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Soccer Rules Changes 1580-2000

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Question Number: 34892

Law 12 - Fouls and Misconduct 2/26/2023

Petr of Prague, Czech Republic Czech Redpublic asks...


one question probably more about the spirit of the game, please. :-)

Sentence from the rules:'Direct and indirect free kicks and penalty kicks can only be awarded for offences committed when the ball is in play.'

Does it apply without exceptions?

Sometimes I have doubts about it. And that, for example, for a foul near the touchline (the player kicks the ball out of bounds with one foot and fouls with the other).

I've never seen a referee call a throw-in. :-)

Thank you very much!

Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

HI Petr,
When the ball is played, INTO TOUCH, that is to say completely outside the FOP boundary lines, or the referee has CLEARLY blown the whistle or indicated he HAD to STOP play!
Play is halted for the restart as to why this occurred.
Usually a throw in, corner, goal kick or a kick off if a goal was scored legally. Or if a referee stoppage, likely a DB!
ANY conduct by a player on or off the FOP, after that fact, is only MISCONDUCT.
The restart would NOT change even if the player was cautioned or sent off.

If there was a simultaneous incident, as you suggest, you would ALWAYS take the more severe action, the foul over a throw in as the one to discipline for.

In cases where it is VERY clear the ball was out of play and THEN the fist or foot kick trip elbow smash or charge upends an opponent. MISCONDUCT for the action but no change for the restart be it a kick off or a goal kick or a corner kick or a throw in.

Perhaps in cases where you were uncertain to the timing you could sell the free kick as the best restart under the circumstances over the benign throw in.

AS a neutral official with integrity you call it as you see it!

I had a player who multiply held an opponent while he was off the FOP just as the opponents' kicked the ball into touch for a goal kick. I awarded the DFK from the point nearest the boundary line where this offence occurred. This resulted in a PK given the borderline was the goal line under the crossbar between the posts.

Later when reviewing video, the shirt grab was clearly being done as multiple grabs prior to and as the ball was exiting the FOP about 4 feet from the near goal post . The attacker inside the netted area could not get out to possibly play it in front of goal. The fact he was offside positioned created an argument that he was interfering with play being there . It could be true if he had played the ball it likely would be an INDFK out yet the defenders actions were very clear and had no bearing on PIOP status because he was not blocking access to the ball or interfering with the line of sight. Yet the defending team felt hard done by because that attacker was offside, the keeper was the 2nd last opponent, so the fouling did not matter given it probably would not have changed the outcome of play . I thought about it in the sense it was true, the missed goal, the play out in front took place while he was out off the FOP, inside the netted area through momentum. Whether or not he was being held it was likely he could not participate easily without incurring an INDFK as the keeper was some about 3 yards away in separation of distance. YET the hand over the shoulder pull back then forcing him to a knee, the shirt pulls that hobbled his efforts to get up and get out were what they were, inside the netted area but still counted as a DFK inside the PA. It was suggested I just ignore it as having no bearing on the outcome of play. Was it doubtful or trifling in the sense of the match needs or did I gift them a goal when a goal kick could have sufficed ?

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Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Petr
The answer is without exception
Once the ball is out of play then a playing offence CANNOT be called. There can be misconduct with the ball out of play yet the start does not change.

Now a referee can opine that the ball was not fully out of play before the offence in which case the playing offence can be called.

In your description of touchline offence I believe one of the reasons why IFAB changed the Law in this regard was that I have seen in the past offences committed on players who were fully over the line yet the referee gave the DFK for the offence close to the line. Technically that was not correct in law. Now the ball was in play so it could not be a throw in or whatever ball out of play restart would be. Neither could it have been an on-field playing offence so that is why the Law was changed to what we have now.

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Answer provided by Referee Peter Grove

Hi Petr
This part of the law applies without exception. If a player kicks the ball out of play first and then commits what would otherwise have been a foul, the restart must always be a throw in. As my colleagues have stated, anything that happens after the ball leaves the field can only be penalized as misconduct and the restart of play will not be changed.

I can I only see two possible scenarios here.

1. The player kicks an opponent first and then, on the follow-through, their other foot contacts the ball and knocks it out of play. This would result in a free kick.

2. The player kicks the ball and it goes out of play before the other foot makes contact with the opponent. This would result in a throw in (and possibly misconduct if appropriate).

I suppose there could be a scenario where it might be unclear which occurred first, the foul or the ball going out of play but in that case the referee just has to make a judgment call as to what they believe the sequence of events was.

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