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Question Number: 32893

Law 5 - The Referee 11/25/2018

RE: Under 17

John (Iain) Doleman of Las Vegas, NV United States asks...

Atting player takes a shot at goal and I'd deflected by the referee past the goalkeeper and enters the goal. What is the referees decision?

Answer provided by Referee Gary Voshol

Goal, provided there's no infractions by attacking players.

And the referee should resolve to try to stay out of the path of a ball headed toward the net!

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Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

Hi John,
the referee is considered part of the FOP. Just like a corner flag or a goal post or crossbar play continues! Now the referee could be looked at with great appreciation by one team and a degree of hostility by the other! A referee usually tries to anticipate and remain out of the way as it is considered poor positioning or mechanics when a referee is being struck by the ball during play. Still, sometimes no matter how experienced or trained a referee might be a chance miss kick or clearance can find its way into his path and an oops occurs. Often stalling or blocking an opportunity, rarely does a goal result but it can switch the attack quickly as no one is expecting it to occur. It should be rare occurrence, if it happens a lot the referee would require some retraining on position, mechanics and anticipation.

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Answer provided by Referee Peter Grove

Hi John,
As the Laws currently stand, the referee's decision is to award a goal. Interestingly enough, there was a discussion at the IFAB's Annual Business Meeting on 22 November 2018, that (if officially proposed and adopted) could eventually mean a change in the law in this regard, leading to, ''a dropped ball being given if the ball hits the referee and a goal is scored, team possession changes or an attacking move is created.''

For now though, the referee is considered to be a part of the field and if the ball hits the referee and goes into the goal, it is treated no differently than if the ball had hit the frame of the goal and gone in.

As my colleagues have said, the referee should always try to avoid being positioned in between a player taking a shot and the goal, if at all possible.

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Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

The decision is that a goal is awarded.
Strange as it may seem it does happen
In both instances goals were awarded as the referee is just part of play and if the ball touches an official play continues.
On the penalty kick one the referee if he was on his own had an out clause as I do not believe that he saw the ball enter the goal and he was incapacitated from the contact. Without an AR to inform him what happened he would have to restart with a dropped ball.
Now as the goal has to be awarded or a team benefits in other ways such as loss of possession referees try as best they can to stay out of play so as to not make any contact with the ball. Unfortunately it does happen from time to time with in rare cases as shown significant consequences.
Now I know some other sports stop play when the ball hits a referee and it is under discussion in soccer as outlined by my colleague Referee Grove. Until a formal decision is made all we can do is play on and accept the outcome.

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