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Soccer Rules Changes 1580-2000

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Question Number: 34537

High School 3/23/2022

RE: College

John Mahoney of Durango, CO United States asks...

Has something changed about the est a drop ball as per the previous dropped ball rule?
Thank you.

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi John
I am unsure as to what your question is in respect of the dropped ball restart.

The DB law is still used as part of the law with the main difference being that the DB is no longer a contest between two players. If the DB happens inside a penalty area the ball is dropped to the goalkeeper and if it happens elsewhere the ball is dropped to one player of the team that last touched the ball.

In NFHS when a ball is caused to go out of bounds due to a simultaneous touch, Rules 9-2-2 and 9-2-3 now stipulate a referee will restart play with a DB to one player of the team that last possessed the ball before going out of play. Previously, simultaneous touch resulted in any number of players contesting a DB to restart play.

Additionally, if play is stopped with the ball in the penalty area or the last touch – by either team – was in the penalty area, the ball is dropped to the defending team’s goalkeeper with all opposing players outside the penalty area.

A DB is also used when a ball is deemed out of play due to touching an official, remaining on the field and resulting in one of three scenarios. Rule 9-1-1b states that if a ball touches an official and remains on the field, it will be deemed out of play if it 1) creates a promising attack for a team, 2) goes directly into the goal, or, 3) changes possession.

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Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

Hi John,
we have certainly seen some dramatic changes as the LOTG have evolved over time.
The DB restart was at one time a most contentious issue!
The very real physicality of kicking the crap out of an opponent possibility at every contested dropped ball encounter.
Even when teams attempted to play in a sporting manner & or act in accordance with fair play principles by returning ball possession by a simple unspoken agreement that the ball would be either be kicked out of play for an opposition restart or redirected deep into the defensive 3rd towards the keeper. Problems arose when goals were inadvertently scored by accident or teams took advantage of a preconceived notion that the ball would be returned but was not. DB restarts were a kind catch-all for any event that was not covered by the then wording of the LOTG designating free kick or throw-in restarts. One issue was team officials and substitutes could illegally intervene with no PK or free kicks. Officials on the FOP were considered as part of the FOP, much like a moving goal post and no stoppage was awarded if an official was struck by the ball. In fact, a goal could result from a deflection by the official. If a referee did stop play for an injury or an illegal intervention the DB restart might still be contested even if one team indicated they would kick the ball out or return it to the opposing keeper. The opposition was supposed to honor such an act by returning ball possession if the one team had clear possession, however, there was no law stating this had to occur. . Teams could choose to circumvent a referee's decision to not stop play, acting graciously at times out of respect and tradition if a player was injured by knocking the ball into touch for a stoppage. The opposition was supposed to honor such an act by returning ball possession. In cases where the referee-initiated DB restarts that same honor system was not so much in play.
SO, the IFAB & FIFA in consultation with players coaches' officials, pundits, and fans came up with new DB protocols.
Principally no more CONTESTED DB restarts.
Opposing players are required to be 4 meters away.
NO goals can be scored DIRECLY from a DB restart.
If the DB restart occurs inside a penalty area the ball is dropped only to the goalkeeper.
If the DB occurs outside the PAs then the team affected by the intervention, that last touched the ball
Should an official be involved in an altercation where the ball strikes them as long as there is no fundamental change in play dynamics, we can allow play to continue but if it creates a promising attack for a team, goes directly into the goal, or changes possession a DB restart is initiated to fairness. The only drawback is if that occurs inside a PA the attackers could be at odds given the defensive keeper will get ball possession.

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Answer provided by Referee Peter Grove

Hi John,
Some of the characters have been eliminated from your question but I'm going to hazard a guess that what you're asking is whether there's been a change in regards to the players who can be present at a dropped ball.

If this is the case, then yes, there has been a change. There are no more contested dropped balls between players. The law now says the ball is dropped for one player only. This will be either the defending team's goalkeeper if the dropped ball is within the penalty area or one player of the team that last touched (under IFAB Laws) or possessed the ball (under NFHS Rules) if the dropped ball takes place anywhere else on the field.

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