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Soccer Rules Changes 1580-2000

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Question Number: 19740

Law 2 - The Ball 8/13/2008

RE: classic Under 16

Glenn Kove of New Bern, NC USA asks...

The refs. and assocs. here are resist allowing a 'substitute' ball to be put in play when the original balls has been kicked far OOB. I usually chase those down. They're playing running time and should be playing soccer not fetch. I know the use of more than one ball is allowed. I would like to see my son's league start to minimize dead time with out of play balls. Can you give me a citation and suggestion on how to approach his assoc. re. this?


Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

At the elite level they have ball boys and a retrivial systems in place plus the ball are exactly the same type and weight . The difficulty at youth recreational is the surrounding area of the fields could be water or bush or long downhill slopes into the roadway. No personal willing to retrive the balls that are knocked out. Insufficent funds to pay someone to do so. The balls are often a variey of types and weights.

With one ball it is always retrived it is done quickly to minimize delay but IF there are alternate balls available they need to be approved bythe referee as acceptable before the game commences if they are to be interjected during live action.

Generally the extra balls are kept near the midline at each side and behind the touchline and some sort of agreement about WHO is responsible for them if they go missing.

As referee I accept the game ball to be returned we certainly cannot worry about those that are kicked wayout and lost into the surrounding countrside and no AR or referee or 4th official is going to go get them. In tournaments we often pay younger kids to retrive the balls to maintain the flow and we use about 4 balls per field. We place them behind each goal or midline or in the more likely areas where the ball could dissappear.


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Answer provided by Referee Gary Voshol

The Interpretation and Guidlines section of the Laws of the Game says, 'Additional balls may be placed around the field of play for use during a match provided that they meet the requirements of Law 2 and their use is under the control of the referee.'

At the youth level often no two available balls are alike. Even if they happen to be of the same brand, one will likely be older and more worn than the other. That may be why your organization and referees are reluctant to use more than one ball. For me, even with the ability to add time for stoppages, I'd rather have another ball ready to go. At the local fields with fences, thick bushes, hills, streets, etc. I ask the coaches to have another ball available.

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Answer provided by Referee Keith Contarino

I simply do not understand your organization insisting time be wasted chasing soccer balls. As long as the ball is approved by the referee it's legal. I always approve 3 before the game to avoid just what you are having to do

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Answer provided by Referee Ben Mueller

I agree with referee Contarino. I always approve 3 balls to save time. As Mr. Fleischer points out, the balls should the same if possible. Anyways, w/o ball chasers using 3 balls usually means losing 1 or 2 so often times w/o chasers..we use only 1 ball.

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Answer provided by Referee Gene Nagy

Glenn, I think you are great father - one who chases out of bounds (OOB) soccer balls for his son's games. There is no reason why a referee could not approve extra balls before kickoff. Try it at the next game.
As far as allowing time for OOB the Laws mandate referees to allow time for certain things. OOB balls may or may not fall into that catagory. Only if the referee feels that time wasting is occouring should he allow for time lost. In soccer we do not stop time automatically when the ball goes out of play. American football, basketball, hockey and other sports do.

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