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Soccer Rules Changes 1580-2000

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Question Number: 29488

Law 1- The Field 6/20/2015

RE: Youth to adult, comp and rec.

Barry Stewart of Chilliwack, BC Canada asks...

This question is a follow up to question 29486

With respect, Joe McHugh's description 'If any part of the ball is touching any part. . .' is not accurate.

Eclipsing/obscuring (if we can imagine being directly above the ball) or the 'wall of water' are better ways of getting the call correct.

If the ball were a cube, then 'any part touching' would be an easy call. By the Law, the spherical ball can be as large as 28' or 70 cm in circumference. This gives us a diameter of 8.9' or 22.3 cm, putting the half-point at 4.45' or 11.15 cm.

Many refs -- and most players -- would call it out as soon as they can see turf or floor between the ball and the line. In reality, it still has a LONG way to go before being totally out.

Fold an 8.5x11' piece of paper in half, lengthwise or 'hotdog' style and that is roughly how much extra room you have between the edge of the line and the mid-point of the ball. Almost a whole extra line of room!

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Barry
Good point and technically correct. The wording was used in a colloquial sense and as you rightly point out only part of the ball can physically touch the line and then only when the ball is on the ground.
Many ball sports talk about the ball touching the line such as tennis yet we know that on extremely tight calls made by Hawk Eye and other line technology companies that the plane of the line is the determining factor rather than a physical touch of the line by the ball.
The challenge is identifying that in dynamic play. Here is one such example. Goal Line Technology correctly detected that the ball was not fully over the goal line.

The ball here is not touching the line just breaking it plane yet it is understood what is meant by touching as we tend to look and speak of these call in a one dimensional sense. Indeed in soccer the ball is in the air the vast majority of the time so touching of the line does not happening those instance.

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Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

Hi Barry,
I will let Ref McHugh respond directly but suffice to say the lines are an invisible wall and the ball in the air is looked at in the same way as it is on the ground. A curved ball in flight is 3 dimensional the line is a flat 2 dimensional I extend the idea of the wall of water or invisible glass or whatever as a way of understanding in or out. If you think about it, eclipsing/obscuring those individuals who are confused about whether a ball is touching or breaking the plane of a line that might not be exactly 5 inches, or wavy or slightly splotchy with some grass coloured white feathering out slightly! They are still not going to grasp the fact you can still see space under a ball when it is overtop the line in the air or ground. It is simply a concept you are taught and you either understand it or not! I see you have it nailed so good on you. lol

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