When the ball is on the ground and goalkeeper has put a hand on top of the ball, can the attacker hit the ball away from under the goalkeeper's hand?

The goalkeeper just got to the ball. They aren't actually holding the ball in their hand, but rather it is on the ground and they are touching it.

3 Answers 3


IFAB's Law on indirect free kick offences says that

[a] goalkeeper is considered to be in control of the ball when:

  • the ball is between the hands or between the hand and any surface (e.g. ground, own body) or by touching it with any part of the hands or arms except if the ball rebounds accidentally from the goalkeeper or the goalkeeper has made a save

  • ...

In the situation described in the question, the goalkeeper is deemed to be in control of the ball.

The attacker would be committing a foul, since according to the same Law,

[a] goalkeeper cannot be challenged by an opponent when in control of the ball with the hands.

  • Furthermore, you don't often see people attack the ball if the keeper appears to have any sort of possession of the ball. It's a really easy way to get a straight red card, if you make any sort of rough contact (spikes to body, knock to his head, etc).
    – Nick
    Commented May 12, 2014 at 12:29

From the 2013-2014 FIFA Laws of the Game, p. 120


A goalkeeper is considered to be in control of the ball:

  • while the ball is between his hands or between his hand and any surface (e.g. ground, own body)
  • while holding the ball in his outstretched open hand
  • while in the act of bouncing it on the ground or tossing it into the air

When a goalkeeper has gained possession of the ball with his hands, he cannot be challenged by an opponent.


Restart of play

  • Indirect free kick from the position where the offence occurred (see Law 13 – Position of free kick)

Considering your scenario, if the goalkeeper has as much as a finger on the ball and it's also touching the ground, the post, another part of his body, or even the opponent (all of these are surfaces), he cannot be challenged. An indirect free kick should be awarded to the goalkeeper's team.

If it's not clear as to who made contact with the ball first, most referees will let play continue, as any infringement is doubtful.


Some referees call it a foul some do not. It depends if they have possession of the ball. Today, when playing someone got fouled when the keeper had one hand on the ball. Depends on referee.

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