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Soccer Rules Changes 1580-2000

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Question Number: 33317

Law 1- The Field 5/6/2019

RE: Rec Under 16

Doug Crawford of Oakland, CA US asks...

Hello - Curvy goal line results in off angle goal posts.
When I checked the goal post position and the netting I did not notice this. I was AR, and later, 30 yards away, standing lined up with the goal posts for a corner kick, I realized that the goal was off angle.

Standing on the touch line, if I lined up with the 2 goal posts, I was standing about 2-3 feet away from the goal line, towards the center line.
The goal line had a curvature at the goal mouth, extending backwards about 5 inches into the goal mouth, but again only noticeable from a distance to the side. I think the curving goal line was slightly visible in back of the 2 goal posts from the corner.
There were some obvious curved parts to the goal line outside the goal mouth as well.

I decided, as AR, from my position, I would still use the goal posts as my substitute for the goal line, as we usually do, since we cannot see the goal line from the AR position.

The laws say we award a goal when all of the ball crosses over all of the line¦, but as we cannot see the goal line from the corner, the AR uses the goal posts as the decider for goals.

So I positioned myself parallel with most of the goal line when the corner kick is taken, to see ball out of play before it arrived at the goal mouth, and then moved to parallel with the 2 goal posts when the ball was close the the goal.

Obviously, whoever striped that field at a local community college needs some negative feedback, and our club or league needs to fix it. I thought it was still possible to play and ref this rec youth game, but obviously that is a matter of opinion and perspective.

This is real 'grassroots'! What say you experienced referees?

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Doug
Yes grassroots does throw up some weird situations. I had one recently where one post would not fit down into its slot correctly so it was 2/3 inches higher on one side. It looked to me lopsided yet no one else picked it up. On another one a pitch had been raised and resurfaced with some 6 inches of raised turf added. No one bothered to raise the goal post by the same amount!!
All I could do was report same to the competition organisers.
In your case all you could do was to make the best of the situation which you did. The issue would be, had there been a ground hairline goal call, that it could have looked that the ball did not cross the actual line which could be the view from the players positions.
In a game recently that I was refereeing there was a hairline goal call in the second period of added time. The lead AR flagged it as having crossed the line and he used the line as the judgement as the ball ran along it for a short distance before crossing it. I doubt he could have given a goal where the ball broke the plane of the goalpost line yet did not actually cross the goal line. Easier to give it somewhat in the air as the reference points are the posts. Altogether much more difficult when the ball is touching the line and perhaps not fully over the actual line!

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Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

Hi Doug,
grass roots football has its own unique challenges to be sure. I have great respect for the city workers who maintain the fields and for all the volunteers doing the same. Most do a credible job. I have refereed on some superb fields, properly marked, fantastic pitch surfaces as smooth as glass and soft as silk. In my 50 years I have seen no lines at all with cones and coats marking the corners , wavy touch & goal line, trapezoid PAs , too small, too narrow, too wide sigh, faded lines unable to discern in the sun and pitches so muddy no idea if a line was ever there at all. Yet we get those matches in because the kids are there or adults too, want to play the GAME! That is what it is, a game, played for and with competitive zeal but also for FUN! Of course in high competition there will be standards we cannot justify a important competitive match to occur until it is addressed and those failing held accountable but we look to get the game in if we can and report the situations to fix imperfections as well on those pitches . .
Play on my friend Play On! Cheers

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