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Soccer Rules Changes 1580-2000

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Question Number: 30048

Law 1- The Field 1/25/2016

RE: Other

Gareth of Machynlleth, Powys Wales asks...

Tony Pulis while at Stoke would regularly change pitch dimensions depending on the opponent.
The goal posts would not need to be moved as the pitch would be widened equally on each side.
If the home sides manager or even you ''the ref'' or the assistant notices later on in the game that Pitch dimensions fail regulation. Would you be required to halt the game so it can be measured?
If it's outside regulations
Would the result be void or would you allow the result to stand if it's in the away side favour who hadn't had any involvement on the pitch markings?
If a pitch becomes unplayable then there is a cut-off time where the result would still count if the game was abandoned.
Would this apply to an illegal pitch size?

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Gareth
My understanding of the Stoke situation as with others was to take advantage of the rules of competition which says that a pitch can be no wider that X and no narrower than Y. Once the pitch is inside those dimensions it is legal and as the home team has control then it is up to them to set the dimensions.
Referees do rely on the opponents usually to cry foul and then it is investigated and therein is where the rules come in. Another pitch influence is water. Rules are set for watering and it must be done at certain times only and equally. In the past some teams were watering one half only and that is now illegal. Another one is towels to dry the ball. Towels now have to be given to both teams if used
As regards halting a game for a dimension issue that is never going to happen. Once the game starts then so be it. The only reason to halt is safety and dimensions is not a safety issue.
As regards what happens in the situation where it is reported or if a game is stopped for reasons of safety the ROCs will have a number of remedies which can include that once a certain time has passed the result can stand. Typically a ROC might say that say 70 minutes has passed one options available is that the result can stand. If there is no ROC the game is replayed in full.
I have never heard of a game being nullified for field dimension issues.

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Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

Hi Gareth,
the field falls within a regulative distance as to how wide it can be! It is obvious Tony is aware and adjusts accordingly to the current regulations
At the elite level he has ten yds. of play for width

International matches
Length: minimum 100 m (110 yds.)
maximum 110 m (120 yds.)
Width: minimum 64 m (70 yds.)
maximum 75 m (80 yds.)

As to normal dimensions not associated with international there is a large variation of 50 yds. in width!

ONLY if the actual dimensions were found to be contrary in law or the rules of the competition had added something into their bylaws. The referee is obligated to look for safety issues but not run a confirmation as to exact specs unless something looked way out of proportion.
I would complete the match and report any discrepancies in the match report rather than abandon the match UNLESS it was a safety issue.

The General field dimension standards are

The length of the touch line must be greater than the length of the goal line.

Length (touch line): minimum 90 m (100 yds.)
maximum 120 m (130 yds.)

Width (goal line): minimum 45 m (50 yds.)
maximum 90 m (100 yds.)

All lines must be of the same width, which must be not more than
12 cm (5 ins).

I recall a match where the PK spot was ten yards instead of 12 and the game was decided on PKs taken . It was only AFTER the match when the shoot started did the PK distance became a known fact it was ten yards. They moved the PK spot back 2 yards BUT during the match a goal was scored at the ten yard distance. The match was ordered to be replayed so pitch dimensions could influence an outcome.

There is a min and a max but common sense at recreational play unless the field is diamond shaped or an isosceles triangle we are going to get the game in. If those who play silly buggers with a measuring tape are caught out it is not likely the referee will be responsible for doing so unless it was of a magnitude of absurdity. The ROC would rule on whether to accept deny or replay a match based on whatever evidence was presented. More likely fines or an investigation by an ethics committee to look into allegations.

An illegal size pitch might factor into the mini match bylaws more so than the adult regulation matches but again the ROC is the enforcer of those bylaws field size,s ball size etc..

The referee does not decide if a result will stand he records and reports the match circumstances! The ROC will decide to accept the results or order a replay.

If a field was to become unsafe the referee makes that call to stop and terminate the match, but only the ROC will again have within their bylaws a formula to decide if sufficient time was played to accept the result or to order a replay or finish the match from where it left off or chose to consider any aspect or circumstance that tied into the outcome.

You might inquire at the association in charge of the matches and ask them directly about pitch irregularities and how they would investigate such charges? At the recreational level a referee will not be carrying a tape measure or a surveyor transit. At the elite levels they have grounds keepers in charge with the LOTG specifics at their disposal.

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