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Question Number: 22594

Law 1- The Field 11/28/2009

RE: Select Under 15

Dave of Clarkston, WA USA asks...

The Placement of Goal Posts

A local club placed goal posts in concrete only about 5 feet away from a concrete block restroom. The goal net cannot fully extend behind the goal line.

Would it be safe for the club to try to pad the restroom or is it best to dig out the goal posts out and place them further away from the restroom?

Do you know of a reference that specifies how far back buildings must be from the field of play?

Thank you.

Answer provided by Referee Debbie Hoelscher

This is something to be taken up with your league and local city board. Any opinion offered here could be misconstrued as legally binding and open the site and the volunter panelists to unwarranted and unwanted litigation.

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Answer provided by Referee Keith Contarino

The only thing I can say with certainty is that nets are not even required. As to the rest of your question, this is a matter for your local club and whomever owns the fields

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Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Referee Dave
In this part of the world League authorities carry out an inspection of all fields of play to ensure that there is nothing dangerous or untoward about the facilities. Once the field of play is approved then the referee just has to ensure that there is nothing dangerous on the field of play and that all goalpost, flags etc meet the statutory requirement of the law.
Without prejudice I would suggest that 5 feet is exceptionally close to the field of play in a key area of play around the goalmouth. Padding in my opinion would not be a solution.

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Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

Throughout my refereeing duties I have seen buildings, spectator areas, and bleachers far too close to the field to be considered safe. I suggest removing or backing up the portable facilities and record and report the circumstances of the others in the match report if you were to refuse to officiate on a field that you feel is unsafe. And as to litigation and stupidity they are not mutually exclusive to each other as this situation could seem to illustrate!

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Answer provided by Referee Gary Voshol

If you feel that any field conditions are unsafe, you should refuse to officiate the game. It is then up to the league to decide what to do about the field. If they decide it is fine as is, that's their decision. You then have to decide whether to accept assignments at that field or not. This could impact the number and quality of assignments you would receive at other fields.

While I am not a lawyer and certainly not qualified to give legal advice, the general trend I see when suits are filed is to go after anyone who might have any connection with the injury. In this case that would involve the referee (who OK'd the game to be played), the grounds owner (city, school, etc), the official who decided where to place the goals, and perhaps the concessionaire. Plus whoever else might have "deep pockets". You can decide if it is worth it to you.

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