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Soccer Rules Changes 1580-2000

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Question Number: 29439

Law 8 - Start and Restart of Play 5/22/2015

RE: rec Under 17

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

Hi Refs,
watching a game last weekend play was stopped for an Injured player, the team with the injured player decided to give possesion back to the opposition thus kicking it back to their goalkeeper, the ref made it clear to all players it was going to the goalkeeper who was standing just inside his penalty area and not to challenge, so the ref dropped the ball on the halfway line and the player purposely tried to lob the goalkeeper he did get back to stop it on his goal line, my question is if the ball had gone in the goal could the ref caution the player for any reason, this was a highly skilled game ( edp ) it was not a miskick by any means.

Answer provided by Referee Gary Voshol

No foul or misconduct, but the goal would not count. A couple years ago the Laws were changed to make a dropped ball indirect on the first touch. This was to avoid just such a situation, where the ball bounced over the goalkeeper - although the most publicized incident that led to the Law change was an accident, not a try at lobbing the goalie.

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Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

Hi Pete,
the LOTG were changed to make a drop ball restart the same as an INDFK in it cannot DIRECTLY enter into the goal. It was done as a response to the rare but occasional goal being scored when the opposition was GENUINELY trying to return the ball but ...ACCIDENTLY... lobbed or the ball bounced or the keeper slipped and our gentlemanly sporting gesture turns into a most unpleasant moment, because the ball was live on the drop and now we have a good goal, unearned as it maybe, for something that was an intended fair play moment. Nothing in law allowed the referee to take away the goal.

The team that scored had an option though. I had seen the response be on the restart, to allow those on the kick off to dribble down and shoot and score an undefended equalizer as a courtesy but with how goals are used to determine standings as in for and away, this practise was not really a good one, so IFAB decided to retask the drop ball restart from a direct opportunity to score to an indirect opportunity. Whether say the keeper was to mishandle the drop ball return and have the ball enter for a goal might still create issues if the other team does not choose to allow an equalizer but the LOTG can not cover ever eventuality.

It is in my opinion, ...sucky... for a opponent to try to take advantage of what is looked upon as a sporting gesture to achieve an advantage. On a side note, I recall a ...throw in restart... that was supposed to return the ball on a long throw back to the opposing keeper lead to an unexpected attack which resulted in a goal. Generally ill will often leads to counter ill will and the match is going to hell in a hand basket in the face of such drivel.

Given a goal cannot be scored directly on a drop ball the keeper should just leave the ball enter the goal and take the goal kick out rather than finger tip it in by accident. I do not think the lob act itself is USB, nothing in the laws state a player MUST return a drop ball nor does the referee have any authority to demand it be or how it is returned. He might suggest it but his duty as an impartial arbiter of justice is not to interfere with player decisions. It could be implied or argued perhaps the participating opponent acted in a manner which showed a lack of respect for the game or by stating his intentions to return the ball fairly he has verbally distracted an opponent during play or at a restart. In the situation you describe I doubt a caution is necessary
As a player I have found that if you act like a dirt bag, you paint a big X on the jersey and you know someone is coming, ....eventually!. The referee might not be looking or he might get dust in the eye at that critical moment who is to say?

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Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Pete
The Law has been changed that a goal cannot be scored directly from a dropped ball restart and the restart here would have been a goal kick. There is no advice to caution and the referee would need to be a mind reader to do so. Examples of these have shown that the players did not intend to score just over kicked the ball.
If however the player told the referee that he was going to give the ball back in the presence of an opponent and then did the contrary by dribbling off the ball the referee would be entitled to stop play caution for unsporting behaviour and restart with an IDFK . The caution could be for verbally distracting an opponent during play or at a restart or acts in a manner which shows a lack of respect for the game. If the players actions were seen as dissent which included words, gestures as part of the kick then the referee could caution for that offence. An example would be where a player says he is giving the ball back , is clearly fuming about the decision and then blasts the ball into the goal that IMO is dissent and the referee would be entitled to caution for that with an IDFK restart.
Now the advice to referees is to police these restarts very closely. They have the propensity to create all sorts of match control issues. I have seen on video mass brawls develop as a result of players acting in an unsporting manner in these situations. In a 2012 Champions League game between FC Shakhtar Donetsk and FC Nordsjælland a ball that was to be returned uncontested was intercepted by Adriano of Donetsk who scored. The player was retrospectively suspended for one match for violation of the principles of conduct during the game and instructed to carry out one full day of football community service.
Many commented at the time that the referee could not have done anything and that is correct in law. I personally would have found a way to stop the game when it was clear that the events unfolding were not as intended. Given that UEFA subsequently banned the player and FC Shakhtar Donetsk apologised for the incident there would not have been any repercussions on the referee taking action to prevent this happening. FC Nordsjælland on the night acted professionally and they did not cause any match control issue for the referee. I can think of many other teams that would not have acted as it did.

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