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Question Number: 23513

Law 9 - The Ball in and out of Play 6/20/2010

RE: Rec Adult

Sean of Charles Town, WV USA asks...

So, I've been studying to become an official, and I'm fairly confident in my understanding of the laws.

Here is the scenario:

We were in an adult league game (I'm playing defense), play was in the middle of the field, next to the touchline, the other teams winger is dribbling down the sideline and my midfielder fouls him. The ref blows the whistle for a foul. After my whole team stops, the other team continues play, and the ref says 'play on' I'm not sure if he was calling advantage or changing to 'no call,' and they proceed to dribble through and pass through my team, who believes that the play has to be stopped, and proceed to score the game winning goal.

I was under the impression that once the official blows the whistle, play must be stopped. He can change the direction of the kick, change the call, make it a drop ball, but play must be stopped.

So my question is, is that a legitimate goal, and the ref was correct in allowing play to continue, or am I correct, and play needed to be stopped?

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Sean
The referee has made a fundamental error here in Law and the goal should not have been allowed. Once he blew the whistle then play must stop. Full stop. However if the attacking team took a quick free kick then play can continue however in that case he does not need to shout "play on". If he believed that it was best to allow play to continue then he should have allowed advantage to be played with the clear shout of 'advantage' and displaying the hand signal. The whistle is not used.
If it was a mistaken/inadvertent whistle then play must also stop and play is restarted with a dropped ball.

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Answer provided by Referee Michelle Maloney

Are you sure the ball wasn't stopped and that a quick free kick took place? Sometimes, this happens so quickly, it is hard to see.

If that isn't what happened, then the referee was definitely in error. Once the whistle blows, the game stops. The referee can't take back the whistle - s/he has to move forward from that point, and restart the game according to the reason it was stopped. What happened was very unfair to the defending team, and should not have been allowed.

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Answer provided by Referee Keith Contarino

Once the referee stops play, he cannot allow play to continue. Unless a quick free kick was taken, no goal.

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