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Question Number: 32831

Law 18 - Common Sense 10/23/2018

RE: Amateur Adult

Nicholas Keresey of London, United Kingdom asks...

In a professional match, a player is through on goal. He has beaten the keeper and only open goal stands in front of him. However, just before he strikes the ball, a fan has run onto the pitch and tackles him, and thus denying a certain goal. What would the ref do? What are the rules in this situation?


Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Nicholas
Unfortunately all the referee can do is stop the game, have the fan (outside agent) removed from the field of play and the restart is a dropped ball from where the ball was when play was stopped.
Perhaps in the spirit of Fair Play the defending team may allow the dropped ball to be uncontested so after a pass from a player the attacking team can be allowed score.
That though is of no concern to the referee as all he can do is go with a dropped ball.
Interestingly if the person who entered the field of play is listed on the team sheet as a substitute, physio, coach etc the restart would be a penalty kick with the substitute / substituted player sent off for denying an obvious goal scoring opportunity. In the case of a team official he is removed from the field and surrounds.
In all instances the matter is reported to the relevant authority
Have a look at this video
The only possible outcome here is a dropped ball assuming it was a fan.
In this video the restart is a penalty kick as the offence was committed by a team official.

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Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

HI Nicholas,
well aside from why are they so close this could occur security will no doubt be under the gun . It is likely the league will look at this incident and possibly hold the team in question responsible if this was a home match and it was an away player who was tackled.

A referee can only stop the match. Try to restrain the player(s) from punching out the culprit & restart with drop ball after the goof is escorted out likely to jail given this would qualify as an assault.

The opposing team COULD choose to step aside and let the team score as a fair play option. They are not REQUIRED by law but could choose to not to challenge the drop ball.

If by chance the individual was associated with the team in some manner the restart would be a penalty kick or DFK with any actual player/sub sent off for denying an obvious goal scoring opportunity. In the case of a team official they are expelled. The referee would include all details in the match report!

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Answer provided by Referee Peter Grove

Hi Nicholas,
My colleagues have already described what would be the outcome in this scenario but in case you need the official wording from the Laws of the Game that covers this, here it is. I have omitted a few phrases not relevant to the question.

''Anyone not named on the team list as a player, substitute or team official is an outside agent.

If [an] outside agent enters the field of play the referee must:
- only stop play if there is interference with play
- have the person removed when play stops
If play is stopped and the interference was by:
- an outside agent, play restarts with a dropped ball''

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