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Soccer Rules Changes 1580-2000

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Question Number: 34657

High School 8/7/2022

RE: Competitive High School

Jeff of Flagstaff, AZ USA asks...

In the situation where Team A is taking the ball into the corner to stall out the final minutes of a game, can a player from Team B step off the pitch and approach the scrum from the position of the corner flag (theoretically hoping to force the ball out-of-bounds by kicking the ball off of Team A's shin)? Would the referee see this as an infringement from the Team B player for leaving the pitch without the referee's permission, or is this a perfectly legal play by the Team B player?

Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

Hi Jeff,
I would consider it a natural momentum and evolution of play so perfectly legal as the ball position is determining the right of way, the defender has no choice but to go around to try and play it but it does mean another defender better be goal side lol

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Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Jeff
Thanks for the question
Yes that would be perfectly legal as it part of a playing movement. The game allows for players to go over a boundary line as part of play such as going around an opponent, to take a restart, etc.

The reason this does not happen very often is that players have an ingrained routine of being goal side in all challenges plus it only works well if there are ta minimum of wo defenders present. A skilful forward would turn towards goal in a heartbeat once a lone defender moves to the front to challenge for the ball.

So yes it would be a good tactic in the multiple player situation for one defender to go around the opponent and approach from the front.

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Answer provided by Referee Peter Grove

Hi Jeff,
Yes, it would be perfectly legal for a player to do what you describe. Leaving the field as part of a normal playing movement is entirely permissible, and I (along with my colleagues as you can see - and I suspect, most other referees) would consider this to be a normal and allowable playing movement.

My colleagues have alluded to the main reason why this probably doesn't happen more often but I'm still a little surprised that players try this so rarely, even when there are several of them.

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