Soccer Referee Resources
Ask a Question
Recent Questions

RSS FEED Subscribe Now!

Q&A Quick Search
The Field of Play
The Ball
The Players
The Players Equipment
The Referee
The Other Match Officials
The Duration of the Match
The Start and Restart of Play
The Ball In and Out of Play
Fouls and Misconduct
Free Kicks
Penalty kick
Throw In
Goal Kick
Corner Kick

Common Sense
Kicks - Penalty Mark
The Technical Area
The Fourth Official
Attitude and Control
League Specific
High School

Common Acronyms
Meet The Ref
Contact AskTheRef
Help Wanted
About AskTheRef
Panel Login

Question Number: 32067

Law 12 - Fouls and Misconduct 11/29/2017

RE: Adult

Derek of Glasgow, Scotland asks...

A players momentum takes him out of play behind the goal whilst the ball stays in play. The player then re-enters the field of play and attempts to play the ball and in the process is deemed to have been fouled and the ref awards a penalty. It his allowed?

Answer provided by Referee Peter Grove

Hi Derek,
It is most certainly allowed. The law states:

''A player who crosses a boundary line as part of a playing movement, does not commit an offence.''

It is only if a player leaves the field deliberately that it becomes an offence. Based on your description, the player leaving the field has done nothing wrong. Once the player returns to the field and is fouled inside the penalty area, a penalty is perfectly allowable. Under the recent laws changes it could also be a penalty kick even if the player is fouled while still off the field.

Read other questions answered by Referee Peter Grove

View Referee Peter Grove profile

Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

HI Derek,
your description describes what he LOTG DO allow as part of the normal match conditions where their ability to play or challenge in along the boundary lines is compromised due to momentum or the need to avoid a collision or to exit to retrieve the ball and restart after a goal kick, corner kick or throw in.

If the player is fouled off the FOP or on the FOP while the ball is STIL: in play the LOTG now allow the free kick to be awarded in ether case. This is a HUGE change as a PK can now be awarded if say the attacking player exiting on a run to the near post tried to come back but was held OFF The FOP by a defender.

What the LOTG DO NOT allow is for a player to leave the FOP without the referees' permission to deceive or engage in unfair play. For example the player exits to avoid offside at the near post but remains there sneaks around to the other side of goal then enters by the far post unknown to the keeper who drops the ball on the ground UNAWARE of the attacker location and is then dispossessed of the ball . This CAN NOT be permitted the action taken is unfair. This is an INDFK out and a caution to the attacker. He requires permission to re-enter same as if he was off due to an injury or equipment issue

Yet if the player was making a run at the near post and exited from trying to get to the ball and was simply returning to the FOP he could immediately challenge the keeper if the ball was not in his hands as there was no subterfuge.

I will point out the potential to be deemed offside when exiting the goal line and returning is a possibility but as in any offside INVOLVEMENT in active play must be present.


Read other questions answered by Referee Richard Dawson

View Referee Richard Dawson profile

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Derek
Most certainly this is allowed. Players are allowed as part of playing momentum to cross the field of play boundary lines and to re-enter without sanction, So in your scenario the sanction is against the defender for fouling the attacker inside the penalty area.
The Laws have now even gone a step further as if say the defenders momentum took him off the field of play along with the attacker and he then fouled the attacker off the field of play say by pulling him back it is now a direct free kick on the boundary line and if the position was inside the penalty area it is a penalty kick.
What is not allowed is where a player deliberately leaves the field of play to gain a benefit or deliberately stays off for a period and then re-enters to surprise an opponent with his unexpected return or the player is off injured and then returns unexpectedly without permission from the referee to participate in play.
Those are a long way from a player sliding off the field or running around an opponent with an immediate *return*. In fact in some instances it might not even look like he was off the field of play

Read other questions answered by Referee Joe McHugh

View Referee Joe McHugh profile

Ask a Follow Up Question to Q# 32067
Read other Q & A regarding Law 12 - Fouls and Misconduct

Soccer Referee Extras

Did you Ask the Ref? Find your answer here.

Enter Question Number

If you received a response regarding a submitted question enter your question number above to find the answer

Offside Question?

Offside Explained by Chuck Fleischer & Richard Dawson, Former & Current Editor of AskTheRef

This web site and the answers to these questions are not sanctioned by or affiliated with any governing body of soccer. The opinions expressed on this site should not be considered official interpretations of the Laws of the Game and are merely opinions of AskTheRef and our panel members. If you need an official ruling you should contact your state or local representative through your club or league. On AskTheRef your questions are answered by a panel of licensed referees. See Meet The Ref for details about our panel members.