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Soccer Rules Changes 1580-2000

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Question Number: 29404

Law 8 - Start and Restart of Play 5/13/2015

RE: Referee In training College

Orekan Kehinde of Abeokuta, Ogun Nigeria asks...

What is the procedure for a dropped ball in and out of the penalty box and how is it executed?

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Orekan
The procedure for a dropped ball restart is the same throughout the field of play except that in the goal area the ball is dropped on the goal area 6 yard line.
The referee drops the ball at the place where it was located when play was stopped and play restarts when the ball touches the ground.
The method to use is to inform both teams that the restart is a dropped ball. Teams may decide to contest for the ball or they may chose not to. That is no concern to the referee and he simply drops the ball from waist height from an open palm to the ground. There is no need for any players to be present although invariably there is and there is no maximum or minimum number of players required to be present. It can be one player or for that matter as many as the teams want.
Some point to consider
1. The ball is in play when it touches the ground. It is a retake if the ball is touched before it touches the ground
2. A goal cannot be scored directly from a dropped ball. It is either a goal kick or a corner kick depending on who kicked the ball
3. Referees should manage the dropped ball restart carefully so that it causes as little fuss as possible. It is not a good idea to stop the game in a dangerous restart area so if possible the referee should wait a second or so in the hope that the ball is cleared away before stopping.
4. Referees have no powers to direct what happens at a DB restart. However with good player management skills the dropped ball restart can be managed in a way that there is fair play and that there are no problems created for the game.

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Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

Hi Orekan,

Under FIFA LOTG a drop ball is a method to restart play where no other avenue is afforded. Generally a drop ball restart occurs from where the ball was on the field of play at the time of the incident which causes play to stop and a drop ball is the only acceptable restart.

The easiest example is a blue player is injured he has tripped himself and sprained his ankle, as referee you stop play so he can be treated as it seems serious. There was no foul thus no free kick or restart other than the DROP BALL is permitted.

Recently a CHANGE in the drop ball status, a GOAL can not be scored directly off a drop ball! This was important because the drop ball, while both teams CAN challenge for possession, often one team agrees to give the ball back to the other as a form of sportsmanlike play.

For example red had the ball possession along the left touchline when the referee stopped play for the blue player who sprained his ankle. So the restart occurs where red had the ball but blue understands that it would be FAIR if they gifted possession of the ball back red. So the blue player tells the referee and the red team he will kick the ball back to their red keeper if he is permitted to be the only player at the drop ball restart! Red players back off, where the blue player then kicks the ball towards the red keeper's goal.

On the occasional giveback a goal was accidently scored, kicked too hard, too high etc.. This created all kinds of issues hence they changed the LOTG to prevent a direct goal, now it would be a goal kick out for the red team as the ball last touched by blue exited over the goal line.

The mechanics of a drop ball are simple, the referee, usually holding the ball at the end of an extended arm, off a flat hand at mid waist height, just turns the hand over and drops the ball onto the ground. The ball is back in play ...ONLY after it hits the ground. If any player touches the ball before the ball hits the ground the drop ball restart is retaken.

What is most unusual about a drop ball restart is there is no restrictions on the number of players who can participate, nor a minimum distance restriction. It is possible in theory for all 22 players to try . Hate to see it though lol

Usually a player from each team if there is to be a challenge will gather at the appointed spot. Still the referee, while he can not deny players participation he is under no restrictions to not drop the ball to a single player or even if no one is present.

Frequently a referee will drop the ball directly to the keeper if the incident is inside the PA. The keeper is permitted to use his hands once the ball hits the ground. I should warn you if the ball is being contested and you have a keeper matched with an opposing player watch for the possible fouling . In fact always watch for the ball being kicked at the drop not the player which is a foul or misconduct depending on when it occurs (before the ball hits the ground or not to be in play)

There is one restriction of drop ball placement! There can be no drop balls within the 6 yard goal area , located inside the 18 yd. penalty area. If the ball is there at the stoppage then the ball is brought straight back out to the outer edge of the goal area line that parallels the actual goal line.

A referee can advise or indicate a course of action but he can not prevent player participation although his timing of the drop ball can occur so a more favourable outcome is achieved .

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Answer provided by Referee Ben Mueller

Assuming we are playing FIFA rules, any player on the field may participate in a drop ball. The referee drops the ball at the location ball was when play stopped (unless in goal area). Once the ball hits the ground, any player may play the ball. If a player touched ball before it hits ground or the ball rolls out of play (without touching a player), then the ball is dropped again. If the location was in the goal area, the ball is dropped at the point on the top of the goal area line nearest where the ball was when play stopped. Finally, a goal may not be scored directly on a drop ball. This means that if ball is dropped and player kicks it in on first is not a goal (but a goal kick for the other team).

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