Soccer Referee Resources
Ask a Question
Recent Questions

Previous You-Call-It's

VAR (Video Assistant Referee)

Q&A Quick Search
The Field of Play
The Ball
The Players
The Players Equipment
The Referee
The Other Match Officials
The Duration of the Match
The Start and Restart of Play
The Ball In and Out of Play
Determining the Outcome of a Match
Fouls and Misconduct
Free Kicks
Penalty kick
Throw In
Goal Kick
Corner Kick

Common Sense
Kicks - Penalty Mark
The Technical Area
The Fourth Official
Attitude and Control
League Specific
High School

Common Acronyms
Meet The Ref
Contact AskTheRef
Help Wanted
About AskTheRef

Soccer Rules Changes 1580-2000

Panel Login

Question Number: 35608

Law 18 - Common Sense 7/2/2024

RE: Competetive Adult

Mike of La Mesa, California United States asks...

I have scoured the internet for a video, but was unable to find one. During the Euro match between Spain(4) and Georgia(1), at 78:45 the Spanish goal keeper ran out and collected the ball with both hands, his momentum took him outside the PA and to prevent a handball offense the keeper drops the ball and then comes back into the PA and collects the ball with his hands. The referee did not stop play. I believe this is a double touch. Is this considered trifling at that level or was this missed by the referee?

Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

Hi Mike,
keepers' in the process of making a save, we are generally not counting into the 6 seconds until they are up and about ready to punt or throw the ball down field.

It sounds as if the keeper upon realizing he is exiting (running or sliding??) wisely released the ball so he DOES NOT handle it completely outside his PA by ensuring his hands are not in contact.

It is true in the LOTG if a keeper upon having 6 seconds of uncontested possession chooses to place the ball back into play on the ground they are prohibited from touching it with their hands a second time until at least one of the other 21 players has.

You are correct if it was a complete possession of the ball using the hands, then released, then regrabbed it could constitute a 2nd touch. The referee likely did not consider this a clear possession and release of the ball but rather a knock down save and recovery or perhaps a funny bounce? I will assume this happened very quickly? I also wonder was a nearby opponent disadvantaged by the action which might lean more to a call than if it was no big deal? It might be a trifling issue if it occurs as a result of the momentum being included as part of the save, like a parry/save that is not fully controllable, thus not yet a release! It is likely the keeper released that ball into play quickly to avoid scrutiny!

I unfortunately missed seeing this game and no highlights I have yet witnessed show that moment on display! Perhaps one of my colleagues caught it?

Read other questions answered by Referee Richard Dawson

View Referee Richard Dawson profile

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Mike
Thanks for the question.

I watched the game and it was an interesting situation.
The goalkeeper as you stated had to release the ball behind him to stop him carrying the ball outside the penalty area due to momentum and then an immediate pick up where the ball was dropped.

The referee was right there beside it as he was throughout the game putting in some excellent running.
He waved away what appeared to be appeals for handling and Georgia accepted that.

Personally I felt it was a catch and release which should have restricted the pick up again by the goalkeeper. I think the referee got focussed on the handling part and as the catch, release and pick up all happened with a second or so I suspect it did not present as the typical catch and release scenario. In fairness to the goalkeeper he did not delay putting the ball back into play so one can argue that the no call was in the spirit of the rule rather than its technical implementation.
Sometimes referees need ‘help’ by appeals for decision and the handling appeal was the dominant factor.

Another possibility as an out clause could be it being deemed a bounce? A bounce is permitted so the goalkeeper drops the ball and on his return step inside the penalty area picks the ball up again.

Now as referee I have had parry situations that the opponents did not bother one jot about and I simply let them slide as trifling rather than a gotcha type decision.
Personally I am of the opinion that the rule was not intended for such situations which are rare.

Read other questions answered by Referee Joe McHugh

View Referee Joe McHugh profile

Ask a Follow Up Question to Q# 35608
Read other Q & A regarding Law 18 - Common Sense

Soccer Referee Extras

Did you Ask the Ref? Find your answer here.

Enter Question Number

If you received a response regarding a submitted question enter your question number above to find the answer

Offside Question?

Offside Explained by Chuck Fleischer & Richard Dawson, Former & Current Editor of AskTheRef

This web site and the answers to these questions are not sanctioned by or affiliated with any governing body of soccer. The free opinions expressed on this site should not be considered official interpretations of the Laws of the Game and are merely opinions of AskTheRef and our panel members. If you need an official ruling you should contact your state or local representative through your club or league. On AskTheRef your questions are answered by a panel of licensed referees. See Meet The Ref for details about our panel members. While there is no charge for asking the questions, donation to maintain the site are welcomed! <>