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Question Number: 22669

Law 8 - Start and Restart of Play 12/26/2009

RE: rec Under 19

locksley of valhalla, ny usa asks...

My question is on mechanics, so here is the scenario.

In an attacking play two thirds into team B half, a team A forward kicks a ball toward team B goal, but the ball unintentionally hits a team B player in the face, causing him to go down. Player was obviously hurt, I stopped play for a drop ball restart.

1) Team A had possession at the time the game was stopped so I wanted a 'sporting' restart. How do I indicate my desire to team B and effect the restart?
2) Since team B had the causality, should the restart be in their favour rather than team A?
2) My expectation is that team B will lob the ball back to team A goalkeeper. If a another team B player sees this restart as an opportunity to attack team A goal, what does the ref do?

Answer provided by Referee Dennis Wickham

As referee, you can persuade players to respond with a sporting restart, but cannot direct one.

The first hurdle is that many players don't know what a sporting restart looks like. They don't know that Team A had possession and that tradition calls for Team B to return the ball to the keeper of the team that had been in possession. I find that as referee, you can inform the players about who had possession and ask them if they want to follow the tradition by kicking the ball back to the other team's keeper. Some prefer to kick the ball out of touch to return the ball. Others don't want to follow tradition, and then the restart will be a contested dropped ball.

The second hurdle is that the other teammates need to know what is happening. I find that a reminder to the players of each team near the dropped ball - - to tell their teammates what is happening and what they should do - - is important. Someone always doesn't get the word.

The third hurdle is what happens when someone didn't get the word. By law, the referee has no power to stop play simply because one player has decided to score a goal. So, the referee has two choices: let the goal happen and explain to the team that is embarrassed that their teammate just scored a goal that their sporting option is to let the other team score an unimpeded goal. But, the referee cannot make them do that either. The other choice is for the referee to stop play to check on the condition of the ball. Get rid of the one that is headed toward goal because it (or something) is obviously warped.


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Answer provided by Referee Steve Montanino

1) You don't. It is not up to you to establish a sporting restart. In fact your 'desire' should not be a part of the game, the players play and make these decisions. However, in the interest of simplicity you could say to the players at the dropped ball, 'Team A had the ball when we stopped, what do you plan to do?' But it is not for you to impose that on the teams.
2) No, play is restarted with a dropped ball, which is possession neutral and any number of players from either team may participate at the dropped ball.
3) Either the dropped ball was done properly, or it wasn't. If a player legally possesses the dropped ball and dribbles it to attack they haven't done anything wrong. The ref allows the play to go on... and then has to deal with all that heat for the rest of the game. Which is why you shouldn't be getting involved in this issue in the first place.

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Answer provided by Referee Gary Voshol

I'd start by saying, 'Hey B's, we stopped play for your injured player when A was attacking. Do you want to give the ball back to them?' If they say yes, then I'll tell A's, 'The drop ball will be here. They said they'll kick it back to you.'

Alternatively, if it's a restart that *should go* to the defenders of Team B, I'll manage that by simply dropping it to a member of the defending team. No need to give A an opportunity kick it to the keeper, because they might be tempted to miss the keeper and score. Again, only if the teams agree to do it.

This applies only to recreational play and younger ages - in other words, games in which the referee is a part of the learning process for the players. Once you get past a certain level of play, you as referee should stay out of it entirely. You certainly wouldn't need to make any fair-play explanations for State Cup games, for example. I'd be wary of doing anything like this in a league that has tryouts for teams. This is why other colleagues say you don't indicate any of your desires to the team; let them sort it out themselves.

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Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Referee Locksley
I have a very simple approach to this which is acceptable in Ireland and the UK. I would stop play and get the player attended to. Players then come around and ask what is the restart. I simply say 'The restart is a dropped ball from here'. I don't add to that. If a team says that they will kick it back to the other team then they make the arrangement not me and I just facilitate it by dropping the ball and it is kicked back. If an arrangement is made I will ensure that it is adhered to and it is not an opportunity for say an unimpeded shot at goal. I do this by observing what is done and if it is not done as per the arrangement I will just go with the dropped ball again from the 'correct spot'. The only time I will deviate from this is where the keeper has the ball in his hands. I will stop play, deal with the injury and I restart with a dropped ball that the keeper will pick up back into his hands. Team don't look to contest those and are happy with that 'arrangement'.

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Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

Your desire to see justice done, while admirable, you need to realize as a neutral official you must let the teams themselves decide on how they wish to play. I know that the USA National Federation of State High School Associations has taken that away in they decided to make it an indfk for the team in possession on an injury stoppage but that is inherently risky depending on the location as a free kick is a scoring threat!
FIFA still commands we drop the ball for an injury situation stoppage which a referee deems serious enough to halt active play as opposed to waiting for a natural stoppage. The teams know the situation and can choose their actions accordingly to the gamesmanship they wish to employ as a tactic or adherence to fair play they wish to follow and most importantly be reciprocated if the shoe was on the other foot!

To some extent the teaching / officiating philosophy at youth if sanctioned by league coaches, players and officials as a code of conduct to be followed can render some basic instruction as a guide to consider as opposed to a command to obey. One would think at age 18 those playing should have a pretty fair grasp of the unwritten codes of fair play convention that those at the elite level generally follow.
Interpretation of the laws of the game and guidelines for referees
Dropped ball
(1)Any player may challenge for the ball (including the goalkeeper).
(2)There is no minimum or maximum number of players required to contest a dropped ball.
(3)The referee cannot decide who may or may not contest a dropped ball.

FIFA Laws of the Game 2009/2010


Dropped Ball
If, while the ball is still in play, the referee is required to stop play temporarily for any reason not mentioned elsewhere in the Laws of the Game, the match is restarted with a dropped ball.
The referee drops the ball at the place where it was located when play was stopped, unless play was stopped inside the goal area, in which case the referee drops the ball on the goal area line parallel to the goal line at the point nearest to where the ball was located when play was stopped.
Play restarts when the ball touches the ground.
Infringements and Sanctions
The ball is dropped again:
? if it is touched by a player before it makes contact with the ground
? if the ball leaves the field of play after it makes contact with the ground, without a player touching it

In direct answer to your queries.
(1)As a neutral official watch and listen to them to see what THEY want to do! You can hold those accountable if they specifically tell the opposition they will follow the unwritten rule but not if they decide to participate and say nothing! If you read the laws it is not impossible to drop to a single player, even no player or a bunch so there is that option but beware of inserting yourself into the match! Most teams know what goes around comes around!

In youth I might say Ok guys lets see I stopped play because player B got wacked in the face when A was attacking with the ball so it is a drop ball here to restart! If two players one from each team line up then drop the ball and get out of the way. IF some players start suggesting things as to returning the ball to the other team or the other team should get the ball back. What do you guys want to do?

Remember it was YOU who stopped PLAY, this was not a decision either team made!
Team A did not put the ball out in deference to the injured opponent in which case (if asked) I could suggest the social convention dictates B team could chose to return the ball back to A since it was A's gesture that created the stoppage and Team B could choose not to contest the drop ball!
If team B put the ball out as opposed to Team A and were not pressured to do so I might reverse the suggestion and Team A could choose not to contest the drop ball.

The important thing is to let the teams choose their course of action. Some will want to kick the ball out of play or back down field to the keeper. Some will say lets go! It is their game and always their decision!

(2) Who is hurt is unfortunate but soccer is a physical game such things happen. The team with ball possession is USUALLY the one credited with receiving it back IF those following the unwritten social convention of returning the ball back to the team that has ball possession prior to the stoppage CHOOSE to say they will! But who had the ball, who suffered, who knows?

(3) If an attack occurs, if they have NOT said so specifically, if you just expected or even if you suggested it, then you are the goat as nothing on law has been compromised except the gullibility of yourself for all to see and the game continues!
However, if those doing so specially deceived the opposition by say promising to return the ball then that is an act of USB
? acts in a manner which shows a lack of respect for the game
? verbally distracts an opponent during play or at a restart
You can intervene as the game integrity has been compromised!


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Answer provided by Referee Michelle Maloney

The mechanics are already set. Play was stopped for an injury. The dropped ball will take place where it was located when play stopped.

It is not the referee's function to teach kids of 18, or even anything above U13, about the game - it is simply to control the game according to the Laws and the needs of the players. If they have questions, they will ask, and then you can help - but keep it very brief.

It isn't clear to me what you consider to be a 'sporting restart'. If what was intended was a referee engineered scenario with one team kicking it back down to the other keeper or some such, I think you are just asking for trouble, as my colleagues have noted.

Since A is the aggressor/kicker here and B the hapless recipient of the ball in the face, A no longer had possession - it was a free ball. Watch the players, and after the injured player is seen to and the game is ready to begin again, do not make a huge production about the restart.

When it is clear the teams are ready to start, either announce it is a dropped ball, hopefully announcing from the spot where you plan to drop it or simply drop it and say 'Ball's in play'. The objective is to get the ball back into play as quickly as possible, without giving a direct advantage to either team. Once it is in play they can figure it out from there.

On dropped balls, if it is your opinion the ball did not hit the ground before being kicked, it was not put into play properly, and must be done again. This is where your management skills come into play.

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