Football: As a rule: Curse of the back-pass

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The Independent Online
In a few weeks' time, Fifa will discuss the possible outlawing of all passing back to the goalkeeper, be it with foot, head or whatever. Not before time; any attempt to discourage a negative tactic is welcome. The rule against goalkeepers picking up the kicked back-pass has generally been successful, with defenders having to think of more constructive ways to deal with pressure and goalkeepers either having to develop their own skills or risk ridicule.

One problem is that professionals, always canny in finding ways around new rules, have become adept at making a back-pass look unintentional by sliding into tackles or pretending the ball has just deflected off them.

Referees are thus reluctant to rule against them. They should be braver; too many are still getting away with the back-pass and it is something that will become more common should Fifa add to the existing rule.

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