Are Referees over protecting goalkeepers?

I often hear shouts from spectators when the referee intervenes and awards a free kick for an offence against the goalkeeper.
So, in this article, I thought that I would try to clarify the law and hopefully provide you with a better understanding of the actions that referees take.
If a player prevents the goalkeeper from releasing the ball from the hands or kicks or attempts to kick the ball when the goalkeeper is in the process of releasing it then the referee will stop play and award an indirect free kick.
For the information of players, you cannot challenge the goalkeeper when the goalkeeper is in control of the ball with the hands.
The laws of the game state that a goalkeeper is considered to be in control of the ball with the hand(s) when:
• The ball is between the hands or between the hand and any surface (e.g. Ground, own body) or by touching it with any part of the hand(s) or arms, except if the ball rebounds from the goalkeeper or the goalkeeper has made a save,
• Holding the ball in the outstretched open hand
• Bouncing it on the ground or throwing it in the air.(Article carried on below the video)

I am often surprised that referees fail to penalise acts of unfair impeding when the ball is entering the penalty area from either a corner kick or free-kick.
Impeding the progress of an opponent means moving into the opponent’s path to obstruct, block, slow down or force a change of direction when the ball is not in playing distance of either player.
I see many occasions, referees, failing to apply the law by not penalising the goalkeeper who controls the ball with the hand/arm for more than six seconds before releasing it
Then we have the goalkeeper who carries the ball out of his penalty area before releasing it upfield, an offence where the referee is looking for his colleague to monitor and signal with the flag.
Goalkeepers are penalised if the ball is deliberately kicked to them by a teammate and also if they receive the ball directly from a throw-in and handle it.
Then there is the handling offence where the goalkeeper grabs hold of the ball with his hands outside the penalty area line and referees have to judge if in addition to the free kick if the actions of the goalkeeper have denied an obvious goal-scoring opportunity.
Finally at penalty kicks the defending goalkeeper must remain on the goal line, facing the kicker, between the goalposts, without touching the goalposts, crossbar or goal net, until the ball has been kicked.
I hope coaches when they are instructing goalkeepers make them aware of the laws of the game to ensure that they fully understand the outcomes if they fail to not operate within them

Keith Hackett
Former Head of PGMOL

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