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Question Number: 23660

The Technical Area 7/12/2010

RE: Under 14

Annika of Bowmanville, Canada asks...

At the age of squirt and above are teams allowed to have a coach or parent coaching the goal keeper from behind the net?

Answer provided by Referee Dennis Wickham

The laws require that the coach remain in the technical area. In most youth leagues, there is no marked technical area. The league rules usually limit coaches to along the touchline, no further than ten yards of the halfway line. Most actively prohibit anyone behind the goal lines.

Unless a local rule expressly allows it, I prefer that no one is behind the goal lines. The players don't need to be bothered by anyone behind the goal; crazy parents behind the goal can inflame the crazy parents on the touchline; and the chance of having to deal with the 'outside agent' who prevents a goal is significantly increased by letting an outside agent near the goal.

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Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Annika
It is never a good idea to allow anyone beside the goals. It is a key area of the field of play and any untoward incident in the goal area plus surrounds can be an important event in any game which the referee will then have to deal with. Prevention is always better than the cure.
As regards a coach being in that area, that is definitely not allowed and he/she should be asked to remain in the technical area. If it is a parent and he/she is say behind a railing or pitch surround that would be fine. If it is an open area then the person should be asked to move to the touchline for safety and match control reasons.
There also may be a competition rule that prevents coaching from anywhere other than the technical area and the referee has to decide if it is coaching or encouragement.

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Answer provided by Referee Gary Voshol

I would not be surprised that a league somehwhere allowed this. I've heard of some U-Very-Little rules that allow coaches on the field with the players so they can instruct them!

The Laws of the Game do not address where spectators can be, but do require that coaches and other team personnel remain in the technical area. Those areas are well defined in a stadium setting, but not so often in parks. Absent a defined technical area, some rules allow the coach to wander the sideline but go no deeper than the penalty area.

League rules probably address spectator behavior, and it is usually the responsibility of the coach to see that the spectators behave. If your league does not restrict a fan from 'coaching' behind the goal, you should try to get the rules changed. Such 'coaching' is seldom beneficial; more often than not is is more of a distraction than anything else.

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