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Question Number: 22875

Law 2 - The Ball 2/27/2010

RE: Adult

Steve Hayward of Hemel Hempstead, UK asks...

Can a player clean the ball with equipment handed to him? Or can a ball boy or off pitch person clean a ball to aid the grip at a throw in?

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Steve
Nothing wrong with this as long as the throw in restart is not delayed significantly and that the same equipment is available to the opponents. As regards the use of ball boys to do this there was an incident in a Stoke City v Birmingham City match where the ball boy would not give a towel to the Birminham player to wipe the ball despite it being used by Stoke. The opponent persisted and eventually it was handed over. The 4th official then removed all the towels from the ball boys. At that level of the game and the referee is aware it is going to happen he should put in place some rules to manage it. For instance it would be unfair if the ball boy gave a nice dry ball to Stoke players and the same was not afforded to the opponents in a multi ball scenario. Some refs do not allow the multi ball scenario if they feel it is being abused to the advantage of the home team only. In recent times I have seen little evidence of towel use which may now be restricted by match officials to prevent these incidents.

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Answer provided by Referee Jason Wright

The laws of the game don't say anything particular about this, so as long as the person involved isn't delaying the restart of play there should be no problem with it.

A ball slipping out of the hands at a throw in benefits nobody, so a bit of common sense should apply.

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