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Goal Keeper Handling and Misconduct

Simon Mignolet

Simon Mignolet (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In the 79th minute of the April 20 Sunderland-Everton match, Sunderland’s Larsson possessed a ball near mid-field and sent a strike on his own net. Sunderland keeper Mignolet had to leap to catch the ball and keep it from entering for an own goal. So what did Referee Phil Dowd have? Was this a “back pass” violation?

The “back pass” violation, like “hand ball”, is shorthand for the uninitiated. We referees recognize that there is no Law prohibiting a pass back to the keeper. There is not even a Law that prohibits the keeper from picking up a pass from a teammate – unless the pass was kicked deliberately by the foot of the teammate (we note also that the GK cannot pick up a throw-in from a teammate).A GK may handle a ball that is played (without trickery) by the head, chest, thigh, knee or shin of a teammate – in fact any legal touch by a teammate on a ball in play except a touch by the foot.

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