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Question Number: 25623

Law 2 - The Ball 10/18/2011

RE: rec Under 19

Jonathan Lucas of front royal, VA united states asks...

Let's say I award a team a penalty pick, or even another free kick. Directly after the kick is taken, I find out that the ball was the wrong size. In the event of a penalty kick, should the kick be retaken regardless of whether the ball went into the net?
For the other cases, I would assume the correct restart to be a drop ball from wherever the ball was when I noticed the ball issue (unless the ball was out of play).

Answer provided by Referee Gary Voshol

The Laws of the Game do not address situations like this, because they do not make provisions for mistakes made by the referee. I don't think IFAB assumes that referees are infallible, but rather they leave it up to the competition organizers to determine whether a game should be replayed for misapplication of the Laws.

I'm not sure how you would determine on the fly that the ball was the wrong size, but somehow if you could, the correct restart would be a dropped ball.

Given that, you probably would be restarting the game based on the prior stoppage.

My inclination would be to restart with a kickoff as if the goal had counted. Let the players know that you will be reporting the mistake, and that the league will be deciding the final outcome of the game. Then write up your mistake in the report so the competition authorities can deal with it. They may require that the game be replayed. They may be creative and take the goal away from the final score. Or they may decide that using the wrong size ball was trifling and leave the result to stand.

My reasoning is that you have made the mistake and caused the league irritation. But if you give them an 'out', they may decide that since the game has a result, for expediency they can let that result stand or modify it. They will be irritated with you, but not raving mad at you.

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Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Jonathan
This is not covered in the Laws other than the referee should check the ball to ensure it meet the requirements of Law 2 and that it should not be changed without the referee's permission.
Law 2 states that If the ball bursts or becomes defective during a penalty kick or during kicks from the penalty mark as it moves forward and before it touches any player or the crossbar or goalposts, the penalty kick is retaken.
Now to me it depends on why or how this is spotted. If the circumstances allows and it is obvious there is an error with the ball then the 'best' decision can be to sort it immediately with a retake due to the ball being changed without permission, if that is possible. If it is not spotted at the PK and if the teams are ready for a kick off with the ball being questioned at that time or later then the referee would simply get the ball replaced and allow the kick off restart or other restart with the correct ball. One can argue that the ball could have been changed after the goal was scored and in the absence of any certainty the referee should simply continue on the basis that he was not aware of any irregularility with the ball. He could report the facts in his match report if he so wished.

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Answer provided by Referee Gene Nagy

Jonathan, if at any point in the game you find out that there is something wrong with ball, you stop the game and rectify the situation. In a stoppage the restart is same as for the reason the game was stopped, otherwise a drop ball.
You most certainly do not go back and change what happened already. That job will rests with the league when your humble pie report goes in stating that you screwed up.

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Answer provided by Referee Michelle Maloney

Having a ball that is not the correct size is referee error. This should be checked before the game, before the second half and any time a new ball is used in the game.

A dropped ball is not in order here, ever (assuming that one could ever realize the ball was the wrong size while it was in flight, and even if you could, there are better choices). Only if you discover while play is continuing that the ball is the wrong size, and you stop play for that reason to replace the ball, would a dropped ball be in order. If the ball was the wrong size at a free kick that is not a dropped ball restart.

The technically correct answer is to retake the free kick or PK, albeit with the correct sized ball. If play has restarted after the goal was scored, your only choice is to include the incident in your game report and let the league sort it out.

In a recreational game, it could be considered trifling and the goal counted, the ball changed and the game continues - but that would depend entirely on the circumstances.

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