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Question Number: 29004

Law 9 - The Ball in and out of Play 11/24/2014

Anon of Altadena, ca US asks...

This question is a follow up to question 2900

USSF expressly teaches that a dropped ball may NOT be given when the refere cannot tell which team last touched. (Which makes sense, as a dropped ball takes place where it was when play stopped -- play stopped when the ball was completely off the field . . .) In the answer to 2900, Mr. Voshol quotes the wrong part of the ATR, regarding fouls, to support the contrary position. Section 2.9 is very clear.

9.2 Apparent Simultaneous Touches
The referee should promptly signal a clear decision on the direction for the restart when
the ball appears to have gone off the field from simultaneous touches by members of
both teams. Under the Laws of the Game, it is not acceptable to give a dropped ball
restart in situations where the referee cannot initially decide which team has

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

That is a good point for USSF referees only. The advice is given based on the premise that players quickly identify referee indecision, and will use it to their advantage which was alluded to in the answers.
What was suggested was that in exceptional circumstances in underage a referee could go with the DB. In the original first question where two players collided, both went to ground and the ball went out of play. If the referee wanted to here he could have decided that the initial contact merited a stoppage and a DB restart after ascertaining that both players were not hurt. Here is the scenario that was being considered

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Answer provided by Referee Gary Voshol

Thanks for finding the correct passage. I didn't read what I was quoting well enough.

In any event, the spirit of the answer was correct - don't use a dropped ball restart when you can't decide - make a decision!

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Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

Good spot,
While one can make a case of two players colliding as an easy sell of a drop ball as neither is seen to be at fault and the referee uses the excuse it was a stoppage for the injury not the ball for going out play. As a USSF referee you may feel it is incorrect given they prefer a decision but in terms of the LOTG it can be justified even if not liked!

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