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Question Number: 31710

Law 8 - The Start and Restart of Play 8/15/2017

RE: Competitive Under 18

Aaron Speca of Virginia Beach, VA USA asks...

Soccer tournaments have started again and with them always come crazy situations! I saw both of these this weekend (no video this time as they were in games my kids were not involved in):

1. The tournament venue had multipurpose fields which have many different-colored lines for various sports and field sizes. To start the second half, the near side AR aligned himself with the incorrect sideline and no one, including the CR, players, coaches or fans noticed - until the first ball crossed that line and he raised his flag when the ball was still several feet in play by the correct sideline. The CR realized the error and did not blow his whistle right away, half the players kept playing and half stopped when the flag went up. A few seconds later, CR blew his whistle and stopped play in order to correct the AR's position. He restarted with an IFK to the team that had possession of the ball. I would think this would fall into the area where the Laws would say a drop ball is in order?

2. Different game, blue attacker and black defender have an unfortunate collision about 25 yards from goal that knocked the wind out of the defender and she went to ground. CR allowed play to continue for about ten seconds (properly in my opinion), blue attacker got a really good shot on goal that the black keeper made a diving one-handed save on. Ball rolled towards the end line outside of goal where another blue attacker (from onside position) was easily going to gain possession before ball went out. With black defender still down, CR elected to blow the whistle at this point. The ball never went out of bounds as the blue attacker did get to the ball as the whistle blew. After defender was tended to, CR directed a goal kick restart for black. Again, I would think the Laws would say a drop ball restart (although the drop ball would have been just a few yards outside the post, maybe a yard from the end line in the PA). The ball did have enough momentum to get out of bounds if no one touched it, which would have been a corner kick.

Anyway, I don't think either of these issues affected the outcomes of the matches, but I found them to be interesting occurrences. Hope you are all doing well!

Answer provided by Referee Gary Voshol

1. I saw something similar happen in MLS years ago. They were playing on a multi-use field, and the player picked up the ball and took the throw-in from the wrong line - it had never gone out. They kept playing. You are correct that if play is stopped for a reason not specified in the Laws, it is a dropped ball restart.

2. Maybe the referee thought - and decided - that the ball was out? In which case, by definition it was out. Or he goofed up, and it should have been a dropped ball. But the location would not be next to the goal line - the position would be moved up to the 6 yard line at the top of the goal area. (You said it was only a few yards outside the goal post, so I assume it was in the goal area.)

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Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Aaron
Good to hear from you.
In scenario 1 the correct restart is a dropped ball. It cannot be an IDFK unless of course it was a NFHS game where the team in clear possession gets an IDFK for the game being stopped. Maybe a referee getting his playing codes mixed up?
Again on the second one it has to be a dropped ball. Sometimes referees just forget the restart and make the incorrect assumption that the ball was out of play when it was not.

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Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

Hi Aaron,
good for you the drop ball is the way to restart for an inadvertent whistle or if you stop for an injury. . Players should always play the whistle the flag is nothing to them it is meant for the CR communication system only. But perhaps just go with the throw and correct the AR thinking on the boundary touch lines as a one off event.
To award INDFK or offer a goal kick as restart options because they had the ball seems rather bizarre. On the drop ball the team that did not have ball possession could choose to return it! Perhaps referee incorrectly thought the ball out whether o not it was? Brain cramps occur often !

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