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Soccer Rules Changes 1580-2000

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Question Number: 33951

Law 5 - The Referee 6/27/2020

RE: Rec Under 16

Doug Crawford of Moraga, CA US asks...

Goalie down - play continues?
I remember the instructor in my ref class many years ago saying there always has to be a goalie, and play you cannot have a game if the goalie cannot play. I have not heard mention of this factor since then.
In this clip, starting about time 14:52, the goalie is injured during play, or perhaps is suffering from the prior impact before the clip starts. He stays down 10 seconds looking like he expects a whistle in his favor, while the ball is played by both teams in and around the PA. Then the goalie gets up, limps back to goal, and in 10 more seconds the ball appears to be kicked out of play.
At what point should the ref stop play if the goalie cannot continue or is playing injured. I know there is a lot of gamesmanship at the level of this video, but much less at my rec youth level. However, it is rare to see a goalie stay on the ground in any game.
Seems to me like in this clip one team is playing without a goalie at least while he is down, and maybe while up and injured as well.
Your thoughts?

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Doug
There has to be a goalkeeper on both teams yet the Laws make no mention of stopping for an injury other than a serious one.
The instructor was using the requirement of a goalkeeper to make his point of stopping the game. Dealing with any injury is important and the referee has to decide what *injuries* require immediate attention, Head injuries are one such injury along with a bad wound, break, sickness etc. minor injuries such as a strain, cramp etc does not require an immediate stopping of the game, so yes it is reasonable advice when a player particularly when a goalkeeper is down yet it does not fit all cases.
In the clip the injury does not look serious so the referee was perfectly entitled to allow play to continue until tne next stoppage. To stop would have been been highly questionable. Sure if it was a blanket decision to stop on every goalkeeper injury the goalkeepers could go down *injured*, stay down and look for a dropped ball restart to their advantage very single time.
The time to have stopped was when Whites took possession of the ball in the corner. The White defender earlier in the sequence should have cleared the ball out of play which he failed to do. That would have allowed play to have stopped
So for me nothing *wrong* from a refereeing point of view here and it points to making a decision for each particular scenario.

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Answer provided by Referee Peter Grove

Hi Doug,

Law 5 states that:

'The referee: ...
- allows play to continue until the ball is out of play if a player is only slightly injured

- stops play if a player is seriously injured'

So what the referee has to decide when a player (including a goalkeeper) is injured, is whether the injury is serious enough to require them to stop play - or not.

Now, you make a good point (and one that I often make myself when discussing this issue) when you say that, 'it is rare to see a goalie stay on the ground in any game.' This is very true, especially at youth level and is part of the reason why, when a goalkeeper does stay down, referees will tend to err on the side of caution. However it's not absolutely required to stop play - it's still a referee judgement call.

I don't think you can utilise the part of the law that says teams must have a goalkeeper, to justify stopping the game every time a keeper appears to be injured. Indeed, as ref McHugh says, if it became mandatory it could be exploited by unscrupulous actors.

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Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

Hi Doug,
the keeper is still the keeper even if say he makes a rough possibly debilitating or has the wind knocked out of him. A referee COULD stop play if he is AWARE the keeper is fully incapacitated by a serious injury but sometimes its a bang bang play and a rebound or loose ball is pounded in while the keeper is out of it perhaps laying prone in the ground or as I had a incident where the fact is the ball had no chance of being stopped no matter the knee to knee contact caused the keeper to be substituted right after the goal.
I have with sufficient justification immediately blown for a dead ball when a head shot in the face sent a u12 keeper horizontal and knocked him out! On another occasion where the keeper in a u-18 match on a leaping diving crashed into the post I heard the shoulder snap from just outside the penalty area so no time to punch in a easy goal on the rebound DESPITE the fact even if the keeper was not injured he could never have saved it.
What was an interesting take on this is our old Q&A you call it question that created a a lot of controversy .
Take a stab at it lol Cheers

During live play, after having been cautioned and shown the yellow card for a reckless challenge much earlier in the half, the goalkeeper for the blue team, in apparent frustration, storms off the field of play, muttering his disgust at the way his team mates are playing. He walks away from the goal, across the touchlines straight past the technical area and into the changing room!

At this stage, all other players and the referee are deep in the other half, attacking the red team's goal.

The AR controlling the technical area is responsible for the empty half, witnesses the blue goalkeeper leave.

Panicking, the coach for the blue team instructs his substitute goalkeeper to run onto the field of play into position, fully dressed in the same colours as the other goalkeeper!

The AR tries telling the coach and replacement keeper not to do this!

Just as our replacement keeper arrives in his goal area , the red team breaks away, launching a counter attack.

One on one with the blue replacement goalkeeper, a red striker shoots the ball for the top corner. The blue replacement goalkeeper makes an amazing save, tipping the ball over the crossbar and over the goal line.

At this point, the AR on the technical area side (who has witnessed all these events) calls over the referee and informs him of what has happened.

What action does the referee take?
Your Match! Your Decision! Your Reputation!

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Answer provided by Referee Jason Wright

Hi Doug,
Good question and thanks for providing this clip.
As Ref McHugh states, the LOTG only state that play is stopped for a serious injury. The laws do not differentiate for a keeper.
Yes, the laws say the teams must have a keeper, but the keeper is still on the field. So that part of the law is satisfied.
The question is whether the spirit of the law is satisfied if the keeper is effectively out of play. Becase of that I think it's completely valid to be, perhaps, a bit quicker to whistle for an apparent keeper injury - or be willing to stop play for a 'less' serious injury than an otherwise outfield player.
But that doesn't mean stopping play the moment the keeper goes down.
Take this clip for instance. The keeper is beaten. He looks back to the opponent, starts to get up, and only at this point does he start to show some sign of injury - and a few seconds later he is able to get up and move back to goals.
This is definitely a not-serious injury and the referee is correct in not stopping play here.
I once had a case where a keeper and a player had a clash - completely fair. Ball went to another attacker, controlled and scored. That was maybe 2 seconds, constant attack, and the keeper was down. Some people argued that I should have stopped play - but nothing in the clash said 'immediately serious'. It wasn't a particularly hard clash, no head injury, just 1 player came off another, and didn't immediately get up. I still stand by my decision that it would be unreasonable to stop play so quickly when I have no sign of a serious injury.
In both the posted video and my case, if the referee was to stop play then I believe this sends a message that all a keeper needs to do when they're beat is not get up.
We still need to be assessing whether the injury is serious enough to stop play -and while we may (arguably) lower the bar for a keeper, that doesn't mean blowing the whistle if they don't get up immediately.
This keeper is in no sign of pain, he's able to push his body up and look around, even start to get up before he grabs his knee. That's definitely a non-serious injury.
The fact that he was able to get up and move towards goal when he saw the attack was still going just reinforces that the injury was not serious enough to stop play.

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