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Question Number: 28518

Law 8 - Start and Restart of Play 6/18/2014

RE: Competitive Adult

Fred of Edinburgh, Ed Uk asks...

What would happen if after half time the team that is kicking off purposefully goes to the same side they played from in the first half without swapping sides and the ref and opposition hasn't noticed and from kick off they pass the ball backwards and into their own net but the one they are suppose to attack. Would the goal be disqualified because the players started on the wrong side, goal stand or own goal? I know it's an unlikely situation but have always wondered.

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Fred
I have no doubt the error would be pointed out in which case the goal would be ruled out and the teams asked to line out in the correct halves with the kick off taken again.
In Pierluigi Collina's book he tells the story of making the unusual decision to ask the teams in a game to change back in the 2nd half to the first half direction of play due to crowd abuse of the goalkeepers from supporters behind the goal at the start of the 2nd half. There was no problem in the 1st half so he concluded that if the teams were agreeable he would allow the teams to play the 2nd half in the same direction as the first half. Not recommended nor in the Laws of the Game but it did happen.
What has also happened is that teams sometimes forget who took the original kick off and if a goal is scored here it will probably count as the referee will be unsure of what team took the kick off to start the game. Unless he gets neutral advice from an assistant the goal will stand.
Best advice is to not let it happen.

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Answer provided by Referee Dennis Wickham

The league would have to decide what to do on a protest. The laws of the game do not have an answer for such an error.

As a practical matter, if it was discovered immediately, I would recommend that the referee order both sides to their correct halves and then restart the half. After too much time (or if a goal was scored or misconduct punished) the referee has no good options other than to have the players switch to the correct sides , complete the match, and file a match report detailing what happened.

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Answer provided by Referee Ben Mueller

No goal! Have both teams take their correct positional kick off and start second half. This is an easy one! But as a not let this happen.

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