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Question Number: 33533

Law 17 - The Corner Kick 7/21/2019

RE: Rec College

Kara of Ottawa, Ontario Canada asks...

[No Ref game]
The ball was going out, off of the opposing team, and my teammate defended the position to the ball, without touching it, until it went out of bounds. The opponent said he saw the ball touch my teammate's shirt before it went out. The opposing team argued and gave themselves a corner, scoring the last goal to break the tie and win the game.

Does the shirt count as part of a player's body?
Also does a player's hair count as part of his/her body?

Answer provided by Referee Peter Grove

Hi Kara,
I would normally say that it is up to the referee to decide which way the decision should go but obviously I can't say that here.

Anyway, all equipment worn by a player counts as part of the player - otherwise you could say, 'The ball didn't come off the player's foot, it came off their boot,' which obviously wouldn't be the correct way to look at it. Similarly, any part of the player's body counts.

Having said that, if the ball just lightly brushes a player's shirt or hair it is going to be very difficult to spot and/or could be treated as a trivial or doubtful offence which a referee could choose not to give - but again, if you don't have a referee then that isn't going to be applicable.

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Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Kara
Yes the players equipment counts when deciding who last touched the ball as does a players long hair.
So if the ball hits a jersey, long hair it is deemed to have touched that player. In most instances when it is that close it can and will look like the ball was touched even if it does not effect the ball. Over the years I have given decision based on what way it looked only. Many times I would look for tell tale signs of movement other times it was just based on what way it looked
To further prove this point. Say a player grabbed both end of his shirt in front of her and cradled the ball on the shirt without touching the ball with her hands or body that would be considered deliberate handling. In that case it would be a caution as well.
The law is quite specific on contact on the ball. It mention both playing and / or touching the ball in most of the Laws. In most instances there is no distinction between both yet when there is the law covers both.
In Law 15 it states ** A throw-in is awarded to the opponents of the player who last touched the ball** There is no doubt that if it touched a players jersey that player last touched the ball.

Playing without a referee reminds me of my early playing days. Only obvious fouls were called and agreed. Questionable offences simply were ignored and play continued. If the ball went out of play with no clear obvious last contact then the restart was given to the team that did not last play the ball. Once the decision was agreed then the restart moved the game on.
In some ways the corner kick decision was made which was accepted so the conceding of the goal was due to poor defending rather than the dubious award of a restart. Put it another way. Had the ball been cleared would there be any question about the restart?
Playing without a referee we learned that once the decision was made we had to accept it and get on with play once the game restarted.

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