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Question Number: 35202

Law 9 - The Ball in and out of Play 11/6/2023

RE: Competitive Under 16

Fred of Miami, Florida United States asks...

I would appreciate your analysis of this play in the recent MLS playoff game between Vancouver vs LAFC. The goal was correctly called off due to an offside. My dilemma however lies on the play before the offside when the referee collided with the Vancouver attacking player who appeared to be ready to kick the ball into the goal, following the corner kick. In the absence of an offside, wouldn't that collision be sufficient cause for the referee to call off the goal, since it appeared to interfere with a legitimate promising attack or even a goal-scoring opportunity for Vancouver?

Ref collides with a Vancouver player and MAYHEM ensues | FOX Soccer - YouTube

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Fred
Thanks for the question.
Law 9 only covers the ball hitting the referee not blocking a player. So as the Law stands the goal would have to be awarded had there not been offside.
I suspect the referee breathed a huge sigh of relief when offside was ruled.

It is for reasons like this that I do not like referees being centrally located at corner kicks and free kicks. Not only is there potential to get in the way of players yet also for the ball to hit the referee and all that now entails.

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Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

HI Fred,
uh actually no
it was a decent basketball pick except he was moving . lol
Referee is thanking his lucky stars the offside nullified the goal but I guarantee those defending players are still going to be peeved! They likely felt the untaken shot at goal had a decent chance -IF- the referee had not collided with their team mate!

As to the team that had the benefit, they should rue the missed opportunity to score perhaps they felt to guilty? The one thing I can say TEAMS that witness an injustice have it within themselves to NOT take advantage if they choose to!

The LOTG NOW account for the ball hitting the referee as a reason for a DB but not for a collision with a player.
Law 9 states it is a DB when the BALL touches a match official, remains on the field of play and:
# a team starts a promising attack or
# the ball goes directly into the goal or
# the team in possession of the ball changes.

That might change given this type of an incident, but then lots of players try to hide in behind the referee to make a shielded run from the defender. I see them bump quite often, even kind of push around them to block the defenders getting tight.

For all intents it no different than if the player ran into either of the goal posts just part of the playing surface. Unless of course there is an injury of some sort, it's play on. That WAS the old LOTG, referee or ARs were considered as part of the playing field. Tough luck if they got hit by the ball, ARs keeping the ball in play , the referee even scoring via deflection in the past would have been a good goal. Not great for the referee reputation lol

If I was that player I could be SCREAMING "RICHARDS BALL!" so the referee could be warned I was right there, ready to give it a crack. Same as communication with the team players in a crowd to avoid such a collision. Same as a keeper jumping into a crowd yelling "KEEPER to stop his defenders from getting in the way on what should be his grab. . Plus it could put off a jumping attacker just a wee bit, I bet the referee would be startled lol

The top corner of the penalty area is the recommended position for the corners. The referee seemed rather close to the penalty arc itself and turned rather than pivot so he covered some ground along the same route the ball and player was taking instead of moving out and away. Shoulder check before going backwards is a good habit but sometimes we are too laser focused looking over here, we forget to think about over there. The referee was aware he had created something he wish he had not and kind of stopped for a second then regrouped and started chasing the play. The whole idea of staying out wide and anticipating what might occur has long since vanished. I can imagine exactly what the referee was thinking because when we KNOW we just dug us a hole, it is difficult to get such a sweet bail out as this one did with the gifted offside! Buy a lotto ticket! lol

I often referee as a single official so I occasionally start out along the goal line, rushing out to the midline in a semi circle to the outside edge of the PA, once a corner is underway. They ask us to stay up by the PA so we can not get caught out on the reverse of play if the ball is cleared and get the better angle of view into the PA. I found occasionally coming in the front door, moving and looking I spotted the shenanigans just as well and never got in anyone's way ever!

You can cheat on the diagonal to a certain degree in youth and in recreational. You can judge the ball flight to know the angle of your run and keep the eyes peeled for the moving players. I move in and out like a WWWW or on occasion long angled runs that take me to where the ball is headed as opposed to chasing the ball itself. I think it is more difficult at the faster speeds & transitions of play at the elite yet the less skilled it can be very difficult to anticipate where the ball might go or what a player might do. lol

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