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Question Number: 30694

Law 4 - Players Equipment 8/29/2016

RE: Youth to adult, comp and rec.

Barry Stewart of Chilliwack, BC Canada asks...

This question is a follow up to question 30691

Regarding losing shoes or shinguards during play:

I had this come up in a game on the weekend. An attacker came together with the keeper as the ball arrived. The keeper caught the ball but somehow his left boot was knocked off.

I immediately knew he was in a bit of a pickle, so I blew the whistle to stop the game and let him get his boot back on.

When he was ready, I dropped the ball to the keeper, he picked it up and punted it out.

I know I acted in the 'spirit of the game' but are there any technical problems with what I did?

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Barry
No issue here. The goalkeeper is unusual in that while he can punt the ball out and cannot be challenged so there in no danger to him. The problem arises though when he goes to correct his equipment. He is unlike an outfield player who can perhaps sort out putting the boot back on during play with a team mate covering for him. If the GK is sorting out his boot, which could mean taking off his gloves perhaps and play transitions back into the penalty area with him down on a knee then there can be a problem.
So your decision was best for the game.
Many times when a player loses a boot it can be caused by the actions of an opponent which can be a foul. So the footwear can be sorted before the free kick restart.
The best decision is most times the correct decision in such situations.

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Answer provided by Referee Jason Wright

Hi Barry,

A drop ball is permitted to be conducted for any reason not otherwise specified in the laws.
You wouldn't stop play if the situation arose for any other player because any other player can let play go past while they put their shoe back on. A keeper cannot be expected to let an attacker walk into the goal while he's tying up his shoelace (that, and a keeper would have to take off his gloves to tie his shoes, causing further delay) - so if the ball went to an attacker, the keeper would get involved and challenge the ball. You'd have to stop play for PIADM, and if there was an OGSO it would have to be a red card!!

Therefore, for the keeper stopping play as you did is the best option - and it's within the laws (well, it's more that it isn't clearly outside of them!). Just be aware of the possibility of the attacking team choosing to contest the drop ball - you cannot prevent them from doing so, but the wise referee will drop the ball to the keeper's feet before the attacking team has the chance to even consider getting involved.

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Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

Hi Barry,
It is not unwise to view safety as the 1st concern. I think given this was the keeper and a youth or recreational adult match? Then your stopping play to correct the equipment so the team could have an effective keeper has merit within the realistic conditions required for fair and safe play.

The only issue is as a drop ball restart, the referee CAN drop just to the keeper, even if the opposing team DOES under the LOTG the right to challenge for that ball, one certainly might expect them not to in the interest of fair play.

As explained, to allow play ,once the keeper was to release that ball if in active play unless his team held on to ball possession for sufficient time to allow the keeper to fix his equipment and then was forced to contest for ball possession the PIADM infraction that could result if his foot was uncovered and the possibility of cards in a horrible situation to envision .
Perhaps the safer option is if the shoe loss could be attributed to a minor foul and a dfk or indfk restart in favour of the keeper. No opposing intervention and sellable as in the interest of the match without getting the attacker into PI trouble or worried status that you were holding them accountable instead easily explained as reasonable to continue play safely.

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