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Soccer Rules Changes 1580-2000

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Question Number: 33950

High School 6/26/2020

RE: Competive High School

Steven of Plano, TX US asks...

Team A and B,
Team A has the control of the ball in their backfield. The ball hit the head of a player from Team B badly. So, the referee stops the play.
At restarting, by the rule, the referee gave ball to a player from Team B (last touch). That player followed the spirit of the game to kick (not a strong kick) the ball to the keeper from Team A intentionally.

But, somehow, the keeper from Team A messes up the play and let the ball pass him into the Net.
Does this consider as a goal?

I think so. But, I would like to get more opinions.

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Steven
Your question raises an interesting general point on the *best* decision for the game in these Fair Play scenarios.
IFAB did not like these type of scenarios so they introduced measures to prevent such goals having to be awarded and more recently a change to prevent the need to give the ball back under Fair Play. NFHS clearly followed suit with the requirement for two players to be *involved* for the goal to count. The decision to allow the opponents to score uncontested does not sit well in any game context.
So whatever way you want to interpret the rule the fact is that Team B did not want to score and it was a mistake. That is easily corrected with a goal kick.
I recall many years ago before this law / rule was changed I had a situation close to this. I decided to restart the game with another DB saying that I made a mistake of restarting from the wrong place! I simply restarted with another DB in a different place and that was fully accepted. The alternative was to award the goal which I could have done and then try to resolve with an uncontested fair play goal and all that entails.
As referees we sometimes have to deal with outlier events in the best way possible making a decision that the game needs. Team B will not want a goal here. The more difficult one will be the deliberate unfair one where a player deliberately scores. My association UEFA a number of years ago suspended and fined a player for such a goal and that basically told me that the game in this part of the world does not want such actions and that referees should their powers to deal with it.
I like the following statement in the current FIFA law book
* The Laws cannot deal with every possible situation, so where there is no direct provision in the Laws, The IFAB expects the referee to make a decision within the ‘spirit’ of the game – this often involves asking the question, “what would football want/expect?*
That can apply equally to NFHS. In your example does Team B want / expect a goal? Is there going to be an issue with a retake of the dropped ball or a goal kick?

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Answer provided by Referee Peter Grove

Hi Steven,
I think that the scenario you describe may well be a mis-application of the rules.

The NFHS rule on this says:

'The referee drops the ball to one player of the team that last possessed the ball at the position where it was last touched by a player(s), an outside agent or match official.'

Since you said that team A 'has the control of the ball' which then merely struck a team B player, it does not sound to me as though team B possessed the ball as the rule stipulates, so I think the ball should have been dropped for a player of team A, not team B.

Having said that, if the ball was dropped for a team B player and kicked into team A's net, the goal should not count. NFHS Rule 9 also says:

'If a dropped ball enters the goal without touching at least two players, play is restarted with a goal kick if it enters the opponent’s goal or a corner kick if it enters the team's own goal.'

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Answer provided by Referee Joe Manjone

The high schooldrop ball rule has just been changed and will go into effect with the fall high school season.

Referee Grove's interpretation of this new rule is correct. The ball should have been dropped to a Team A player and even with the ball dropped to Team B, the goal should not have counted. At least two players must touch a dropped ball before a goal can be scored.

Under the current rule, the referee cannot decide to drop the ball to a Team A or Team B player as any number of players can participate in the drop ball. As indicated , this rule will change with the new season.

I also note that you mention the spirit of the game. In high school competition, there is no "spirit" rule and although I have seen instances where teams and players have made a soft kick to the other team, I have seen many instances where they have not.

I see that the Texas High School Soccer competition is to be begin on January 2, 2021. Hopefully, Covid-19 will be gone by then and you will have a very successful season.

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