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Question Number: 16793

Law 12 - Fouls and Misconduct 9/19/2007

RE: Rec Adult

Rich of Boulder, CO USA asks...

Two opposing players are running toward a ball that is going toward the end line. The attacker manages to stop the ball in play, but momentum carries both players over the end line. The attacker stops and tries to return to the field to play the ball, but the defender is unable to stop as quickly, and runs into the attacker. Both end up on the ground while another defender clears the ball.

If this had all happened on the field, the defender player would be guilty of a foul (impeding?), resulting in an indirect free kick (or possibly a direct kick for pushing).

However, the contact occurred off the field, while the ball was in play. Is the only option a yellow card for misconduct followed by a drop ball restart?

Answer provided by Referee Gary Voshol

Yup, you got it. Anything that happens off the field is not a foul. Now, wasn't his left big toenail over the end line just a little bit? Sure it was. He was on the field. Foul. Yeah, I know, if they're really 3 yards off the field, my eyesight isn't really that bad. But if there's any possibility that it happened on the line, that's what I saw.

You have the knowledge of a pretty arcane part of the Laws. Sure you don't want to be a referee? I know the referees I read on the CSN forum seem to indicate they could use the help.

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Answer provided by Referee Chuck Fleischer

Well done Rich. Exactly in accordance with the Law. The referee should come up with the same answer. Also there are a lot of referees who will come up with what Ref Voshol did, me too and most of the guys here. That said if an assessor was present the referee would have a tough time explaining himself, but he wouldn't really care if justice was done. It is a huge stretch though...

Remember, on the park no matter how much you know about The Game your opinion is just one of the ones that doesn't count. Voicing that opinion is only going to produce another opinion about something...


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Answer provided by Referee Michelle Maloney

It depends on opinion of the referee as to whether it was worthy of a caution or not. If it was, and if he stopped the game to deal with it, then yes, a dropped ball is the restart because the prohibited action took place off the field.

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Answer provided by Referee Gil Weber

A couple of thoughts here.

Was there an offense significant enough to justify stopping the game? If yes, then the only possible restart is a dropped ball from where the ball was (subject to the conditions of Law 8). However, from the description it sounds as if the offense, if any, was a bit on the trifling side, and hardly worthy of a caution. Both players went off the field due to momentum, and both ended up in a heap. Had the defender grabbed at or in any way tried to prevent the attacker from returning to the field, then nail the perp with a caution (but it's still a dropped ball restart).

From the description I'd be hard pressed to penalize the defender. This was an "ooops," and nothing more.

Now, had it happened on the field then I'd have to decide if the defender PREVENTABLY ran into the attacker, resulting in a DFK for pushing or tripping. Or, perhaps, the attacker was impeding the defender, resulting in an IFK against the attacker? Or, perhaps, the attacker was "baiting" the defender into fouling him (i.e., stopping short and creating a situation where the defender could not possibly stop in time, thereby knocking over the attacker, a-la, Stoitchkov, or Karl-Heinz Granitza, as described in the Bob Evans book "For the Good of the Game"). The restart in this case should be a free kick in favor of the defender!

There are lots of possibilities here. But I still see it as "play on." Much ado about nothing.

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