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Soccer Rules Changes 1580-2000

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Question Number: 21945

Law 2 - The Ball 9/12/2009


paul hogg of newcastle upon tyne, uk asks...

During a recent game the oppostion had two spare balls either side of their goal. When the goal went out of play their goalkeeper retreived one of these balls and played the ball quickly out. Is there not a rule where spare replacement balls can be situated, are they not suppossed to be located near the dug outs ??

Answer provided by Referee Jason Wright

Unless it's some bizarre competition rule, spare balls can be kept anywhere.

Their purpose is to get play going as quickly as possible. Quite often I've put spare balls near the goal instead of at halfway - there may be some bush behind the goal but not along the side, or a hill leading away from the goal, or anything else making balls which go behind the goal take longer to get.

If nothing else, there are usually no spectators behind the goal but plenty along the side (spectators often help a lot in stopping the ball going too far, or going to fetch it)

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Answer provided by Referee Gary Voshol

In a professional game there will be several balls all around the field, with an attendant to toss one to the players whenever needed. You often see one of these ball attendants behind the net.

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Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

Actually no, the issue of spare balls in tournaments where we make an effort to have lots of game balls on hand, where play time is precious and field use maxed! We have the ball boys/girls who recover the ball generally surround the pitch at sort of regular intervals! Sometimes we have volunteers and sometimes we have a surplus of cash or free food for incentives! Lol! On a final we had 18 young ladies from the local u-16 team so pretty good coverage and those restarts went much quicker. They toss the ball they have in only if the one that left cannot be immediately reused, or they must retrieve the one that went out.
In regulation league play at the field grassroots level having one proper ball is nice and more than one a luxury. I like to have a minimum of 4 extra game balls! 1 at end side of the midline and 1 by each goal for the very reason play CAN restart quickly as long as there are available bodies to recover the ball that went out of play! Failing that, even a single spare ball usually placed beside the senior AR at midline or where the greatest likelihood of the first one getting blasted into a pond or dense bush or into the street! These are preferences not law. At the elite level I see them enter from everywhere! The only stipulation aside from being an approved match ball, proper weight, size etc? is the ball may not be changed during the match without the authority of the referee. We of course do that and check the balls pregame to ensure their legal compliance! On page 58 of the additional information and guidelines for referees is the following
Additional balls
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.
Extra balls on the field of play
If an extra ball enters the field of play during the match, the referee must stop the match only if it interferes with play. Play must be restarted by a dropped ball in the position where the match ball was at the time when the match was stopped, unless play was stopped inside the goal area, in which case the referee drops the ball on the goal area line parallel to the goal line at the point nearest to where the ball was located when play was stopped.

If an extra ball enters the field of play during the match without interfering with play, the referee must have it removed at the earliest possible opportunity.
End quote

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