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Soccer Rules Changes 1580-2000

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Question Number: 35344

Law 4 - The Players Equipment 2/5/2024

RE: Select Under 16

Eva of Mazabuka, Ref Zambian asks...

A player accidentally loses his footwear and immediately scores a goal. What decision should the referee give?

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Eva
The referee should award the goal. The fact that a goal has been scored immediately means that there was no immediate risk to the player.
It is only an offence if the player was to play for a prolonged period in which case it poses a risk to the players safety and it is playing in a dangerous manner which has an IDFK restart to the opponents.

IFAB the law making body stated that and I quote ** Why can a player who loses a shinguard or boot accidentally be allowed to carry on playing?
It is unfair that a player who loses a boot or shinguard by accident has to stop playing immediately – it seems fair to allow the player to have until the next restart of play to put it back on.**

In this case as a goal has been scored immediately that play has stopped for the goal so the player can put the boot back on and there is little risk to the player in such situations.
Ultimately it is up the referee on the day to decide based on the circumstances . In some situations it could be a stretch to allow a player until the next stoppage to deal with the loss of footwear.
My experience is that most players want to put on the boot immediately as they do not like running or playing without same.

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Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

HI Eva,
the word immediately dispels any doubt for me!
Good Goal!
The fact that a player loses a piece of equipment like a shoe or a shin guard is not a reason to take away a goal if they are in the process of attaching and shooting.

If there is an equipment malfunction or a bloody jersey & it occurs AWAY from play. If the referee spots it he could direct the player off the FOP or allow the the player to leave temporarily to have it repaired or even fixed on the FOP if it offers no danger to themselves or others. If play was stopped and a directive giving permission to leave, then the player requires the referees permission to reenter. To actually participate in play minus a shoe and have it halted to award the INDFK is exceedingly rare!

I once had a a fellow running, hoping, really trying to put on the shoe without sitting down and he leapt into the air to head the ball while holding it. The coach of the opposition was screaming for a free kick claiming he could not challenge while minus the shoe!

It prompted a serious debate.

I maintained since the heading effort was him trying not to use his feet as he was hoping along trying to put it back on, it posed no real danger to himself nor were the opponents' in pursuit affected in they did not stop playing to watch .

Interestingly in the post game it was a subject of conversation things were said
he could have had his foot stepped on after the jump onto the air to head the ball
he could have used the shoe to ward off the other plyer as he was doing so
he could have been shoulder charged on the side of the body holding the shoe
he could have tried to play the ball by getting it down to his feet and a slide tackle into the unprotected foot could be dangerous.

It was thought that the INDFK aspect of PIADM COULD be stretched if the shoeless player was slide tackling with his socked foot. The agreement reached was only a prolonged run around noted by the official or after a stoppage a failure to heed a warning to correct or a truly dangerous action would there be sufficient reason to stop play and award the INDFK. In my opinion this was simply a player acting as a player because once he headed it he sat down and put the shoe on!

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