I have always wondered this.

Is a goalkeeper handball determined by where the ball actually is, or where the goalkeepers body is positioned at the point of contact?

1 Answer 1


In football, the ball is the one that determined the position in the field.

So if the goalkeeper handles the ball outside of the box, it's considered a foul (handball) by the goalkeeper and a free kick should be granted to the other team.

Also, all of the body of the goalkeeper could be outside the box, but if the ball and his hands are inside, there is no foul.

This also is taken into account when granting a goal. The whole ball has to pass the goal line, and any player inside the box or even inside the goal line can try to prevent it, no matter where his body is.

  • 2
    Any source for this?
    – ediblecode
    Commented Nov 13, 2014 at 16:28
  • 3
    Law 12 is about handling. I'm looking at the laws, but couldn't find any reference for it. Since the ball is always used to determined everything in football, this come the same way.
    – gbianchi
    Commented Nov 14, 2014 at 17:05
  • You won't find any reference to this one in the Laws of The Game. It's considered "common knowledge", like a number of other rules in football. Commented Nov 16, 2014 at 20:56
  • 1
    This explanation is specified e.g. in the official interpretation of the Laws of the Game by the Czech Football Association, which states the location of the infraction is defined by the point of contact between the hand and the ball. Other football associations may have their own official interpretative documents, but this principle will be the same everywhere, I believe. (Even though it is not specified in the FIFA documents.)
    – Mormegil
    Commented Mar 20, 2015 at 21:52

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