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Soccer Rules Changes 1580-2000

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Question Number: 28483

Law 2 - The Ball 6/7/2014

RE: rec Under 15

pete of floral park, new york usa asks...

During a game I was an AR. With about a minute left in the game the home team with a lead of 2-1 kicked the ball out over the sideline. The ball went about 30 yards into some bushes. As the home coach retrieved the ball, the away team coach threw a ball to his player to take the throw in (not the original match ball). After taking the throw in and 2 passes later the away team scored a goal thus tying the game 2-2 which is how it ended. The coaches of the home team were furious that the ref didn't check the ball before it went into play. What should have happened in this situation? Thanks.

Answer provided by Referee Jason Wright

Hi Pete,

The home team are just upset that their opponents scored in the final minute and are looking for somebody to blame.

It is the referee's responsibility to ensure all balls correctly adhere to the laws of the game - and while it makes sense to allow a ball to be introduced in this situation, the referee should check the ball before allowing it to be used. The ball could be flat or damaged, which could be quite problematic if it's clearly flat but the goal is scored anyway.

So the referee should always check the ball in this situation, but the fact that he didn't isn't really enough to complain about, assuming the ball met specification. The players will understand taking a few moments to check the ball - the referee has to be strong enough to hold up play to allow the check, even though one team just wants play to go quickly.

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Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Pete
Sour grapes I'm afraid and trifling. In games where multiple balls are available rarely if ever is there a complaint about ball checking when it is changed during play. Indeed the 'multiple ball' rule is part of some modern Pro leagues. In the Leagues that I officiate on teams are expected to provide a minimum of two match balls. When a ball goes say over a fence or not easily retrievable a replacement ball is used. Referees might have a cursory check of the balls before kick off but rarely if ever is the ball that is thrown in checked unless there is a complaint about it by the team in possession. Players might complain about under-inflation after a period of play and I have changed balls for this reason.
In this case the throwing team was the only team to touch the ball so how would it have made a difference to the opponents? Perhaps if it was the incorrect size or made of plastic the referee have could a concern.
I officiated a game recently and the original match ball went over a hedge. The away team threw in a replacement which was then replaced after a few minutes when the original ball was retrieved. The coach's request for a change of ball was that the ball that was being played with for 5/6 minutes was a training ball? It was still a size 5, properly inflated and I believe met the specifications anyway. The players did not know that nor did it have any effect on the game. I cannot recall if a goal was scored during that time but you could imagine the bemusement if a complaint was made about the ball not being checked.
The final point that I would make was that kicking the ball away some 30 yards into bushes sounds to me like using up time. The same coach would be complaining about time added on for these type of time losses when a goal is scored in added time.

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