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Soccer Rules Changes 1580-2000

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Question Number: 32607

Law 18 - Common Sense 7/28/2018

RE: Competive Under 14

Doug Crawford of Oakland, CA US asks...

This question is a follow up to question 32494

Hello - We have American football goals overhanging on a few of our fields, perhaps 3-4 yards into the goal area, and a few yards above the soccer crossbar. We have a standing league rule that a ball that touches the American football goal is automatically out of bounds (GK or corner).
Another approach.

Answer provided by Referee Joe Manjone


Overhanging football goals are common at many high school soccer games because soccer is often played on the high school football field. When this occurs, a ground rule (high school soccer term) is needed just as one is needed when tree limbs and wires are found over the field.

The common ground rule is that the ball is dead and a corner kick or goal kick is awarded.

However, I have been at games where the ball was kept in play when it hit the football goal.

Another ground rule required a drop ball from the point of last touching (where the ball was last touched by a player) when the goal was hit.

Personally, I feel that the dead ball that you have now is the best solution.

I hope that you have a very successful fall season.

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Answer provided by Referee Peter Grove

Hi Doug,
This seems to me like a different scenario to the referenced question (32494). That question referred to something overhanging the centre of the pitch and a ball hitting that obstruction. It would not be appropriate to award a goal kick or corner kick in that situation. If the ball hits an American football goal overhanging the end line, the ball was most probably on its way out of play for either a goal kick or corner kick so awarding one of these two seems a reasonable idea. Not so with a ball hitting something overhanging the centre of the pitch, where a dropped ball seems like a better solution to me.

As ref Manjone says though, for fields with this potential problem, there should be a ground rule to cover the eventuality.

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Answer provided by Referee Jason Wright

Hi Doug,
We get rugby posts combined with the goals in Australia sometimes. General rule is that if it hits the post it's considered out - GK or CK as the case may be.

This is only a potential issue in those instances when the ball is travelling down the line in the air and wasn't already out - every other time, if it hits that post it was going out anyway.

The only time it really gets tricky is when it strikes the point of the crossbar where it meets the rugby posts - for our combined ones, there's a lot of diagonal bars. 'Do the best you can' is the only option.

Dead ball is the best solution, I believe, and the generally accepted one. Just mention to the players at the start.

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