Impeding or Holding…or Does it Even Matter?

Posted: February 9, 2016 by thirdblindmouse in Futsal
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,


My fellow referees…first, allow me to apologize for being away for so long;  more precisely, for not posting any topics for a few months.  Things have been quite chaotic for me with football, futsal and being on the board of the director for my local referees’ association.

In case you don’t know, the UEFA Futsal Euro is currently underway (2nd leg of quarter final matches happening today) and there was one particular incident in the group stage match between Portugal and Serbia this past weekend that was particularly interesting to me and burning a hole in my head.  I knew that I had to figure it out for myself and write a post about it as I’m sure it will stir up some conversations within the referee community worldwide.

The incident took place in the last minute of the game and although this is an example for a futsal match, the same rules apply for a football match, as well.

Red #10 has possession of the ball and is attacking the White goal.  A White defender is 2 – 3 yards away, applying pressure and waiting for Red #10 to make a move.  Another Red attacker runs from behind the White defender and stands just to the right side of the defender in a blocking position, as Red #10 moves the ball to the left.  The White defender turns to follow and bumps into the Red defender, and Red #10 is able to get a shot on net.

FutsalEURO – SRB v POR (8) from 3rd Blind Mouse on Vimeo.

If you ask me, this is a basketball style pick and roll, and in football/futsal terms, this is definitely impeding.  Some have also gone so far as to consider this holding…more on this later.  I sent this clip to some fellow referees, as well as a few National football assessors, and FIFA futsal instructors/assessors.  The email started a rather lengthy discussion and an all-out email war as some people were considering this to be NO FOUL – allow play to continue.  I was quite shocked at some of the replies which is why I needed to do some extra research and write this post.

So, lets break it down and see what LOTG says (football and futsal LOTG say the exact same thing)…




The key difference here is the second paragraph – “being in the way of an opponent is not the same as moving into the way of an opponent.”

In the clip, and in my opinion, the Red attacked deliberately MOVES INTO THE WAY of the White defender in order to give his teammate, Red #10 some space, and an opportunity to shoot on goal.  The Red attacker even makes contact with the White defender and almost pushes him out of the way.


So, what’s this talk about possible holding?  Well, if the Red attacker who is guilty of impeding throws his arms out to makes himself bigger and further blocks the White defender’s movement, I would argue that the offence has now changed from impeding, to holding.  Why is this significant?  In football the difference is quite a bit; the restart moving from IDFK to DFK.

In futsal however, the consequences are even more dire where not only is the restart changed from IDFK to DFK but, the infringement also carries the addition of an accumulated foul. Furthermore, if the foul is also a team’s 6th or more accumulated foul, White would now have a goal scoring opportunity as the restart is a kick from the second penalty mark!  That’s a huge difference and could be a game changing decision.

Those are the facts, and I fail to see how this is not a foul!

What do you think?

Happy Whistling!

3rd Blind Mouse



  1. larbitre says:

    Impeding since he didn’t use his arms.

  2. Bob Baldwin says:

    I fully agree with your analysis and definitely thought this was impeding at the very least. If the Portuguese player takes up that position but does not try to impede the player from getting around him once the attacker makes hos move, I would be OK with it. This is similar to the picks we see set up on corners in football prior to the ball being put into play. Once he starts moving or using his arms in an effort to prevent the defender from getting to the player with the ball, I’d be whistling for impeding (and possibly holding).


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