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Question Number: 26241

Law 10 - Method of Scoring 4/25/2012

RE: High School Adult

jim dunbeck of albertville, al United States asks...

During a recent match we had a controversy about whether a ball had crossed the goal line or not. I was CR when the ball was played into the penalty area and an attacking team member ran onto the ball close to or at the goal line. Trailing the play and trying to get close I could not tell if the ball had crossed completely, it was to the attacking left of goal. There was the attacker and two defenders at the ball, I looked to my AR and saw no signal, the ball looked to be on the line slightly. There was confusion from the defenders as to a call or in this case a no call and I called out 'Play!'. By this time I was at the 18, and the attacker was dribbling the ball out toward the left wing touch, away from goal. The defenders continued to argue for a call, I declared 'Play the ball!', there still was no signal from AR. During this time play had slowed as if something was expected, but then the attacker heeding my direction dribbled in an arc around the penalty area to about 20 out and at the left edge of the D where he shot at goal and scored. I looked to my AR who was jogging out, so I signaled for goal. At this point with many loud yells both ways, some yelling that the ball had been out, he waved me over. He told me then he thought the ball had indeed gone over the line. If it had gone over it would have been goal kick. What would have been the proper restart?

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Jim
If the ball was indeed out of play a goal cannot be awarded. The only option is to restart with a goal kick as play has not restarted.
Now the bigger question is the performance of the AR. Thinking is not good enough. He either saw it cross the line or he didn't. If he didn't see the ball cross the line then he says so which is the use of the goal signal.
As an observer I would be most unhappy with the AR for going with the goal signal and then waving the referee over to tell him that he thought the ball had gone out which results in a change of decision and places real doubt on the decision. He should be making a decision either way based on what he saw and sticking with it. He has not assisted the CR here as it will be seen as a change of mind based on his signal or his failure to signal the ball out of play.
If the referee decides to award the goal there is every chance that the AR's 'thought' that the ball was out of play will become public when questioned about his signal.

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Answer provided by Referee Dennis Wickham

Bad mechanics by your assistant referee. If he judged that the ball went out of play, he should have raised the flag, and kept it up until he got your attention. (Shouting your name would be appropriate the next time the ball went out of play). The other AR would have mirrored the flag until you saw it. So, now that his improper mechanics have dug a hole for the referee, what can be done.

You have the option to overrule his information and rely on your own judgment that the ball was still in play. (He 'thought' but didn't signal is one reason to overrule his information. It indicates to me that he wasn't sure either. ) If you stay with your original judgment of 'not out of play' so, allow the goal at the other end of the field. IMO, this is the better solution because the AR never raised the flag.

Alternatively, if you accept that the ball had indeed gone out of play, disallow the goal, and restart with the goal kick. You will also have some explaining to do. The players will be upset, and the referee team's credibility will be shaken. But, because you have not restarted play with a kick off after the apparent goal was scored, you have the power to correct it. If you are convinced that this is the right decision, make it, explain why, and accept the grumbling.

Ultimately, however, it is the referee's call to make. The assistant referee can provide information, but not make the decision.

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