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Question Number: 26189

Law 9 - The Ball in and out of Play 4/16/2012

RE: Adult

Graham of London, UK asks...

There will be times when a player leaves the field of play briefly as a natural part of the game, through his momentum for example. Now let us suppose that player prevents the ball crossing the touchline or goal line while he is still off the pitch.

I would be interested to know if there any infringements in the following scenarios, and if so what the restart and sanctions might be.

a) If the ball has just struck the player while he is off the pitch.
b) If the player deliberately plays at the ball in a normally legal fashion (e.g. uses his foot).
c) If the player handles the ball.

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Graham
If the player is off the field of play through natural movement as part of the game then in
A. If the ball hasfully left the field of play and strikes the player then the normal restart applies such as a throw in, corner kick, goal kick. Play continues if the ball stays on the field of play and does not fully cross the touchline or goal line.
B. I assume the ball stays on the field of play in which case play continues and there is no offence.
c. If the deliberate handling happens while the ball is on the field of play the referee stops play and restarts with a direct free kick from where the player handled the ball.

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Answer provided by Referee Jason Wright

As you say, the player has left as a natural part ofthe match. Therefore there are no restrictions on him playing the ball at this time.

Therefore, for both A and B, you would continue play (assuming the ball has not wholly left the field).

For C - deliberately handling the ball is considered to have occurred at the location of the ball, so that means that if the ball is still on the field the foul occurs on the field, even if the ball is only just on the touch line.

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Answer provided by Referee Keith Contarino

a. In the beginning of your question you state the player prevents the ball from crossing the touch or goal line while off the field of play. To do this he would have to use his hands or feet. But in this specific question "a" you say the ball has struck the player who was off the pitch. If he's off the pitch, and the ball strikes him, the ball should be off the pitch also. If this is true then restart is a throw-in, goal kick, or corner kick. If the ball has NOT left the pitch, then simply continue play.
b. As the player is legally off the pitch during the normal course of events, he may play the ball
c. DFK for the opponents, unless ball is OFF the pitch when handled

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