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Question Number: 30660

Kicks From The Penalty mark 8/10/2016

RE: Competitive Adult

Jeff of Morristown, Tennessee United States asks...

This question is a follow up to question 30656

I have had the following happen twice: a player, similarly, taking water at the touch line when the play comes near them. The player, seeing an opportunity for a good play, leaves the touch line and becomes involved with the water bottle still in hand. Both times, the opponents were incensed and I stopped play, awarded an IFK, and cautioned the player. Both of these players very sheepishly accepted their caution with no further word, and their teammates laughed, so the outcome was positive. I wonder, though, if I am applying the LOTG correctly to these incidents.

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Jeff
The issue comes down to whether the players became involved in play with the water bottle still in hand or not. If the player still has the ball in hand then that is a danger to the opponent so may be a caution for USB and an indirect free kick restart. If the player drops the bottle and gets involved then he has done nothing wrong.
Reads from the description and outcome that the cautions were in order.
Let me pose another scenario. GK has a water bottle in the goal area and he is taking a drink. He then realises that the opponents are attacking and he drops the water bottle behind the goal line to get involved in play. Has the GK done anything wrong to warrant a caution and an IDFK?
The same can and should apply to an outfield player and it is in line with what USSF states which I quote
*Given the demonstrated importance of proper hydration during a match and the need for water (or other appropriate liquids) to be available to the players, the following common sense guidelines are provided. Although the term “water” is used below, the guidelines apply to all liquids that may be provided for player hydration in the immediate area of the field.
# Players may drink water during play or during any stoppage provided for by the Laws of the Game, but only by going to a touch line or goal line.
# While drinking water, players may not leave the field nor may they carry water containers onto the field. The players should stand at the touch line or goal line while drinking water. However, goalkeepers may keep a water container near the goal provided that the container’s location will not interfere with play......#
So really the opponent coaches in the technical area has to see that the player is not off the field of play and coach accordingly. Simply getting incensed and shouting for an offence because a player is out of position is not tenable.

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Answer provided by Referee Jason Wright

Hi Jeff,
It sounds like you took the correct approach.
Previously, the Laws of the Game stipulated that drinks could be consumed on the touch line and only during a stoppage in play. Interestingly, the new laws make no mention of players drinking water at all. But we can still apply our own sense of what's 'right'.

Opposing players certainly won't appreciate the possibility of being knocked with or splashed by an opponent's water bottle in a challenge, so I think a caution for USB is appropriate - the player really should know better. Play would be restarted with an IFK to the opponents from where the player with the bottle was when you stopped play.

The argument could be made that the referee could consider this 'playing in a dangerous manner' and simply award an indirect free kick (note that this is the only possible reason for an IFK but no card). I think this is stretching the laws and at most levels the players should recognise this to be silly enough behaviour to justify a card. But that stretching interpretation may be something to consider at really low levels or low level juniors where the players didn't really know any better.

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