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Question Number: 25639

Law 8 - Start and Restart of Play 10/21/2011

RE: Club/Competitive Under 11

Scott Cubbage of Laguna Niguel, CA USA asks...

This unfortunate incident happened to a very junior referee at a match where I was a parent.

Attacking player A1 was awarded a throw-in at about the top of the penalty area. She threw it to A2, who beat a defender and quickly took a shot between the keeper and the near post.

Un-noticed by either the near AR or the referee, the 'spare' ball had rolled onto the field and rested a few inches in front of the near post of the goal. The shot ball bounced off of the 'spare' ball (which then went off the field again) and slightly out and across the mouth of the goal to attacker A3 who buries the ball in the back of the net.

The referee, who was apparently too far away to have noticed the 'spare' ball, is walking back to the half line, booking the goal when hears the defender's team in full revolt and sees the near AR walking onto the field, flag dutifully held across his waist.

I thought the 'spare' ball would have been considered an outside agent and a dropped ball was in order - but how do you drop a ball less than a foot from the goal mouth?

Eventually, the Ref team rewound the action to a place where they knew what was happening - the throw-in - and play continued, but not before a parent was ejected and the poor junior ref's confidence badly damaged.

Assuming I and my ref team are at the end of a long day and we let something comparable happen - what is the appropriate call?

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Scott
The correct restart is a dropped ball on the 6 yard line parallel to the goal line at the point nearest to where the ball was located when play was stopped.
BTW the ball is not an outside agent but simply outside interference for which play can be stopped if it interferes with play, which it did in this case.
So the referee crew at least got one element correct, that a goal could not be allowed. That is the important part although I suspect that the ejected parent did not agree with that correct call.
Some learning points here for the referee
1. Extra balls close the goal area must be avoided and indeed any ball playing by substitutes / others close to play should not be allowed.
2. Positioning is key for the referee here so that he must see incidents in such an important position
3. Know the restarts in these situations

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Answer provided by Referee Keith Contarino

You drop the ball but since it was inside the goal area the drop comes out to the six yard line.
What on earth was a spare ball doing near a goal?

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Answer provided by Referee Michelle Maloney

Sigh. How is it that the referee is team is so focused on the game that they miss the fact of an extra ball in a most inconvenient place? Ah, well, we all mess up. Perhaps better positioning, awareness and pregame instructions are in order?

The key here is knowing what to do in unexpected situations. Since the extra ball arrived there apparently under it's own power, we can assume it was not a deliberate act, and thus is simply interference - which would not have been the case if it had been at the other end of the field, on a touchline or even in the goal itself. Since the goal cannot count due to the outside interference, we are left with only one possible restart - the dropped ball. Why? Because no violation of the Laws occurred. The Laws do not allow us to drop the ball within the goal area - we are required to bring it out to a point on the top of the goal area line perpendicular to where the ball was when play was stopped (this being the moment the extra ball interfered).

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