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Question Number: 29000

Law 15 - Throw In 11/22/2014

RE: Recreational Adult

Russell Montgomery of Sydney, NSW Australia asks...

This question is a follow up to question 28990

With regard to the throw in - Ref McHugh. makes the suggestion "
If the referee was unsure of the direction of the throw in he could also start with a dropped ball and allow the team to either contest it or not.
I have never heard of this option previously. I like the idea as it would seem fair for both team.
Is this really part of the FIFA LOTG ?

Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

Hi Russell,
Drop ball restarts are a way of restarting play when the referee has no other way to do so. I agree that often a ball going out of play either the CR, AR or even the players them selves maybe hazy on who actually last touched it. I can not recall if I awarded a drop ball for a ball directed out of play since I learned the LOTG! I look for every clue, go with my gut and if still undecided I either pick one team or the other deference usually to the attacking team on throw ins and the defending team on corners.

In the video if the referee decided this was an injury stoppage as the reason. Noting it was a simultaneous collision where he is unsure who last touched it. A drop ball is certainly legal but I rather doubt either team is backing away allowing the other uncontested access in this case.

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Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Russell
There is a references in the Laws of the Game which is interesting in this context and I quote
**More than one offence occurring at the same time
Offences committed by players from different teams:
# the referee must stop play and restart it with a dropped ball from the position of the ball at the time of the stoppage,....**
While the TI situation is not an offence the principle is that the referee when he cannot decide can, if he so wishes, go with a dropped ball.
The reason it is not used much is that
a. It is seen as a sign of indecision by the referee
b. The dropped ball restart can be difficult to manage
c. It is not widely used or accepted at open age and not recommended . Refs are expected to make decisions firmly.
Some time ago I was attending an U12 game and an incident happened where two players kicked the ball simultaneously and it went out of play. No one was sure who kicked it last and I suspect it was both. The referee went with a dropped ball. At the time I thought it was weak decision making although when I thought about it afterwards the DB simply brought the ball back into play between the two players and play resumed with no complaint from either side.
I had one of these last week and I went with what I thought was correct. It did cause angst at the time and on reflection I could have been wrong. It was a senior game and I could not have seen myself going with a DB. Had I done so both sides would have probably been unhappy then!!

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Answer provided by Referee Gary Voshol

USSF says this is allowable, but should be used sparingly:

Quote from USSF publication, Advice to Referees:

8.4 Dropped Ball Restart
There is no requirement that players from each team, any player, or the same number of players must participate in a dropped ball restart. The goalkeeper may participate in a dropped ball restart. If the referee stops play because two players have simultaneously committed fouls against each other, the correct restart in this limited and rare event should be a dropped ball where the ball was when play was stopped.*

Referees should take care not to use this option as a means of avoiding a difficult but necessary decision as to which player committed an offense first and which player retaliated. The referee must not use the dropped ball to restart play as a crutch in those cases where there is some question about the correct restart. The referee must make a decision and announce it firmly.

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