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Question Number: 24426

Law 9 - The Ball in and out of Play 12/16/2010

RE: Pro Adult

John of Newcastle, NSW Australia asks...

Three related questions
(1)When a player is injured and the ball is deliberately kicked out so the injured player can be treated, how is the game restarted

(2) It seems to have become the custom that the team that the team that has the throw-in deliberately then throws the ball to a player from the opposite side, or to one of his own players to then pass deliberately to an opposing team member so that they then regain possession. Is this a rule or has it just become 'accepted practice'.

(3) When is the ball in play

Answer provided by Referee Dennis Wickham

IFAB recently rejected a proposal to make this 'sporting tradition' a part of the laws of the game. The tradition calls for the ball to be returned to the team in possession at the time the ball was kicked out (or play stopped) because of injury.

But, this is not a requirement in the laws. The referee cannot force a team to be sporting. Indeed, because ill feelings can occur when a team is incensed that the other team didn't kick the ball out, referees should use the power under law 5 to stop play for a serious injury. (Most injuries are not serious and do not require play to be stopped. Age and skill level will greatly affect what is serious.)

When the ball is kicked out of play, the restart is always based on why play was stopped: a throw-in if the the ball crossed the touchline; a goal kick or corner kick if the goal line. When the referee stops play because of an injury, the restart is a dropped ball.

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Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi John
1. When the ball leaves the field of play the restart is just the normal restart ie throw in, goal kick or corner.
2. There is no requirement for the ball to be returned to the team in possession or the team that kicked the ball out of play. That is a matter for the teams themselves and it is not part of the Laws. It has become customary in the spirit of fair play to return the ball to the team that kicked the ball out of play. However IFAB would prefer that the decision to stop the game was left to the referee solely.
3. At a throw in the ball is in play when it enters the field of play, at a goal kick when the ball leaves the penalty area, at a kick off, corner kick or a free kick when it is kicked and moves.

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Answer provided by Referee Keith Contarino

1. The game is restarted based on where the ball left the field of play; throw-in, goal kick, or corner kick
2. It's never a rule and may not be an 'accepted practice' depending where you are and what level of play. Around here at low levels of play it's an alien concept and if one team is trying to do the sporting thing, there's nothing preventing the opponents from capitalizing on that and the referee is powerless.
3.At a goal kick or any free kick leaving the penalty area, the ball is in play when it leaves the penalty area. Any other free kick the ball is in play when it is kicked and moved. At a corner kick when the ball is kicked and moved. At a penalty kick or kick off when the ball is kicked and moved forward. At a throw-in when any part of the ball touches or passes over any part of the touch line.

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