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Question Number: 25249

Law 6 - Assistant Referee 7/23/2011

RE: Adult

Dimitris Spanos of Karpathos , Dodecanesse Greece asks...

What if the goalkeeper while blocking the ball slides over the lines , the linesman holds up his flag but is not being noticed by the ref. The play continues in the over side of the field , the ball goes out over rge line the game restarts but the linesman has his flag still high . Almost 2 minutes later and with the ball going in and out off the field the ref sees the linesman and decides to bring the ball for the foul that the keeper did couple of minutes ago .can this be done ? Thank you so much for youre answer

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Dimitris
When the ball goes over the goal line or touch line that is a matter of fact and advantage cannot be played. The instruction to assistant referees is to keep the flag raised until it is dealt with by the referee with either a throw in, goal kick or corner kick. It is unlike an offside or a foul where advantage can be played.
Now common sense has to also enter the equation along with advice to assistant referees. If play has continued for a lengthy period with different restarts then the AR should drop the flag and allow the play to continue. However if he persists to hold the flag up the referee has to deal with it and the only legal start is the original reason the ball was out of play.

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Answer provided by Referee Gary Voshol

I assume that because you refer to a foul, you are talking about the goalkeeper sliding outside the penalty area, but on the field, as opposed to sliding over the goal line. It doesn't matter if the keeper is outside the area, only the ball matters. You haven't said if the ball was completely outside the penalty area or not.

That said, once the referee allows a restart (in this case the throw-in) to take place, there is no going back. The referee only has until the next restart to change his mind, upon reflection or new information supplied by an assistant referee.

So I have to ask, was the referee deaf or the AR mute? An important decision like a free kick just outside the penalty area, the AR should be shouting to get the referee's attention. And perhaps the ref was blind as well, since he missed seeing the flag up for such a long time. Poor mechanics on the part of the crew apparently led to a poor decision. It was compounded by an illegal remedy to the decision - to give the free kick too late.

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Answer provided by Referee Keith Contarino

Poor mechanics for sure. Not sure what you mean by the keeper sliding over the lines. Unless he carried the ball over the goal line and a goal was legally scored, the AR should have simply put his flag down when it became apparent the referee was ignoring him and you state the ball had gone out of play more than once.

If a goal had been scored the AR should have done whatever needed to get the referee's attention including but not limited to running onto the field and grabbing him.

On the other hand, if a goal had been scored at the other end of the field and play had not restarted the AR should get the referee's attention and at least discuss the possibility of a handling violation just outside the penalty area, which is what I think you are describing. Most referees consider the keeper carrying the ball a slight distance over the 18 yard line a trifling offense, which I also think is what you are describing.

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Answer provided by Referee Jason Wright

Whether we're talking about the keeper sliding out of the penalty area onto the field, or the keeper sliding out of the penalty area and over the goal line (or even into the goal mouth), a few things remain constant.

First, the position of the keeper himself is irrelevant; it's where the ball is. If any part of the ball is on or above any of the lines bordering the penalty area, then the ball is still in the penalty area - even if the keeper himself is mostly outside.

Second, once the referee has allowed another restart to take place, there's nothing more that can be done. A referee cannot change his decision after the restart of play - therefore, once the restart has occurred, he has locked in his decision that the foul didn't occur (or that the goal wasn't scored). While referees are permitted to later act on new information presented by their assistants or 4th official, this only pertains to various forms of misconduct and not free kicks or ball in/out of play decisions.

This means that once the ball is put back into play, drop your flag and forget the whole thing ever happened. Unfortunately, this means that the referee's decision to go to the foul after restarting play was incorrect in law. Any time until that point - even if it's 5 minutes later, but the ball hasn't gone out of play - and the referee is technically permitted to go back to the foul.

In these scenarios, the players and spectators are usually wonderfully helpful in reminding the referee to check with the assistant who is standing there with a raised flag and a hopeful, yet frustrated - and slightly concerned - look on his face.

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