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Question Number: 26829

Law 8 - Start and Restart of Play 9/25/2012

RE: Other

Ali of Vancouver, Canada asks...

On a drop ball, there are players from both teams who will contest for the ball after a stoppage of some sort.

We often see drop balls where one team will kick the ball back to the other team, as a gesture of sportsmanship. Just out of curiosity: in this type of situation, can the referee drop the ball to himself and then kick it back to the other team, instead of having one player from 1 team kick it back to the other team? Is this method of restarting the game appropriate, or should there always be a player from one team kick it back to the other.

Answer provided by Referee Gary Voshol

The referee should not insert himself into the game in this fashion. While there is nothing to prevent it - the referee is equivalent to being a part of the field - it wouldn't be advisable.

Incidentally, while the referee can suggest and encourage fair-play restarts to get the ball back to the team that had it, he cannot force it.

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Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Ali
On a dropped ball the ball is in play when it touches the ground. There is no need for any player to be present or for players from either team. It is of no concern to the referee what happens when the ball touches the ground with the one exception that a goal cannot be scored directly from that restart.
What you suggest is akin to the ball being kicked by the referee during play which would never happen.
So the referee must follow the restart procedure as outlined in the Laws. Simply drop the ball and allow the teams to get on with play whatever has been agreed. Use the Law then to deal with any situation that may arise.

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Answer provided by Referee Michelle Maloney

No! The referee should never be kicking the ball in the game! The purpose of a dropped ball is to put the ball back into play after play has been stopped for something for which there is no proscribed restart in the Laws. While the referee drops it, it is the ground that puts it back into play - the referee has no place in 'assisting' by kicking the ball.

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