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Question Number: 29208

Law 9 - The Ball in and out of Play 2/26/2015

RE: Adult

Jose of Capivari, SÃo Paulo Brazil asks...

If the ref is in doubt about who last touched the ball, if the attacker or the defender, before the ball crosses the end line to a corner kick or a goal kick. What should the ref do?

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Jose
The referee should simply give what he sees. If he does not see a touch then he should not give it.
By the way it happens all the time. A referee might miss a touch of the ball by the defender thinking that the last touch was by an attacker. He awards the goal kick and vice versa.
With the growth of multiple cameras, high definition, slow motion etc these incidents are replayed constantly on TV and either show the match officials as either correct or not. Any human including referees cannot compete with technology which is the reason FIFA and others including the Premier League in the UK have introduced goal line technology.
I watched Arsenal v Monaco in the Champions League this week and Ozil of Arsenal was cautioned for dissenting a throw in decision to Monaco. The referee believed that it last touched Ozil and awarded the TI to Monaco. Ozil did not agree with that and the referee gave what he saw which looked like Ozil last touched it.
Interestingly Arsenal gained possession almost immediately from the throw in. Ozils dissent was simply a caution that he did not need to pick up. If he gets cautioned in the next game he misses a CL game.

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Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

Hi Jose,
there will be occasions when the AR or CR have difficulty on who had the last touch or consider it a simultaneous touch and offer up a drop ball which in law is NOT incorrect but in practical theory is not something recommended.
I believe there are 4 choices to go that far surpass the flawed drop ball aspect!
#2 we go with our gut guess OR
#3 decide to award such things in an attacking mode thus the attacking team gets the nod promote attacking soccer OR
#4 we go the other way award such things in a defensive mode allow the defending team to have the benefit of such restarts OR
#5 we wait a brief moment to see if either team seems to claim it with no outcry of the other thus offering us a clue to go with the gut lol.
Just be consistent and really, forget I ever mentioned a drop ball as a plausible restart, it really is wishy washy to do so.

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