Soccer Referee Resources
Ask a Question
Recent Questions

Previous You-Call-It's

VAR (Video Assistant Referee)

Q&A Quick Search
The Field of Play
The Ball
The Players
The Players Equipment
The Referee
The Other Match Officials
The Duration of the Match
The Start and Restart of Play
The Ball In and Out of Play
Determining the Outcome of a Match
Fouls and Misconduct
Free Kicks
Penalty kick
Throw In
Goal Kick
Corner Kick

Common Sense
Kicks - Penalty Mark
The Technical Area
The Fourth Official
Attitude and Control
League Specific
High School

Common Acronyms
Meet The Ref
Contact AskTheRef
Help Wanted
About AskTheRef

Soccer Rules Changes 1580-2000

Panel Login

Question Number: 33718

Law 9 - The Ball in and out of Play 10/19/2019

RE: Rec Under 14

Brandon of RESTON, VA United States asks...

Today a team I coach played a game where the goal was part of a structure that was also used as an american football goal post. The soccer goal was regulation size, and the goal posts used for american football extended up maybe 10 feet from the top of the soccer goalposts. There was also a bar that ran parallel to the soccer goal crossbar between the two american football goalposts, maybe two feet above the soccer crossbar, that was connected to the soccer crossbar with 4 or 5 vertical bars. At one point a shot hit a bar above the soccer crossbar and bounced back into the field of play, and the referee called the ball out of play for a goal kick. This seems logical and fair to me, but I thought I had read somewhere that in that situation the ball was actually still in play. Am I remembering incorrectly, and did the referee make the correct call? Would the call be any different if the ball hit one of the vertical bars and the soccer crossbar at the same time?

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Brandon
This has been asked a number of times mainly relating to the US although it has implication elsewhere in other matters such as pre existing structures.
In the US when the ball hits these non-regulation appurtenances it is deemed to be automatically out of play and the restart is in accordance with the Law, based on which team last played the ball. So the referee made the correct call. Where it hits any part of the non soccer posts I would say most referees are going to go with the ball out of play.
Outside the US the advice would be based on the Laws of the Game only and what is 'best' for the game or what is agreed in advance before kick off. I think it would be unfair if a ball was patently going over the goal line either for a goal kick or a corner and it hits a pre existing condition, bouncing down advantageously for a forward to score. IMO the 'best' decision is to stop play and restart with a dropped ball.
I recall in the WC in Germany where a punt by Paul Robinson of England hit a TV screen hung high up over the field of play in the game v Paraguay. The referee stopped play and restarted with a dropped ball which Paraguay kicked back I believe for a goal kick. It can be viewed here.

Read other questions answered by Referee Joe McHugh

View Referee Joe McHugh profile

Answer provided by Referee Peter Grove

Hi Brandon,
This is not a situation that is addressed in the Laws of the Game so it can't be definitively answered from that standpoint. I personally have never come across this scenario in the UK or Europe so I also can't draw on any practical experience but my understanding is that normally, as ref Wright says, the ball is considered out of play when it strikes such additional structures.

In the US, the USSF used to have the folowing view on the matter:

It is not uncommon on public fields for the soccer goals to include structures attached to and above the crossbar (particularly where the goal is being used for other sports). If the ball strikes any part of such a structure, apart from or in addition to striking a goal post or crossbar, the ball is considered to have left the field even if, as a result of the contact, the ball remains on the field. The restart (goal kick or corner kick) is based on Laws 16 or 17.

Even though the advice document this comes from has been discontinued, it is still probably the nearest thing to an official ruling on it that exists. There may also be a local Rule of Competition (ROC) that would apply.

Read other questions answered by Referee Peter Grove

View Referee Peter Grove profile

Answer provided by Referee Jason Wright

Hi Brandon,

We often have these in Australia with combined soccer and rugby union/league goalposts. There's usually a 'criss-cross' of bars across the crossbar for...I'm guessing, maybe 2 feet above, then the vertical rugby posts extending upwards.

In this instance, if the ball hits any portion of the extra bits, it's considered out of play. This is the only instance where the ball is considered out when it is still in - and it's just because we need to make the best of a bad situation (and a goal which technically doesn't adhere to the laws - but it's the reality of community level sport). Even if the ball strikes part of the crossbar and part of the adjoining section, we've called it out - it just stops the argument of trying to work out which it hit more of, or whether the additional parts had an impact.

Sure, in that case, if there wasn't the additional parts the ball may have stayed in, but it's easier (and probably fairer) to not try to make that guess.

Generally speaking though, interference from an outside object that prevents the ball leaving the field would result in a drop ball - this scenario is a little different.

Read other questions answered by Referee Jason Wright

View Referee Jason Wright profile

Ask a Follow Up Question to Q# 33718
Read other Q & A regarding Law 9 - The Ball in and out of Play

Soccer Referee Extras

Did you Ask the Ref? Find your answer here.

Enter Question Number

If you received a response regarding a submitted question enter your question number above to find the answer

Offside Question?

Offside Explained by Chuck Fleischer & Richard Dawson, Former & Current Editor of AskTheRef

This web site and the answers to these questions are not sanctioned by or affiliated with any governing body of soccer. The free opinions expressed on this site should not be considered official interpretations of the Laws of the Game and are merely opinions of AskTheRef and our panel members. If you need an official ruling you should contact your state or local representative through your club or league. On AskTheRef your questions are answered by a panel of licensed referees. See Meet The Ref for details about our panel members. While there is no charge for asking the questions, donation to maintain the site are welcomed! <>