Each team has a designated goalkeeper, whose role is to stop the opposing team from scoring a goal. The term goalkeeper can also be shortened to ‘goalie’ or ‘keeper’.

The goalkeeper rules are slightly different from outfield players, for instance, the goalie is the only player who is allowed to handle the ball, but this is permissible only inside his own penalty area.

The goalkeeper is seen to have special status on the team and can be seen wearing a different colored kit from their fellow teammates.

When can a goalkeeper not handle the ball?

A goalkeeper is a specialist position within a team as they are permitted to handle the ball within their own penalty area. They are the only player allowed to do this apart from when a throw-in is awarded.

However there is one rule in football that prevents a goalkeeper from handling the ball, this is known as the ‘back-pass rule’. This happens when a goalkeeper’s teammate directly and intentionally passes the ball back to them, they must not touch the ball with their hands. If the goalkeeper happens to handle a teammates pass back then the referee will award an indirect free kick to the opponents.

In this situation, the teammates pass has to be seen as direct and intentional by the referee before any decision is made, for example, a deflection or indirect pass will not be punished.