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Soccer Rules Changes 1580-2000

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Question Number: 32284

Law 9 - The Ball in and out of Play 3/5/2018

RE: Competitive Under 15

George Savage of Miami, Florida USA asks...

On a play, the head referee blew his whistle when he thought there was a clear offsides by the offense. After he blew his whistle, the defense and keeper stopped play and the offensive player kicked the ball into the goal. The head referee conversed with the line judge who did not call offsides. At that point, the head referee called a goal. I understood that whenever a head referee blows his or her whistle that stopped play and there could not be any goal until play was recommenced. Should the team who was scored on protest the call? That call allows the goal allowed a tie.

Answer provided by Referee Jason Wright

Hi George,
You're right - the referee has done the wrong thing here. If the referee has blown his whistle, then that stops play. It doesn't matter if he blew the whistle before the ball travelled into a completely open net and the whistle didn't actually effect anybody. Play has stopped.
If the whistle should not have been blown, then play restarts with a drop ball. The referee has certainly made a grievous error in the laws here and that may well render a protest possible, depending on the competition rules around that sort of thing.

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Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi George
As described here this was a serious error by the referee. The whistle stops play so there is no possibility of play continuing or a goal being scored after the whistle sounds.
If the whistle was erroneous for whatever reason including blowing for what is thought to be offside then the only possible restart is a dropped ball at the location the ball was when play was stopped.
As described this is a misapplication of the Law the game which can be protested if the competition rules allow for that. The challenge may be to get confirmation from the referee that he blew before the goal was scored. That will depend on his recollection of the timing of the whistle and what actually transpired.

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Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

HI George ,
once the referee blew the whistle PLAY is over, dead, nothing occurs until a restart even if it be drop ball for an unneeded mistaken whistle.. The right to protest a misapplication of the LAWS OF THE GAME should the competition allow for it would seem to be in order if the match was lost through that goal?
That said if the referee declares that in his opinion the ball had already crossed the goal line ahead of the whistle without a video log of the event not a lot could be done!

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Answer provided by Referee Peter Grove

Hi George,
Your understanding of the law on this is correct. Once the referee's whistle sounds, play is considered to have stopped. The team against which the goal was scored should be entitled to protest, assuming the competition rules allow this (and I personally have not come across any that do not). As my colleagues have said, the problem would be proving that the sequence of events were as you describe. The most obvious way to do this, would be if you had a video of the incident.

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