Possession is 9/10ths of the Law!!!

Posted: November 7, 2013 by thirdblindmouse in Uncategorized
Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

Usually when I’m looking for clips and topics to discuss, I try and make sure they’re recent and relevant to the current LOTG.  This clip isn’t that recent, but it sure is relevant and worth talking about.

In 2003, Thierry Henry (while playing for Arsenal) scored a goal against Blackburn which was disallowed…and CORRECTLY at that!

The situation:

Blackburn goalkeeper Brad Friedel was about to punt the ball upfield when, quick as a flash, Henry nicked the ball away from him as the ball just left his hands, and tapped it into the back of the net.

Referee Alan Wiley quickly disallowed the goal and awarded a free kick to Blackburn.  Henry was quick to dispute the call, claiming that the ball was already in the air when Henry got his foot to it. Perfect timing!  However, Wiley disagreed and reckoned that Henry’s foot was too high which constituted dangerous play and disallowed the goal.


The question now becomes, who was right?  In my humble opinion (and what should be the opinion of referee’s everywhere), the referee was absolutely correct to disallow the goal and in all fairness, an argument for dangerous play does make sense and is warranted however, looking at this situation in the context of today’s football and the current LOTG, Mr. Wiley has another law that is even more fitting in this scenario (this same law was in effect in 2003 and, personally, Mr. Wiley should have used that as his explanation).

Law 12 – Fouls and Misconduct CLEARLY states (pp. 37)

An indirect free kick is also awarded to the opposing team if, in the opinion of the referee, a player:

• prevents the goalkeeper from releasing the ball from his hands

The LOTG go further to clarify what constitutes a goalkeeper having possession of the ball in their Interpretations and Guidelines (pp. 120)

A goalkeeper is not permitted to keep control of the ball in his hands for more
than six seconds. 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.

Also on page 121, it continues to states

Offences committed against goalkeepers
• It is an offence for a player to prevent a goalkeeper from releasing the ball from his hands
• A player must be penalised for playing in a dangerous manner if he kicks or attempts to kick the ball when the goalkeeper is in the process of releasingit
• It is an offence to restrict the movement of the goalkeeper by unfairly impeding him, e.g. at the taking of a corner kick

Thierry figured that since the ball was released from the goalkeeper’s hand then it was fair game however, LOTG says the even though the goalkeeper has tossed the ball into the air (thus releasing it from his hands) he is still considered to be in possession of the ball and therefore, he cannot be challenged, nor prevented from releasing it.

So…Mr. Wiley, good on you for disallowing the goal!  But, not the greatest support for your decision as the LOTG clearly state that you were correct for your decision because Thierry was not allowed to do what he did anyway.  Also, I don’t know if Thierry was cautioned for this, but he should have been cautioned for USB.  If anyone knows the answer to that question, please leave a comment below.

Thierry…BAD BAD BAD!!!  But I understand where your coming from.  From a player’s perspective, you’re going to try anything to get that goal and the lead, so I can’t blame you too much.

Happy Whistling!

The Third Blind Mouse

  1. quinnface says:

    I agree with everything here, more recent example was Samuel Eto’o’s goal for Chelsea, I don’t know if you saw that. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1jODt0wuaV0
    This goal, was ALLOWED, and later on was deemed to be against the Laws of the Game, specifically the one you have quoted.
    The fact that what Henry has done has been deemed as “Dangerous” is laughable. About as dangerous as trying to blow the ball out of Friedel’s hands. I love how Friedel is explaining the rules to Henry as he walks off.


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