct reason. In either case, the goalkeeper's team is awarded an indirect free kick.

Know the Laws, and prevent yourself and your team a lot of misery.


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