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Soccer Rules Changes 1580-2000

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Question Number: 22376

Law 5 - The Referee 10/27/2009

RE: Travel Under 19

Kley Parkhurst of Mc Lean, VA USA asks...

Trailing AR signals a ball out of bounds on attacking team near midfield. The leading AR does not mirror signal. The CR does not see the trailing AR's signal, and play continues towards the defenders goal. The next stoppage is a dangerous play by a defender inside the penalty box. At this time, the trailing AR has continued to signal and has even stepped onto the field to try to catch the attention of the CR. Referee does not notice the AR and restarts with an IDK. The attacking team legally scores. After the goal, the CR finally notices the trailing AR (who has continued to signal), walks over to the AR, and after a brief conversation, points to the center circle, restarts with a kick-off, and the game ends.

Assuming the ball was out of play, and given that the CR failed to see the AR's signal, and then, after discussing with the AR and determining that it was out of bounds but not acting on it, should the goal have been allowed, or would a correct restart have been a throw-in based on the original out-of-bounds signal.

This is a case where the LOG and the Advice to Referees seem to conflict

Law 5 states 'The referee may only change a decision on realizing that it is incorrect or, at his discretion, on the advice of an assistant referee or the fourth official, provided that he has not restarted play or terminated the match.'

However, the 2007 Advice to Referees, section 6.4 states: 'if the assistant referee signals a ball out of play, but the referee does not see the signal for an extended period, during which play is stopped and restarted several times, the assistant referee should lower the flag. The FIFA Referee Committee has declared that it is impossible for the referee to act on the assistant referee's signal after so much play.'

The clause 'play stopped and restarted several times' seems to contravene Law 5. In this case, play continued for a period of time, but did not stop nor restart 'several times'.

Should the CR have disallowed the goal, and restarted with the original infraction, even after having restarted the IFK?

If the CR had allowed the kick-off and then noticed the AR, should he have disallowed the goal etc.? How should one interpret the phrase "extended period of play" or the "number of restarts" and use the advice over the LOG?

My understanding was that they only way to undo a goal after play had restarted was for serious foul play or violent conduct, for which the same 2007 advice p. 6.4 states 'The assistant referee should maintain a signal if a serious foul or misconduct is committed out of the referee's sight or when a goal has been scored illegally.'

In what other incidences should a referee rewind to several prior restarts?

The other aspect is the seriousness of a ball out of play vs. a trifling foul or other infraction in which a referee allows play to continue. Is a ball out of play a hard-line stoppage which allows for no discretion? Are there any scenarios where a ref should allow play to continue even if an AR has signaled ball out of play?

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Referee Parkhurst
The LotG states ' Whenever the assistant referee signals that the ball is out of play, he must continue to signal until the referee acknowledges it' It is a matter of fact that the ball is out of play and play should always restart in the appropriate way ie TI, GK or CK.
In this case as play has already restarted with an IDFK, in my opinion it is not possible to go back to the previous restart so the goal should be allowed. If the game had not restarted then play should go back to the out of play restart. For me one restart is sufficient for play not to go back.
In addition there are no scenarios possible for play to be allowed to be continued after the ball has gone out of play.
As regards unseen VC or SFP (it is more than likely if its not seen that it is VC) the referee can go back to the incident and award a FK provided play had not restarted . He can also play advantage. If play has restarted he cannot go back and award a FK/penalty etc but he/she can still take disciplinary action.
The real lesson is not to let it happen in the 1st place with good positioning and communication between the crew.

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Answer provided by Referee Dennis Wickham

The ATR notes an old FIFA interpretation that was not based on a single restart of play, but one in which play stopped and restarted 'several times' and the referee should not go back to the correct restart because there had been 'so much play.'

Unlike changing a decision under Law 5, a single restart isn't the critical factor when the ball goes out of play. The critical factor is how much play has elapsed? Less than a minute? Five?

As to other scenarios, I believe that the referee may not change a decision if the referee allows play to restart after being aware (or being informed) of the facts. If a team puts the ball into play when the referee has not yet determined whether to allow the restart or not, the referee may still insist that the restart be ceremonial, and taken only after a whistle. (One team cannot act quickly to deny the referee's right to correct a decision)

Even if the ball is properly put into play before the referee learns the facts (as in violent conduct or SFP) from the AR or fourth official, the referee may deal with the misconduct as soon as the referee learns the facts (and before again allowing play to restart). But, the restart will not be based on the original foul, but the reason play was stopped.

For everything else, the referee has to live with the mistake, report it, and leave the question of how to fix an acknowledged error to the league. Not all mistakes require fixing.

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Answer provided by Referee Nathan Lacy

The ball had left the FOP and was not properly put back into play via a throw-in. Once the referee is made aware of that information he can return to the proper restart by disallowing the goal and awarding the throw. If, however, the ref is in fact aware that the ball had left the field and restarts play anyway with the IFK then, yes, he cannot return to the throw at that point. The issue here is that the referee is subsequently given additional information upon which he can act and thereby return to the proper restart. Even so, should an extended period of time elapse and/or multiple restarts occur as noted above then returning to the throw is no longer an option. All the best,

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Answer provided by Referee Keith Contarino

I find Law 5 in the current LOTG to be pretty clear:

The referee may only change a decision on realising that it is incorrect or, at his
discretion, on the advice of an assistant referee or the fourth official, provided
that he has not restarted play or terminated the match.

The only exceptions I can find are for serious foul play and violent conduct and it must be observed by an AR who continues to hold the flag up or by the fourth official who notifies the CR as soon as possible.

I realize both the 2007 and current Advice mention the old FIFA ruling about play having been stopped and restarted numerous times but questions on USSF Q&A site have consistently held that once the referee allows play to restart, he cannot change a decision except for specific exceptions

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