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Soccer Rules Changes 1580-2000

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Question Number: 30534

Law 9 - The Ball in and out of Play 6/23/2016

RE: Youth to adult, comp and rec.

Barry Stewart of Chilliwack, BC Canada asks...

Situation: late in a close game, the attacker takes a shot just as a defender leaps in the way to block it.

The shot is going wide anyway but the referee and shooter both see the ball contact the defender's loose jersey, dangling out behind him and hear a light slapping sound from the contact.

The attacker races to set up the corner kick, which the ref has signalled.

Meanwhile, the defender is incredulous, claiming it didn't touch him. 'I didn't feel it. It didn't touch me!'

Like allowing 'slight' encroachment by the keeper or defender on PK: is this another case where the referee should dismiss the clearly-seen jersey contact as 'trifling' or is this (I'm hoping) a black-and-white situation?

The corner kick was close but harmless, btw.

Once again: thanks to all the panelists for making this such a great reference site.

Answer provided by Referee Jason Wright

Hi Barry,
Always good to see regulars enjoying the site!
Interesting question this one - when the LOTG states 'touch', is it only talking about the body? What about Jersey only? What about long hair?

Consider that the majority of the time when a player touches the ball, it's actually their shoe, sock or jersey touching it. So considering that, I don't think it's absurd to argue that touching the loose bit of jersey only is sufficient to be considered a 'touch'. Otherwise, how would we identify a touch? A deflection isn't required, as a slight touch may not always deflect the ball in a manner the referee can see. If no deflection is required, and the player usually touches it with their body 'through' the jersey, then it seems to me that the most logical - and simplest - solution is just to consider any part of the player or equipment to be valid in considering a 'touch'

Therefore, in your situation, that's a touch from me (same as if it touches a player's long hair).

Don't worry too much about the player not feeling it - even a significant deflection from the boot or shinpad may not be felt by the player. I've seen it happen myself when the ball changed direction off mine but I didn't feel anything! Especially when the player is focussed on a particular thing on the field, they may simply not notice any touch.

As to your comments about 'trifling' - I don't think that's applicable to ball in/out. After all, you wouldn't allow play to continue if the ball is only slightly out, nor would you ignore a touch if it clearly came off a player but the deflection was only slight. Who touched the ball last is a black and white scenario - trifling doesn't apply.

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Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Barry
An unusual situation and one that would not happen very often. The answer rests on ITOOTR. If it looks like a touch then it is a corner kick. The appeals of an opponent are always questionable. Like you I have watched stonewall touches off players being argued with ARs that the ball never touched them. Like all referees I have had countless arguments of touches being protested either way. I had one some time ago where a GK tried to prevent a goal kick and he dived to reach the ball. It looked like he made contact to me so I went with the corner. Had he left it entirely it was a goal kick. The contact on the glove was close yet IMO it did happen. He said he never touched it and perhaps so. From where I was stood, coupled with what I saw it looked like contact to me albeit slight.

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