Soccer Referee Resources
Ask a Question
Recent Questions

Previous You-Call-It's

VAR (Video Assistant Referee)

Q&A Quick Search
The Field of Play
The Ball
The Players
The Players Equipment
The Referee
The Other Match Officials
The Duration of the Match
The Start and Restart of Play
The Ball In and Out of Play
Determining the Outcome of a Match
Fouls and Misconduct
Free Kicks
Penalty kick
Throw In
Goal Kick
Corner Kick

Common Sense
Kicks - Penalty Mark
The Technical Area
The Fourth Official
Attitude and Control
League Specific
High School

Common Acronyms
Meet The Ref
Contact AskTheRef
Help Wanted
About AskTheRef

Soccer Rules Changes 1580-2000

Panel Login

Question Number: 34899

Law 8 - The Start and Restart of Play 3/2/2023

Crebs Crem of Zagreb, Croatia asks...


I wish to ask a question regarding APP concept of VAR protocol.

Assume that team A is taking a free kick. Before the free kick is taken, player B2 takes down player A5 inside the penalty area but the referee misses it. Immediately after that, free kick is taken by player A10 but the cross is cleared by team B and team B starts a counter attack and scores a goal.

In the scenario above, assume that VAR is in use. Obviously, since the ball was not in play when player B2 takes down player A5, penalty cannot be awarded. However, since a goal has been scored, the APP will be checked by VAR. At this point, how far can VAR go back prior to the goal? Can VAR inform the referee on the pitch that the goal shall be disallowed and free kick by team A shall be retaken?

Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

HI Crebs,
you have a fertile imagination lol.
So lets say the free kick is simply that.
A trip at 40 yds out by the touchline in flavor of team A. A10's idea is to kick the ball in behind the defense of B into the PA for a scramble.
Here is what is important, the "TIMING" of this secondary event.
IF, as you say B2 was to kick, punch, slap, spit, etc. into A5 BEFORE A10 was to restart play that action is ONLY misconduct and while punishable with red send off or yellow caution card for the act itself, the restart WOULD remain the same. So the counter attack by B if it scored BEFORE this information was realized that goal would still count. The B player would then be disciplined according to the nature of the MISCONDUCT!

It could be a different story if this misconduct act took place AFTER A10 had restarted play . Then the act by B2 is a foul on the FOP while the ball is in play. As it was MISSED and as new information the B team goal could not be allowed and the restart awarded for what the foul was. This would have to occur BEFORE any restart in-between or after the goal like a kick off. I assume VAR would be going ballistic on the headphones before very long if play needed to be halted!

Read other questions answered by Referee Richard Dawson

View Referee Richard Dawson profile

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

One of the key factors in VAR is that referees should not allow play to restart when a review is required. If play restarts then the opportunity to deal with the incident has passed from a restart point of view.
So in your example the goal is awarded. If the incident merited a red card for violent conduct the player can be shown a red card yet the restart does not change which would be a kick off.
Good mechanics should prevent this from happening by the referee being in contact with the VAR official to halt play before the first restart and dealing with the misconduct. If that did not happen then play should be halted in a neutral zone pretty quickly afterwards.

Read other questions answered by Referee Joe McHugh

View Referee Joe McHugh profile

Ask a Follow Up Question to Q# 34899
Read other Q & A regarding Law 8 - The Start and Restart of Play

Soccer Referee Extras

Did you Ask the Ref? Find your answer here.

Enter Question Number

If you received a response regarding a submitted question enter your question number above to find the answer

Offside Question?

Offside Explained by Chuck Fleischer & Richard Dawson, Former & Current Editor of AskTheRef

This web site and the answers to these questions are not sanctioned by or affiliated with any governing body of soccer. The free opinions expressed on this site should not be considered official interpretations of the Laws of the Game and are merely opinions of AskTheRef and our panel members. If you need an official ruling you should contact your state or local representative through your club or league. On AskTheRef your questions are answered by a panel of licensed referees. See Meet The Ref for details about our panel members. While there is no charge for asking the questions, donation to maintain the site are welcomed! <>