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Soccer Rules Changes 1580-2000

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Question Number: 30763

Law 8 - Start and Restart of Play 9/15/2016

Matt of Bristow, VA USA asks...

The new LoGs state that a referee may not manufacture the outcome of a dropped ball. Given that, how would you handle a situation were a keeper makes a save and before distributing the ball notifies you that it is flat. You are close enough that you can see that the ball is obviously flat enough that playing to the next stoppage is not an option.

The keeper has clear possession of the ball and the restart is a dropped ball. It would seem unfair to allow both teams to participate in a dropped ball.

What do you do if the attacking team attempts to participate in the dropped ball?

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Matt
One would think that the attacking team would not be attempting to participate in a dropped ball in such circumstances or one that is more likely such as an injury with the ball in the goalkeepers possession. Fair Play would dictate otherwise.
What the Laws is saying that if a team wants to participate in a dropped ball the referee should not prevent that happening nor should the referee be telling players what to do.
If it were me I would simply drop the ball to the goalkeeper before there is an opportunity to decide what the outcome should be. Nor would I engage with players about manufacturing the outcome such as saying to players not to participate or to kick the ball back. If the ball is dropped and picked up then it is play on.
I had a dropped ball at the weekend on an injury. The goalkeeper had the ball. After the player was removed I got the ball and I just dropped it close to the GK who picked it up. I was not asked nor did I manufacture anything. I simply restarted with a dropped ball where it was when play was stopped. No issue from either side nor would I expect there to be.
If in the unlikely situation that a team for whatever reasons wants to participate then there is nothing the referee can do other than to allow it. I would just ensure that everyone knows that it is being contested and that it is done in a way that is compliant with the Law and least stressful for the game.
If the ball bounces high enough the GK with his hands will have a great advantage in using his hands compared to a raised boot which might be PIADM!!

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Answer provided by Referee Jason Wright

Hi Matt,

The word 'manufacture' is a bit ambiguous.
Referees have never been permitted to prevent a team from participating in a dropped ball. I think this law change is simply making this clear.

You cannot prevent a team from participating - but you also don't have to invite them!

Simply drop the ball to the keeper's feet before the attacking team have the chance to think about whether they want to participate or not - no sense waiting around!

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Answer provided by Referee Gary Voshol

While we don't have to invite the other team to participate, we do need to be sure we don't surprise the other team by putting he ball into play surreptitiously. In fact, we're supposed to whistle for the start following a stoppage for an injury. I don't know if I've ever done that for a dropped ball.

Most teams would let the keeper have the ball. But if an opponent insists in participating, you can't prevent it.

At the youngest ages, where we are as much a teacher as an arbiter, we can remind the team of the right thing. 'Hey guys, if this happened in the pros, they'd let the keeper have the ball, right?'

I tried to manufacture a dropped ball a few years ago, about U11 or U12. I called the keeper over to me near the side of the penalty area. The coach yelled at him, 'Get back in goal!' Sigh. Ok, contested dropped ball.

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Answer provided by Referee Peter Grove

I would agree with referee Wright that it is not entirely clear what is meant by 'manufacture' in this context. In one sense, the ref is always 'manufacturing' the outcome just by deciding when and where to drop the ball. I believe (as my colleagues have mentioned) that it is more to do with not preventing or inviting players to participate or giving them explicit instructions which could be seen as commands.

But the referee still has to make a decision and drop the ball somewhere, somehow. In the scenario outlined here, it does seem to me that it would be within 'the spirit of the game' to drop the ball close to where the keeper is standing without specifically inviting or disinviting any other players.

On a connected note, I do think that this is one situation for which the NFHS rules have a better solution where, if the ball was in the clear possession of one side, play restarts with an indirect freekick to that team.

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