9

It is illegal for the keeper to pick up the ball if a player on his team kicked the ball to him. On the other hand, he can pick it up if the player headed the ball to him instead.

Combining these two, if a player were to flick the ball up to himself, and then head the ball to his own keeper, can the goalie pick it up, or would that still be considered a backpass?

  • You'd probably still caution the same player as before (the one actually trying to play it to the keeper), but I'm not 100% sure. I am, however, quite sure that the rule applies when it's more than one player involved, as it's certainly a way of circumventing the laws of the game, and that kind of behaviour has to be dealt with. Consider a scenario where the goalie has the ball at his feet, not in a position to pick it up. If he'd then flick it to a team mate, so that he can head it back - that has to be a violation. I'm quite sure this scenario appeared in a "referee-test" a couple of years a – Qvist May 4 '15 at 6:46
11

This is not considered a "backpass" offence.

However, by attempting to circumvent the restriction on the goalkeeper handling the ball after it has been deliberately kicked to him by the defender, the defender has committed an act of trickery. It is irrelevant as to whether the goalkeeper ends up handling the ball.

As soon as the defender heads the ball towards the goalkeeper, play should be stopped and the defender should be cautioned for unsporting behaviour. The restart is an indirect free kick to the opponents from where the defender was standing when they headed the ball towards the goalkeeper.

The relevant section in the 2014/15 FIFA Laws of the Game is on p. 123:

Cautions for unsporting behaviour

There are different circumstances when a player must be cautioned for unsporting behaviour, e.g. if a player:

...

  • uses a deliberate trick while the ball is in play to pass the ball to his own goalkeeper with his head, chest, knee, etc. in order to circumvent the Law, irrespective of whether the goalkeeper touches the ball with his hands or not. The offence is committed by the player in attempting to circumvent both the letter and the spirit of Law 12 and play is restarted with an indirect free kick
  • uses a deliberate trick to pass the ball to his own goalkeeper to circumvent the Law while he is taking a free kick (after the player is cautioned, the free kick must be retaken)
  • As soon as the defender heads the ball towards the goalkeeper, play should be stopped and the defender should be cautioned for unsporting behaviour.This is interesting, because how often do we see an defender heading back a long high ball to the keeper and there is no ref giving a freekick in this situation. – Phab Mar 13 '15 at 7:20
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    The question is Combining these two, if a player were to flick the ball up to himself, and then head the ball to his own keeper, can the goalie pick it up, or would that still be considered a backpass? Of course this fine in open play. – studro Mar 14 '15 at 9:41
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    ie. when the ball is headed back without first being flicked up by the same player. – studro Mar 14 '15 at 10:53
1

In this case, the defender is faulty, not the goalie. Whether the goalie handles the ball or not will not change the fact that the referee should give an indirect free-kick to the opponent team and book the defender.

But this shound not be confused with the defender which heads a long pass to the goalie : this only applies to the defender which has the ball in his feet, "sends" it to his head to give it to his goalie.

  • Why exactly would it be an indirect freekick, if the goalie doesn't handle the ball and just kicks it away? There might be an obscure rule, but I'm fairly certain that there's no ground in the Rulebook for that, if I didn't manage to misunderstand your statement. – posdef Apr 29 '15 at 14:08
  • In Law 12, in the reasons why an indirect free kick is awarded (I'm roughly translating it from the text in French so it won't be exactly what says Law 12 in proper English but the idea remains) is "all other fouls not mentioned in the Laws of the Game". Here, the foul is cheating by trying to circumvent Law 12, and it's not the goalie that you sanction, but the defender. – LeReferee Apr 29 '15 at 15:13
  • i stand corrected :) (I also just realised that there's a quotation from the Laws of the game in the accepted answer) – posdef Apr 29 '15 at 15:22
  • To add to your answer, I'm fairly confident that the same rule applies when two players "collaborate" in circumventing the laws of the game. In this scenario, that would mean that the rule applies also when a team mate (could even be the keeper) passes/flicks the ball to another, so that he/she can head it to the keeper. Also, if I'm not mistaken, shouldn't the punishment include a yellow card as well? – Qvist May 3 '15 at 23:59
  • @Qvist Yes, the punishment has to be a caution. The indirect free kick cannot be awarded without the caution, since the clause is "commits any other offence, not previously mentioned in Law 12, for which play is stopped to caution or send-off a player". As for a player kicking it to his teammate - I don't think this is prohibited. The offence is "A player uses a deliberate trick ...", not "players use a deliberate trick". – studro May 4 '15 at 6:11

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