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: 32139

Law 12 - Fouls and Misconduct 1/4/2018

RE: adult College

Matt of Malta, NY United States asks...

Player goes off injured behind his own goal with permission from the referee.

Ball goes up the other end and a goal is scored. AR calls the referee over and informs him that the injured player entered the field of play and was standing inside his own penalty area when the goal was scored by his team on the opposite side of the field.

What is the proper resumption of play?

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Matt
The Laws of the Game tells us that if a player who requires the referee's permission to re-enter the field of play re-enters without the referee's permission, the referee must stop play (not immediately if the player does not interfere with play or a match official or if the advantage can be applied) and caution the player for entering the field of play without permission
It also tells us that if the referee stops play, it must be restarted with a direct free kick from the position of the interference or with an indirect free kick from the position of the ball when play was stopped if there was no interference.
Now the situation as described can be a difficult one. Technically the player has not interfered with play and play did not need to be stopped. Perhaps the player might have been off the FOP at the moment of the goal and only then came on after the goal. It can also be deemed a technical infringement of the LotG if it clearly happened during play which is a caution and without interference it is an IDFK from where the ball was when play was stopped. As play was not stopped then in the past the advice was to have a restart in the goal area if a goal was scored.
Personally if it happened in a game that I was involved in I might caution the player for the illegal re-entry or I might let it slide depending on the exact situation / explanation and restart with a kick off due to the non interference in the goal at the other end of the field.
As a final point the Laws cannot deal with every possible situation, so where there is no direct provision in the Laws, IFAB expects the referee to make a decision within the 'spirit' of the game this often involves asking the question, ' what would football want/expect?'. I believe the game would expect a goal to be awarded and a kick off restart. The action had no impact on play and the player may just have wandered on or he was crossing the FOP to a sideline to come back on or the player came on after the goal.
For me it is a Law 18 decision and a situation where the Law was not intended for. Gotcha refereeing can support chalking off the goal. Common sense suggests that it is a dubious technical infringement that had no impact on the game. It also can suggest a flaw in mechanics by the referee crew as if it was not a blood injury the player could be waved back on with play at the other end of the FOP.

Read other questions answered by Referee Joe McHugh

View Referee Joe McHugh profile

Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

Hi Matt,
the LOTG are relatively straightforward, if the team that scores has done something illegal prior to scoring the goal, the score is not permitted!
Technically if the defender re-entered illegally his team can not score a legal goal with that defender on the FOP so YES you could takeaway the goal and restart with a goal kick assuming it was not an own goal or last touched by the opposition or an INDFK out.

You could be 100% correct in law but perhaps significantly less in spirit. To caution the defender and take away the goal.

The entry was at the opposite end of the FOP with zero impact on the outcome, in fact they scored while down a player. To take away something so special over something so inconsequential I believe only the most technically overstuffed official could gleefully point to the LOTG as an excuse NOT to award the goal.

The timing of his re-entry, the focal point, was he cutting across the PA or entering to celebrate excited they were about to score even if he was not there helping? For my AR to point it out or even be aware it would be interesting to think of his position and concerns while a goal is being scored to cast backward eyes at our injured played thinking his participation at this juncture was crucial to the outcome?

Read other questions answered by Referee Richard Dawson

View Referee Richard Dawson profile

Answer provided by Referee Peter Grove

Hi Matt,
As my colleagues have pointed out, this would technically be an infraction for which a referee could choose to rule out the goal that was scored. However I agree with them that it would come down to a choice between a 'letter of the law' and a 'spirit of the game' decision.

As well as the wording in the current Laws about refereeing to the spirit of the game, I am reminded of the famous IFAB decision 8 to Law 5 which was part of the laws for many years and which many referees still feel is present in spirit if not in actuality.

Although no longer part of the law, its essence was transferred into a FIFA refereeing development document from more recent times which states as follows:

''The Laws of the Game are intended to ensure that games are played with as little interference as possible. Constant whistling for minor and dubious infringements may cause bad feeling and anger from players and spectators.''

I would say that an injured player straying onto the pitch at the opposite end from where the action is taking place and causing no interference whatsoever, is both a minor and a dubious infringement. As ref Dawson mentions, it would probably be unusual for an AR to even notice this - they would be quite likely to be somewhere close to the halfway line and concentrating on the ongoing goal-scoring situation.

Read other questions answered by Referee Peter Grove

View Referee Peter Grove profile

Ask a Follow Up Question to Q# 32139
Read other Q & A regarding Law 12 - Fouls and Misconduct

The following questions were asked as a follow up to the above question...

See Question: 32141

See Question: 32143

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.