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Alan Siegel 12/1/2015


Are there any times in a regulation soccer match played under FIFA Laws where the referee deems that the ball is out of play and correctly awards a restart to the Red team, and before the ball is put back in to play by the Red team, the referee correctly allows the Blue team to put the ball back in to play? If so, for how many different reasons would this be possible and what are the exact circumstances that would make this possible? Assume the ARs and 4th and all neutral officials have weighed in on any unseen issues.


The issue here is that once the ball is out of play, generally if something else happens before the ball is put back in to play, there is no change to the restart. For example, if Blue fouls Red, and Red gets mad and takes a swing at Blue, Red still gets to take the free kick (or PK) arising from the foul. Remember that once the referee blows the whistle for the foul (or decides to blow the whistle), the ball is out of play. The taking of the swing by Red is not a foul since the ball is out of play. It is misconduct however that should be addressed as an Unsporting Behavior caution or a Violent Conduct send-off.

Assuming that the referee had all available information from all neutral parties ARs 4th, AARs and made the correct restart decision, we identified 3 instances where the restart could be changed and allow Blue to put the ball back in to play:

1. Time in the first half (or the first overtime period) expires while the ball is out of play, and the Blue team had won the coin the second half is correctly restarted with a kickoff for the Blue team.

2. According to the U.S. Soccer's Advice to Referees:14.9 (Penalty Kicks) "If the kicker plays the ball backward, play is restarted with an indirect free kick for the opposing team at the penalty mark, regardless of any further play that may result from the kicker’s action." Recall that PKs must be kicked forward. So a backwards kick did not put the ball back in to play.

3. According to the U.S. Soccer's Advice to Referees:15.2 (The Throw In) "The ball is in play on a throw-in when the ball: • touches the plane of the touchline and • leaves the thrower’s hands." Further, if the ball was not in play AND the thrower committed a procedural violation in the throw (like not having some part of both feet on or behind the touchline), then, per 15.2, the throw-in is given to the opposing team.

The purpose of this exercise is to encourage you to learn more about the laws and their intricacies. Thanks to Alan Siegel for the contribution

Your answers
A. . Virginia USA Referee
1 (more if you count all possible restarts of throw in, goal kick or corner kick): Free kick awarded, but the referee blows for the end of the first half (or the end of the first period of extra time) before the ball is put in play, and the blue team is entitled to the kickoff. 2: A throw-in illegally performed by red does not put the ball back in play, so the blue team's throw in to restart play following the "foul throw" would also meet the parameters of the question. 3: A penalty kick for red taken by a red player other than the designated kicker, or kicked backwards by the designated kicker does not put the ball into play, and the restart is an indirect free kick for blue.

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