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Question Number: 19237

Law 3 - Number of Players 5/30/2008

RE: AYSO U-14 Under 15

Andrew Crews of shelby twp, Michigan United States asks...

Tonight I was AR at a U14 ayso game and neither me, the center or the referee administrator could figue this out.
Green was on a corner kick. When green was taking the corner their star player was off the field over the goal line. The kicker took a short corner and the player came back on and took a shot on goal."she did not score". Now my question is what is the correct call? We just decided to let play continue was that the correct thing to do? We were all dumbfounded by the situation. We thought maybe a yellow card for unsporting behaviour or a yellow for leaving the pitch.

Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

A player is permitted through natural momentum to be outside into touch as part of normal match play. If she was returning from such a position and it happened a kick was taken quickly it could be easily overlooked. I have seen similar where the player leaves to retrieve the ball and throws it to her team mate in the corner and runs back into play to get the pass. No reason to be upset.
However, to deliberately leave the field during a stoppage for tactical reasons to deceive or gain an unfair advantage it is not permitted. If players leave without permission it is in fact cautionable. You could award an indfk and caution the lady and show a yellow card for such actions if you held that opinion she obviously tried to get away with a sneaky catchem unawares moment..

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Answer provided by Referee Gil Weber

Andrew, there are some important considerations in your scenario that should lead the wise referee to the correct decision.

You said the player was over the goal line and stepped back into the field when a teammate took a "short corner." From this I would understand you to mean that the player off the field was immediately adjacent to the corner arc. Whether this player was just over the goal line or standing on the field right next to the corner arc anticipating the short corner, in either case the nearest opponent had to be about 9-10 yards away. So any tactical advantage resulting from the off-field positioning was essentially nil. It made no difference where the player stood. Thus, utterly trivial.

The player off the field was not deceiving the opponents by being there. She was not hiding off the field or causing the opponents to think she was hurt and would not participate. She was not hiding by the side of the goal net, ready to jump into the goal area and challenge for the corner kick. Here there was no unfair advantage being sought. The positioning while not fully in compliance with the LOTG was utterly trivial.

Now, let's change the scenario a bit and say that the player was over the goal line right next to the side netting. That player WOULD be seeking to gain an unfair advantage by rushing into the goal area when the ball is put into play. The reason: the other attacking players jostling for position in the goal area have their freedom of movement restricted by the mass of bodies. But the player running onto the field from behind the goal line has no such impediment, or certainly a lot less. That player can judge the flight of the ball, then run into the field and take an optimum position by avoiding a lot of the bumping and maneuvering.

So, what does the intelligent referee do?

If it's utterly trivial as the scenario you describe, he or she does nothing. Let them play.

But if in the referee's opinion the positioning off the field is done for tactical reasons and unfairly disadvantages the opponent, then the intelligent referee will not wait until the ball is in play to deal with it. He or she will hold the restart and get the player back onto the field before the corner kick is taken. Issue resolved before it becomes a concern.

And if the referee fails to deal with the player off the field and realizes that there has been unfair disadvantaging of the opponents, then the question is how to deal with it.

If in the referee's opinion it is misconduct when the player steps back into the field then the referee must stop the game, show the yellow card and caution the perp (leaves the field without permission), and restart the game appropriately. How?

Only possible restart is an IFK, but from where? Is it from where the ball was when the game was stopped, or is it from the place of the misconduct?

Was the misconduct by a player on the field with the ball in play? Yes. Then the restart has to be from the place of the misconduct.

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Answer provided by Referee Michelle Maloney

So much depends on the situation, Andrew. If the player was one of two who could possibly take the corner, and she took up her position off the field and over the goal line, there is no need for a caution as she left the field basically in the act of playing the ball, and any supposed infraction is at most trifling. If the player was one of two or more taking the corner, and after the ball is kicked by a teammate, she enters the field to play the ball, the only thing the referee needs to worry about is whether or not the player entering from over the goal line is offside. Once the ball was kicked, offside becomes a possibility. If she is not offside, and in the event she scores, signal for a kick-off. If the player is not participating in the taking of the kick (not over at the corner) but is hiding or attempting to hide or otherwise deceive the other team by her location off the field, then any participation by this player which involves going for the ball in this situation will be punished as misconduct. She is cheating. All of this is covered in the USSF publication The Advice to Referees section 12.28.7.

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