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Question Number: 28889

Law 8 - Start and Restart of Play 10/22/2014

RE: Rec Under 11

Tom Marshall of Farmington, ME USA asks...

During a recent game, the goalie had possession of the ball in his hands and was positioning himself for a drop kick within his penalty area. I noticed that an opposing player was down and injured elsewhere on the field so I stopped play so that the player could be attended to by his coach. I restarted play with a goal kick but got some grief from the other coach. I reasoned that a dropped ball within the penalty area would have been an unfair advantage to the defending team. Correct decision?

Answer provided by Referee Jason Wright

Hi Tom,

Unfortunately this was the incorrect decision. A goal kick can only be awarded if the ball has wholly crossed the goal line, not into the goal, and was last touched by an attacker.

As this has not happened, you could not award a goal kick.

One other common mistake I see is to restart play with the ball in the keeper's hands - don't do this either!

Your concern about the drop ball is correct, but there are ways to manage this.

The referee cannot prevent an attacker from taking part in the drop ball (though he can make suggestions) - and there is the risk that the players won't go for a 'sporting restart' of just allowing the keeper to have the ball (and it sounds like the coach would have encouraged the players to contest). At such a young age this would be a particular concern. So what can the referee do?

He can suggest that the players let the keeper have the ball. Or another tactic is to not give the attacking team the opportunity! You don't need to wait to see what the attacking team wants to do - as soon as the injured player is off the field, walk up to the spot and drop it at the keeper's feet (quietly call him over if he's not nearby). Do it quickly and the attacking team won't have time to even think about contesting the drop ball (don't forget, you don't whistle for a drop ball either). This is a tactic you can use anywhere on the field.

But, we always want to minimise the risk. If the keeper has it in his hands and a player is injured, but I can afford a few seconds, I'll ask the keeper to release the ball first. Once the ball is in flight some distance from goal, then blow the whistle. Now, the drop ball is some distance away from goal rather than right in front. Much safer.

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Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Tom
Unfortunately you made the incorrect decision. The proper restart is a dropped ball from where the ball was located when play was stopped. The coach was unhappy because at Under 11 a kick, off the ground from the goal area, is a disadvantage, compared to a punt from the edge of the penalty area. I'm feel sure the opponents were not going to allow the ball to be uncontested from the kick out.
Now there are a number of ways to deal with this.
1. Wait until the ball is well away from the penalty area before stopping play. The dropped ball is then from that location.
2. Indicate that the restart is going to be a dropped ball and that it would be sporting to allow the GK to gather the ball uncontested into his hands from the restart which is a reset of play before the stoppage.
3. Some suggest that the ball should be kicked out of play which then determines the restart and hopefully the ball will be returned in a fair play restart manner.
I personally always go with 2 and in such a way that the dropped ball is never contested. I use words like *okay I'm going to drop the ball and the goalkeeper can pick it up and play will resume* If a forward comes forward I tell him its okay the GK has it and that I'll bring back on the player immediately, pointing to the player at the touchline. With that approach there is no need for the dropped ball to be contested or kicked and it is never questioned.

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Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

Hi Tom,
welcome to the world of refereeing!
As you may have gathered you must restart the match to the reason you stopped play.
Each restart have a set of conditions attached that must occur for that restart to be applied.
Hence the goal kick is incorrect as the ball was not last kicked out over the goal line by the opponents.

Your only correct restart is the catch all, drop ball.

The reasoning to award a drop ball is correct in the case of an injury stoppage but at the young ages a ball on the ground that COULD be contested hardly seems fair at times, certainly seems so in this set of circumstances. I hold the opinion on why such a latitude exists on how a referee can correctly perform a drop ball and still not be breaking the LOTG by asserting his version of fair play allows us to manage these situations in a way the teams will accept. Usually a referee can solve the situation with a few well chosen words as to the situation, fair play and what the boys at the elite level would do.

The idea of dropping solely to the keeper is one that at the professional level I feel certain no one would say boo! It is the know it all recreational competitive hounds that will try to use the wording of law to gain an advantage in these situations because they will know a referee can not forbid them to not participate knowing full well they should not. As pointed out a referee can drop the ball in such a manner or place to where the keeper is the only one to be able to get it.

If the two teams respect fair play they will not trouble you on your suggestions and may even offer to return a ball on their own. If the injured player is treated and leaves the field of play so one team is now short for a moment the advice given by Ref McHugh to restart play and get the player back on should be sufficient to reactivate play in good spirits

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