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Question Number: 28891

Law 8 - Start and Restart of Play 10/23/2014

RE: Rec Under 13

Eli Holmes of Seattle, WA USA asks...

What should the referee do if on a goal kick, the GK or defender taking the kick is unable to clear the ball out of the penalty area on one kick? This time of year in Seattle, we get heavy rain and grass fields are so wet that the ball will not roll at all. In addition the ball is slick and wet and may be sitting in a puddle when being kicked. Especially on a young girls game (U10, U11, U12) at lower rec levels, it is not uncommon that the kicker is simply unable to get the ball out of the penalty area as they are unable to get the ball flying in the air (it will not roll on the ground in a sea of puddles). Last fall, there were times the kicker had to retake the kick 3-7 times in my games....for every goal kick. Any advice? As we have gotten non-stop rain for a week now, I'll be facing this again this weekend.

Answer provided by Referee Dennis Wickham

If it is clear that the no one on a team can put the ball into play on a goal kick, then the laws of the game must be bent so that the children can enjoy the game. How far from the six does the ball need to be placed in order to be put into play? IMO, that's where the ball should be placed.

Does it conform to the laws of the game? No.

Is it a better solution than having one player practicing goal kicks for 50 minutes while the other players stand around? Yes. It is called recreational soccer because it is supposed to be fun.

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Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Eli
The first consideration us whether the field is playable or not. If the condition of the field is such that it does not allow for the proper playing of the game then in my opinion the game should not be going ahead.
If the field is playable and on goal kicks the ball fails to leave the penalty area then it has to be retaken. Having to retake a kick up to seven times suggests to me an unplayable field when the ball gets caught up in water.
There is not much else I can say as there is nothing in law that can be done. At very young age groups our leagues have a punt rule to replace the goal kick to deal with that.
Perhaps with the agreement of both coaches a once off solution might be agreed to get play restarted without delay in exceptional circumstances. How that is done can prove difficult particularly if the coaches are more concerned with results rather than allowing the kids to play.

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Answer provided by Referee Jason Wright

If the penalty area is so waterlogged that a rolling ball will stop, then I would think that the field is unsuitable for play.

It's not just goal kicks that is the problem; it's also unplayable for general play (a ball frequently and randomly stopping while being passed around in front of goal is not a good scenario).

One point of interest though - you said the ball may be sitting in a puddle when kicked. Why? The kick can be taken from anywhere in the goal area, so it shouldn't be sitting in a puddle.

I honestly can't see how the field could be considered playable under these conditions - but if you still play and you run into this problem again, maybe speak to the coaches to see if they'll agree for the goal kick to be taken from a different location (in my old league, U/10 and U/11 players could take the goal kick level with the penalty mark).

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