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Soccer Rules Changes 1580-2000

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Question Number: 33664

High School 9/21/2019

RE: Varsity High School

Teague Cameron of Southampton, New York uSA asks...

In my daughters High school game yesterday our defense cleared a ball across the front of the goal and the one referee was standing about a foot outside the post and foot inside the field. The ball cleared the goal frame only to hit the referee in the side as he turned to protect himself and the ball went in the goal. I know the rule changed this year in FIFA to disallow a goal off of a ref but is this the case in high school soccer?

Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

Hi Teague,
unfortunately the high school rules have not yet adapted to follow the new FIFA/IFAB decisions within their LOTG. Under current high school rules this is a good goal with a very embarrassed referee and the unhappy team taking the kick off wondering why was the referee was positioned in such an unusual position.

Referee presence at THAT location is not really well thought out in my opinion, to have such an impact by being so close to the ball & goal during active play? .Although a referee is obsessed with finding the best angle of view allowing for the anticipation of active play. A referee wants to observe that area, not be at that area.
As my colleague Joe Manjone says, I too hope it was not the deciding factor of outcome or the referee will likely be feeling worse than ever.

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Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Teague
In FIFA there have been a number of unfair situations like the one you describe where goals have bern scored due to deflections off a match official or the ball being deflected into a goal scoring opportunity. While rare none the less they have happened and up until June of this year the only option was to award a goal.
That is still the case in NFHS and unfortunately it is a goal.
Here is one that happened in May 2019 in the Netherlands
In FIFA this goal would now be disallowed and the restart is a dropped ball to the goalkeeper.

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Answer provided by Referee Joe Manjone


The rule has not changed for high school play. The 2019-20 NFHS Rule 9-1-2b states that a ball is in play when it touches an official in the field of play.

Having a goal scored off a referee is a rarity. In my 61 years of officiating soccer that has never occurred in one of my games.

I hope this goal was not a deciding factor in the outcome of the game. Also, I hope that your team gets to play in the NYPHSAA Championship Game in Cortland in November.

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