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Soccer Rules Changes 1580-2000

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Question Number: 29121

Law 1- The Field 1/22/2015

RE: Under 15

david le of sacramento, ca usa asks...

during their inspection of the field, the referees note that the field has multiple lines of different color and the soccer field areas contrast in color to the other markings. This is permitted by rule? True or false

Answer provided by Referee Jason Wright

Hi David,

The Laws of the Game, strictly speaking, don't allow unauthorised markings on the pitch.

But the real world doesn't lend itself to such luxuries, unfortunately. Due to sporting and space constraints fields often need to be shared across a number of sports (in much the same way as goalposts are sometimes combined as soccer and rugby goals). In professional matches the lines from a different sport can be painted over; this can't happen in a local game, so practical considerations must take precedence - so there's no choice and nothing to dispute, it's just something we're all stuck with. Futsal faces this problem even more than soccer.

At least the lines are different colours - I've played on fields of multiple sports with lines the same colour. Now that gets difficult!

All the players have to do is know what colour line to pay attention to. If a player forgets (say, the goalkeeper handles it outside of his penalty area, or a throw-in is taken on the field) then the referee doesn't have the luxury of lettering the player get away with it; the laws must still be applied. The referee can be a bit sympathetic in determining if a card is to be issued, but in some situations (such as Denying an Obvious Goalscoring Opportunity) he simply doesn't have that discretion.

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Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi David
The Laws of the Game only make provision for the markings required for soccer. The law makes no mention of the line colour just that the goalposts and crossbar must be white. Traditionally the lines have been white yet I have seen blue/red lines used to assist with visibility where there was a snow / sleet issue. Technically no other lines should be present.
In the real world we know that soccer shares fields with other sports so it can be difficult to eradicate lines used by other sports completely. If it is an astro turf facility it is impossible as the lines are permanent in different colours.
In the UK many stadia are shared with rugby and the ground staff paint over the rugby lines with green field paint when the pitch is used for soccer. The lines are still somewhat visible albeit not significantly so.
On astro turf that is not possible and the lines are set out in different colours
See these images
On the images with the football lines, those should not pose any problem for the referee and players. While clearly not ideal it does require good levels of concentration to remember the appropriate line colour certainly where there are multiple markings. If the soccer lines are there, clearly visible with the correct dimensions then the game can and should proceed. The referee may have to adjust his concentration level to take account of the other lines and perhaps cut the players some slack when a genuine line interpretation error occurs particularly when there are two lines together.

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