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Soccer Rules Changes 1580-2000

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Question Number: 30158

Law 10 - Method of Scoring 3/1/2016

RE: Select, Competitive High School

Colby of San Marcos, TX USA asks...

During a game last night, an attacking player was attempting to make a shot on goal. He was in the opponent's goal area, right in front of the goal. As he made the shot, a defending player slid-in to him and tripped him. However, as the attacker was falling, the ball entered the goal, and he scored.

All this being said, out of the intensity of the moment the referee blew his whistle upon the contact occurring. There were no players or keeper that had any chance of getting the ball even if the referee hadn't blown his whistle, but he DID blow it before the ball crossed the goal line. Despite that, the referee immediately realized his mistake and allowed the goal anyway, citing that he may change his ruling on a call before the next restart of play. We all know that is true, but can it be applied in this situation?

Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

HI Colby,
NO the referee has made an error against the LOTG. No Goal, award the PK and decide if the tackle met DOGSO or excessive criteria to send off , reckless/tactical USB for a caution or plain careless. It is tough, it takes a smart referee to remain calm and swallow that whistle to await an outcome rather then create one! While you might get away with it in a recreational match do not expect your referee credentials to improve! Especially with the nonsense he spouted to justify the decision.
Cheers PS see 30157

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Answer provided by Referee Joe Manjone

When the referee blew the whistle, the ball was out of play and no goal can be scored. This is covered in NFHS Rule 9-1-2c.

Also, 9.2.1 Situation B on page 40 of the NFHS Rules Book indicates that play must be stopped when an inadvertent whistle is sounded. The game is then started with a drop ball or indirect kick.

NFHS Rule 5-1-2 indicates that an official can only correct a decision so long as the game has not been restarted.

In the situation that you provide, when the whistle was sounded, play stopped. The referee had two decisions to make. He could either call the foul and award a penalty kick. In addition, the foul got have been done to deliberately prevent a goal which would be a disqualification. The other choice is to indicate that this was an inadvertent whistle and award a drop ball at the top of the goal area. There was no choice to award a goal because the ball was dead as soon as the whistle was sounded.

To answer your question, the blowing of the whistle is not something that can be changed. Once, the whistle is sounded, the ball is dead. The referee cannot say that he changed his mind as the referee in your situation did.

As the state championship coordinator of officials, I encountered a similar situation in a 5 A State Championship game several years ago. The situation was almost identical to yours although the whistle was blown when the attacker was fouled at the top of the penalty area.The attacker then took one more step after the whistle sounded and then kicked the ball into the goal. All of this happened in a second or two. In this case, however, the referee swore that he did not blow the whistle. Most of the players, the AR at that end of the field, and many spectators including me heard the whistle. However, the referee ruled a goal and the goal could not be overturned because this was the referee's decision to make and since no whistle had officially sounded, the goal counts.

I see that your state finals are taking place in mid-April. I hope that you have a very successful remainder of the season.

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Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

The answer is that a whistle stops play and no further play is allowed. The referees explanation here was in error. In this situation as described the only correct decision was to disallow the goal, disqualify the defender and restart with a penalty kick.
Perhaps the referee felt he sounded the whistle after the goal was scored?
Very early in my career I once had this situation with the exception that the offender was the goalkeeper. I blew too soon. Now I was faced with a dilemma. The captain came to me to say that in his opinion the goal was good and that we should restart with a kick off. The goal made little difference to the game. I went with the kick off. Totally wrong in law yet Both teams were happy with the outcome. I learned a valuable lesson about hasty quick whistles

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