From: Bud Hinckley
Subject: Re: Goalkeepers kicking from edge of penalty box
Date: Sunday, March 02, 2003 8:21 PM

"jit lye"  wrote

> I've noticed that many goalkeepers take the ball right to the edge of the
> penalty area before releasing a kick, and very often it seems that as they
> release the ball from their hands, the ball is already outside the penalty
> box.  More than a few times, part of their standing foot is already over
> the line.
> I reckon they are dicing.  It's only a matter of time before a zealous ref
> will call for handball against the keeper and all hell breaks loose over
> this.

Speaking as a referee for the last 20+ years.....

The assistant referee is the one responsible for making this call.  He is
the only one following the ball in the goalkeeper's possession and should be
line with the top of the penalty area ("18 yard line") when the goalkeeper
releases the ball out of his hands.

Remember that only the position of the ball matters.  And in order for the
ball to be considered outside the penalty area, the entire ball must be
outside (meaning the entire ball must be outside the plane defined by the
outer edge of the line).  If any part of the ball is over any part of the
line, then the ball is still considered to be inside the penalty area.
(This is the same as deciding when a goal is scored for balls which
potentially cross that line.)

The position of feet make no difference.

Now occasionally the goalkkeeper might carry the ball inches outside the
penalty area before releasing the ball.  In that case, it is common for the
assistant referee to yell to the goalkeeper something like "'keeper, you are
starting to get very close to that line on your kicks" and he knows what you
are getting at.  I have never had to call this in a game except in the most
obvious of situations.  And the assistant referee (and referee) don't want
to call this unless it is absolutely clear - considering how severe the
penalty for what could be considered a "trifling or doubtful breach" of the

Now if that ball is carried FEET and not INCHES outside the penalty area,
then I would call it without previous warning.

CORNER KICK - similar to the penalty area, the ball is inside the corner arc
if any part of the ball is over any part of the line.  (And wasn't true
until 5 years ago - the ball used to be required to be COMPLETELY inside the
arc, but not any more.)  This gives the kicker great latitude on ball
placement.  If you were looking directly above the ball and the ball was NOT
covering up part of the lines defining the quarter-circle, only then would
the ball be improperly placed.

I think you will find it rare that a ball is improperly placed since the Law
was changed 5 years ago.  And if you take the corner kick from the referee's
side of the field, then he checks the ball placement - and clearly he can't
tell if the ball is 3 or 4 inches outside the quarter-circle (but it isn't
that big a deal with only that much discrepancy).

w17E for a FIFA diagram of this.

Bud Hinckley