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: 33771

Law 9 - The Ball in and out of Play 11/13/2019

RE: Youth to adult, comp and rec.

Barry Stewart of Chilliwack, BC Canada asks...

I was watching a women's match on the weekend.

Team White kicked the ball and it was heading forcefully to the sideline. Team Red's coach or substitute player stopped the ball on the line, thinking they'd do their thrower a favour. Problem was: the AR saw it and called, 'The ball wasn't totally out.'

It could have been that the perpetrator didn't actually step onto the field. They may have just touched the part of the ball that had left the field. Regardless, the CR and AR mulled over it and eventually awarded a drop ball for Team White.

I thought it should have been an IDFK for Team A, and I may have heard of a recent pro game, where the substitute was carded for similar actions.

Your thoughts?

Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

Hi Barry ,
the new LOTG are actually very harsh on what we might likely consider a trifling matter at the recreational or grassroots. The correct restart would be a DFK. The fact is, at the pro levels, they have multiple balls ready to go instantly. There is no waiting needed to recover a ball. The LAWS are clear, do not interrupt the game in any way unless you are a player on the FOP playing in that said match as a participant.

Saving a ball from say headed into the trees or local pond by a technical area personal is not usually done to gain any advantage simply a reaction so we do not have to chase the ball down! Granted it DOES have impact given the severity of the restart and the fact the person can be cautioned, warned or expelled for such a reaction if they react too quick to close to the touchline or goal line, where the ball, although HEADED out of play into touch, actually does not GET out of play because they inadvertently touch the the ball while the ball is in play.

The caution and PK by the warming up substitute no doubt created a ridiculously easy goal scoring opportunity against a team that really had nor tried to cheat,although, the LOTG were correctly enforced with the PK, as that is the designated restart for that issue . It does not matter the intent!

I am on board with my colleagues as well, the PK restart was SUCH an impact that the need to caution for a reaction is unnecessary. It was not USB, it was a reaction to stop the ball from rolling away. While I get the powers that be want the game to flow without interruption & hold those participating to a high standard of compliance. I can agree if it was a premeditated USB action designed to purposefully screw with the game, that person should be punished harshly including card use. At the grassroots, do not let them warm up behind the goal and think on the fact as a single ball available issue, was there any real intent to screw with play?

Read other questions answered by Referee Richard Dawson

View Referee Richard Dawson profile

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Barry
The Law has changed here over the years and the restart in your example was incorrect as would have been your restart option. At one time it was an indirect free kick for the caution of a substitute entering without permission or in the case of a coach it was a dropped ball.
In recent times IFAB has increased the sanction to a direct free kick or penalty if anyone including technical staff interfere with play on the field of play plus the issue of a card which can be either yellow or red depending on the offence. There has been examples of unsavory incident internationally where substitutes, technical staff have prevented goals by entering the field of play to kick away balls or tackle opponents in goal scoring situations.
Referee Grove has given the most recent example of a penalty kick being awarded. On the face of it the sanction is harsh yet the Law does not differentiate between the different types of interference.
In a TV game with VAR it is a matter of fact rather than a judgement call. So the referee crew did not have any option really other than the caution and the penalty kick.
Now at grassroots the same level of scrutiny is not present.
I recall a few season ago as an assistant referee and just after half time the ball was heading out for a throw in. One of the home coaches who was tardy coming from the changing room stopped the ball on the line. My immediate thought was hey that is not fully out yet the common sense decision was to look at it as trifling. The action had no impact whatsoever on the game other than preventing the ball going away some distance. There was no speed of restart benefit just a coach being helpful by stopping the ball albeit a tad early. I signaled for a throw in and that was the end of the matter. I sort of looked at the coach and he knew that he was *wrong*. Did it deserve a sanction? Not for me. However if he prevented a player from playing the ball, or a tactical offence or denying a goal then no question whatsoever.
If I decided that it was an offence then it would have been a caution / dismissal for the coach depending on the circumstances and a direct free kick on the touchline or a penalty kick if it happened inside the penalty area.

Read other questions answered by Referee Joe McHugh

View Referee Joe McHugh profile

Answer provided by Referee Peter Grove

Hi Barry,
If a substitute or team official stops the ball going out of play and the match officials decide it's worth penalizing, the resulting restart should be a direct free kick, not indirect. For instance, in the game you reference where a substitute warming up behind the goal line stopped the ball going out of play, a penalty was awarded because the offence was in the penalty area. As you say, the player was also carded, although I'm not convinced the card was absolutely necessary. The only category I can see for the caution would be unsporting behaviour but I don't think the substitute was trying to do anything unsporting, if anything they were trying to help stop the ball so the goal kick could be taken. For me, the penalty kick was punishment enough.

I believe this is the incident you are referring to.

Read other questions answered by Referee Peter Grove

View Referee Peter Grove profile

Ask a Follow Up Question to Q# 33771
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! <>