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Soccer Rules Changes 1580-2000

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Question Number: 29890


RE: Select Under 13

Marc of deptford, nj usa asks...

When you stop play because of injury and one team Clearly has possession of the ball, how do you handle the restart?
I always thought it started with the standerd contested drop ball.
However Ive seen plenty of guys drop the ball to the defending team and tells them to pass it to the opposing team since they had the ball when play was stopped.
Should referee's be doing this? Shouldnt it just be a dropped ball between the two teams regardless of who has possession when play is stopped?

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Marc
The Laws allow for a dropped ball restart which can be contested or not. What has developed over the last number of years has been the concept of the Fair Play restart. The principle behind it is that teams feel that why should they benefit from contesting a dropped ball restart when the opponents had clear possession of the ball and that play was only stopped to deal with an injury. So the ball should be returned uncontested
Now the referee has no powers to enforce the Fair Play restart. He can suggest it and facilitate it if the teams agree to it. If they want to contest it then so be it. However it has become so common place that referees now almost expect the teams not to contest the dropped ball. I think I have had one contested dropped ball in the last 2/3 seasons.
Perhaps I might pose these questions. Would the team not in possession complain if the referee allowed play to continue rather than stopping for perhaps an injury that did not require immediate treatment? Is it fair play that the team in clear possession moving forward should be impaired by the possible loss of possession along with field position through no fault on their behalf facilitating their opponents? Would it be fair if a goalkeeper who made a save got injured while holding the ball and the opponents get to challenge on a dropped ball perhaps 6 yards from goal because the referee stopped play for the injury to be treated? Those are not questions for the referee yet it is the rationale for the ball being given back in a fair play manner at the dropped ball.
I would make a final point. Engendering the concept of Fair Play in young players is laudable and it should be encouraged. Being afforded the opportunity to win the ball back cheaply at a dropped ball is not seen as fair play. I believe many young players see that in the modern game and they want to be part of the Fair Play and Respect campaigns

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Answer provided by Referee Jason Wright

Hi Marc,

Under the Laws, there's only a dropped ball restart. They don't specify variations under certain conditions, and they don't specify the number of players involved.
So strictly speaking, the referee cannot rule on whether it's contested or not. He may be able to suggest it to the players - and the wise referee will engineer the restart a little (for instance, if play was stopped when the keeper had it in his hands, the referee may not wait to see what the attacking team want to do but just drop it at the keeper's feet).
Referees shouldn't be instructing players what to do on these situations - it's usually the player's own sense of fair play that dictates these.
However, if the player says they'll return it and they don't, the referee may caution that player for the deception (meaning they wouldn't be able to score a goal from it)

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Answer provided by Referee Gary Voshol

At the younger ages, even in the select/premier/travel leagues, you can tell the players, 'Hey guys, you know what the pros would do, right? They'd kick the ball back to the team that had possession. Do you want to do that?'

But you can't direct them or make them do it. You can only use the strength of your personality to convince them to do the right thing.

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Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

Hi Marc,
Under FIFA LOTG a referee has no authority to FORCE a Fair Play restart or prevent those who wish to participate at a drop ball ! Drop Ball restarts are applied for an event where no single foul or misconduct by the teams has occurred but play is stopped, usually for safety concerns' Injury, outside interference and simultaneous fouls are three possible reasons.

The issue is often one team will have actual ball possession. They might even be in a good attacking or scoring position. Given that a drop ball is open to be challenged by both parties it has become a GOOD habit that teams respect this fact and seek to ensure the team with possession retains it after the drop ball.

The thing is the opposing team do not want them to get a immediate attack or scoring opportunity so the tell the other team they will return the ball either by kicking it out into touch for a throw in or back towards the opposing keeper so they GET ball possession but still have to develop an attack of sorts. Its a win- win in a sense rather than a mad scramble of ping pong and kick the other players.
An interesting point is USA high school the NHSF has chosen to take this option away after an injury start up and award an INDFK to the team that has possession. Taking a drop ball out of the equation and their choice to play fair!

My colleagues and I really do support the FAIR PLAY and RESPECT Campaigns and are not adverse to explaining the principles when chance permits. It is a commendable approach for our youth to emulate the big boys when they are doing something noble, instead of picking up the bad habits, flaunting crappy attitudes, cheating and diving.
While we can not force Fair Play. We can do certain things within the LOTG to push it in that direction by accommodating opportunities that present themselves like a solo drop to a keeper then a request he hold the ball a bit as we run back up field to prepare for his punt. Any player may challenge for the ball (including the goalkeeper). There is no minimum or maximum number of players required to contest a dropped ball. The referee cannot decide who may or may not contest a dropped ball. Also a drop ball is NOT a required whistle restart so undue attention is another matter which could be utilized to get play underway fairly!


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