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Question Number: 33051

Law 18 - Common Sense 2/7/2019

RE: PRo Adult

Tony of BAllston Soa, NY USA asks...

Can a player score a goal from a position where he is not standing on the field of play

Answer provided by Referee Peter Grove

Hi Tony,
It depends on what you mean by 'not standing on the field of play,' but theoretically yes.

Actually, it's not so much the position of the player that matters, it's the position of the ball. A player could be standing almost completely off the field of play and so long as any part of the ball, no matter how small, is overhanging the line, the player could play the ball and that would be legal.

In fact, depending on where exactly the ball is positioned, a player who scores directly from a corner kick could quite easily be mostly off the field when striking the ball. In practice, they would probably have at least part of their body (although potentially only a small part of one foot) on the field at the moment of striking the ball but theoretically they could be completely off the field, in the way most people would understand that phrase.

See the clip below - in it David Beckham is pretty much completely off the field when he strikes the ball although I would say part of his right foot probably makes it over the line as he makes contact with the ball and/or during the follow-through.

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Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Tony
The Laws of the Game allow for a player to be off the field of play as part of normal playing. Examples would be taking a corner kick, throw in and running around an opponent while crossing a boundary line.
At other times player who are off the field of play such as for an injury, correcting equipment etc must ask the referees permission to leave and must ask permission to return. So highly unlikely that a referee will allow a player who is off the field of play in those circumstances to return into immediate active play
So yes it is feasible and legal for a player off the field of play as part of normal play to score a goal yet the ball must be in play.
I could see in addition to the example given by Referee Grove where the ball is on the touchline in play and a player to kick the ball towards goal has to approach the ball from off the field of play. Nothing illegal in that action and it does happen close to the touchline quite a lot. Rarely though is there obvious chances to score in those situations yet not impossible.
So while possible it is highly unlikely except for the goal direct from a corner kick.

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Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

HI Tony, an under 18 match was played on a rather narrow field . One team had a very strong throw in player who could launch the ball into the goal area with consummate ease Unfortunately the opposing keeper tried to jump up to tip the ball over the net rather than just let the throw in enter the net and thus the goal counted. I explained the goal could NOT be credited to the thrower because you CAN NOT score directly on a throw in . It was counted as an own goal! Though it was no doubt caused by the player off the FOP!

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