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Soccer Rules Changes 1580-2000

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Question Number: 34972

Law 5 - The Referee 5/7/2023

RE: Travel - OHTSL Under 16

Heather of GRAFTON, OH United States asks...

Is a coach allowed to stand behind the goal of the opposing team, walking from corner to corner and saying things to the opposing team goalkeeper?

Answer provided by Referee Peter Grove

Hi Heather,
According to the Laws of the Game, no they are not.

Team officials should remain within the technical area and although the exact size and location of this might vary from competition to competition, it never includes the area behind the goals.

I actually used to referee in a youth recreational league that had a specific prohibition against anyone (whether it be coaches or spectators) standing behind the goals. I'm guessing probably it was because they'd had problems with such behaviour in the past.

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Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Heather
Thanks for the question.
The answer is no. As per the Laws of the Game technical staff must remain in the technical areas which are generally located close to half way. Some fields may not have the areas marked out and referees should try to ensure that coaches and substitutes are located in an area close to half way at least 1 yard back from the touchline. Substitutes can be allowed to warm up in a designated area usually behind an assistant referee on the touchline. Some tight grounds allow the warm up to happen behind the goal line yet it is rare and I know of only one ground in our area out of over 50 where it is allowed due to lack of space on the touchline area.

Like Referee Grove I would never allow anyone connected with the game to stand behind the goal line. It rarely arose even with spectators as it is a poor viewing area yet if say a complaint was made about spectators in that area I would have them removed.

Now as to this type of conduct the referee on the day may have to be alerted to this by the opponents. A referee can get consumed in a game and perhaps not realise what is happening although the more experienced officials will grasp what is going on and deal with it under the Laws.

Anyway it is just poor conduct by a coach in an Underage match to resort to sledging a player to try to affect that player's concentration. Perhaps the goalkeeper was mature enough to recognise this conduct for what it was. I certainly would not allow it under any circumstances in a game. I have though seen some referees oblivious to the location of coaches, substitutes etc outside the technical area which highlights a lack of awareness of what is happening in a game. When anything untoward happen it generally gets brought to the referee's attention by the opponents' technical staff when missed by a match official.

By the way I have seen on occasion coaching by a parent to a goalkeeper from behind the goals where there were railings some 5 yards back from the goal line. It was not seen as an issue in the game.

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