Soccer Referee Resources
Ask a Question
Recent Questions

Previous You-Call-It's

VAR (Video Assistant Referee)

Q&A Quick Search
The Field of Play
The Ball
The Players
The Players Equipment
The Referee
The Other Match Officials
The Duration of the Match
The Start and Restart of Play
The Ball In and Out of Play
Determining the Outcome of a Match
Fouls and Misconduct
Free Kicks
Penalty kick
Throw In
Goal Kick
Corner Kick

Common Sense
Kicks - Penalty Mark
The Technical Area
The Fourth Official
Attitude and Control
League Specific
High School

Common Acronyms
Meet The Ref
Contact AskTheRef
Help Wanted
About AskTheRef

Soccer Rules Changes 1580-2000

Panel Login

Question Number: 29987

Law 8 - Start and Restart of Play 12/10/2015

RE: Select Under 19

Brad of Plymouth, Michigan United States asks...

White attacker with the ball at his feet makes a move to get by black defender in the penalty area. Attacker dribbles to goal with several defenders converging between him and goal. As he prepares to shoot he is tripped by the recovering beaten defender (about 7-8 yards from end line), while a different defender almost immediately clears ball past the end line. CR blows whistle for a trip (thus PK). Black defenders insist that player 'got ball', so CR checks with AR (who had a very good angle).

In my scenario, I was CR and my AR confirmed my call--the defender touched ball but took out the attacker in the process (and would not have gotten ball were it not for that contact). We both agreed on PK.

But this got me thinking: I was willing to concede to my AR's judgment (since he had the better angle) if he told me I was in error. If my initial call had been in error, what is the restart? The foul happened so close to end line that before I could blow the whistle it was already kicked out of bounds (for what would be a corner kick). So in this scenario, in which play stopped before any whistle, would I continue with the corner kick as the restart, or would it be a dropped ball? I am thinking corner kick since ball was already out of play prior to me stopping play.

Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

Hi Brad,
Under the set of circumstances you provide I agree, the corner is a sellable call as opposed to the technically correct call of awarding a drop ball for an inadvertent whistle given that what did occur was no foul with ball pushed into touch by the defender! The saving point for you is no whistle until after the ball is out of play, you can go with it as it in reality, was the right call along. I have no problem with selling a CK rather than rely on a drop ball in front of goal as long as you grasp the drop ball is correct in law due to why you had decided to stop play. Your troubles are compounded by the fact the attackers will not like it when you reverse your decision of awarding a PK if you signaled it as such initially, as much as the defenders will be happy. If you just hit the whistle but did not yet signal PK then checked with AR as to what occurred the corner is a much easier sell.

Read other questions answered by Referee Richard Dawson

View Referee Richard Dawson profile

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Brad
The technical answer is that as the referee made a decision with the ball in play then the restart is a dropped ball once the referee concedes that his whistle was inadvertent and in error.
Always remember that it is the time that the referee makes the decision not when he blows the whistle that matters. In a slow / delayed whistle the ball could in fact have left the field of play before it sounds. That makes no difference as it is the timing of the referees decision that counts not the signal. In practise players will not be concerned about the position of the ball after a foul and a whistle. Fouls that happen on the touchline or goal line will many times end up with the whistle sounding after the ball may have left the field of play. We don't blow for a throw in so when the referee whistles in these scenarios player will know it is for the foul while the ball was in play.
In this scenario the very real challenge for the referee is convincing the attacking team that it was an error.
Have a look at this video
The referee awards a penalty and then reconsiders his decision. After consulting with his AR he cancels the PK and restarts with a dropped ball.

Read other questions answered by Referee Joe McHugh

View Referee Joe McHugh profile

Answer provided by Referee Gary Voshol

In your case, since the ball was out of play before the whistle sounded, you would be correct to go with the corner kick.

It gets trickier if the whistle was while the ball was still on the field. The only 'correct' restart there is a dropped ball for an inadvertent whistle. But maybe during your discussion with the AR you 'forgot' exactly what came first, so now in your mind the ball was out of play. Mind you, this is incorrect and you could only get away with it if the two events were very close together. But that would be a more satisfying result if it could be pulled off.

Read other questions answered by Referee Gary Voshol

View Referee Gary Voshol profile

Ask a Follow Up Question to Q# 29987
Read other Q & A regarding Law 8 - Start and Restart of Play

Soccer Referee Extras

Did you Ask the Ref? Find your answer here.

Enter Question Number

If you received a response regarding a submitted question enter your question number above to find the answer

Offside Question?

Offside Explained by Chuck Fleischer & Richard Dawson, Former & Current Editor of AskTheRef

This web site and the answers to these questions are not sanctioned by or affiliated with any governing body of soccer. The opinions expressed on this site should not be considered official interpretations of the Laws of the Game and are merely opinions of AskTheRef and our panel members. If you need an official ruling you should contact your state or local representative through your club or league. On AskTheRef your questions are answered by a panel of licensed referees. See Meet The Ref for details about our panel members.