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Question Number: 31833

Law 8 - The Start and Restart of Play 9/27/2017

RE: Travel Under 13

Brian White of Palmer, MA USA asks...

This question is a follow up to question 30913

I recently added referee to my soccer resume, having been a player, fan, parent and coach. I've really enjoyed this website and your collective insight into helping me better apply the Laws to the games I've refereed.

This was an interesting scenario, but I don't think I understand the reasoning behind being okay with the goal here.

What would be the explanation as to why you would allow the restart to occur without both teams being in their own half? The Laws say that a whistle is required for the restart, thus you would be condoning the restart without team A being in position. Perhaps it's determined that this violation of the Laws is trifling?

Penalizing Team A (by allowing the goal) for excessive celebration or delaying the restart seems wrong, as that could be dealt with via a caution, and the ability to add stoppage time (though in our ROC, we can't add time, so perhaps that does play into account here?)

Just curious about further thoughts about this scenario. It would seem to me that the decision to retake the kickoff is a lot easier to defend than allowing the kickoff with players not where they belong.

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Brian
This really comes under game management. Teams on occasion will try to slow down the kick off so as to run down the clock or to allow celebrating players to return to their positions.
The best way to deal with this is to follow the players in the celebration, if there is one and encourage players to get back into their half.
The options available to the referee, should they not pay any heed to the instruction, is to caution and to add on time.
For instance in a recent game that I was officiating, after a goal the scorer decided to tie his lace in the opponents half as he made his way back to half way. I seen this as a ploy and an opponent took exception to this by beratingthe player. It then made it an easy caution for delaying the restart of play.
I have also on occasion allowed the restart *early* with returning players just not over the line yet close enough to it to be seen as trifling. It must not be noticeable or likely to cause a problem for the restart.

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Answer provided by Referee Peter Grove

Hi Brian,
The law is quite clear that at the kick-off, both teams must be in their own half. In the question you refer to, if the claim that one team's players were not in their own half was accurate then in my opinion you are right, the referee should not have allowed the game to restart.

I agree with ref McHugh that if it were a question of just one (possibly two) players being marginally in the wrong half because they were dawdling on the way back and this did not have any effect on play, it might be overlooked. On the other hand however, if an entire team is in the opponent's half still celebrating and an uncontested goal is scored into an empty net then I don't see any excuse for allowing the goal. Having a goal scored against a team (probably the single most significant game-changing event that can occur) when the laws have been infringed cannot be considered as a trifling matter, as far as I can tell.

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