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Question Number: 29442

Law 9 - The Ball in and out of Play 5/25/2015

RE: ECNL Under 17

DJ of Austin, tx USA asks...

If a ball comes from the field hits the crossbar and lands back in play is it considered 'out of bounds'?

My daughter had a game winning goal removed in an ECNL contest. Turns out the side judge that called played for the opposing club last year....?

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

It can be unlikely that a ball hitting the cross bar that comes back into play actually crossed the plane of the goal line and as a result was out of play. It is however possible that if the ball went high enough with spin that all of the ball could have crossed the plane of the line.
Generally though physics would tell us that it is more improbable for the ball to hit a crossbar, go out of play and then land back in play. It would need some other outside influence such as high wind, another structure attached behind the frame of the goals such as a football field goal for the ball to go out and come back into play.
If however the ball was played from the side such as at a corner kick, a cross it is entirely possible with curve spin that a ball can wholly cross the goal line and come back into play hitting the frame of the goal. The ball is out of play when that happens even if it subsequently hits the crossbar and comes back into play.
This is an example of where the ball crossed the goal line and the restart should have been a goal kick.
This example shows the ball hitting the cross bar twice and staying in play before being played again by a player. The ball at no time left the field of play.
In this situation the goal I suspect was ruled out due to offside. It is unclear to me if there was offside from the original free kick and did Yellow 7 come from an offside position to play the ball in which case it is offside or was there a yellow player in an offside position from the shot by Yellow 7 who was then called for offside due to interfering with an opponent? The goal being ruled out had certainly nothing to do with the ball going out of play.
As regards conflict of interest it is never a good idea to officiate games where it can be suggested possible bias. I would advise referees and assistants to decline such games as even if they are 110% correct the accusation of bias can be made which is very difficult to disprove and that us never helpful. I do know that in some instances the only possible option can be to officiate such as where there are no other officials available. I might add that many Leagues ask clubs to provide assistants who are part of the club. Their duties are limited to line call and in some instances offside. While impartiality may be thought about the club assistants are part of the game officiating structure.
In this situation once play restarted with the referee making the decision there is no possible outcome other then to accept the decision.

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Answer provided by Referee Ben Mueller

That depends what happens between coming from the field and hitting the cross bar. If the ball completely passes either the goal line or touch line on its way to the cross bar, then the ball is out of play and there must be a restart of either a throw in (crosses a touchline), goal kick, or corner kick. On corners for example sometimes the ball curves over the goal line completely and then comes back into play. The AR should put his flag up, referee blows whistle, and goal kick to the defending team.

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Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

Hi DJ,
a ball simply hitting the flat or the top of the crossbar is not out of play. The ball must ...COMPLETELY ... exit the FOP! Either prior to doing so or after it impacts. There is no trivial, trifling or doubtful allowed in this decision it is a clear ...YES... it is out we stop play or ...NO... it is not play continues

If the AR or CR decides the ball has gone into touch, which is saying out of bounds they must be convinced the entirety of the ball has exited the playing field. The AR not (SIDE JUDGE) raises a flag to indicate the ball is out of play if indeed it was. Perhaps your daughter was offside? By way of explanation the boundary lines of the field can be expressed as a 5 inch wall of water extending forever straight up into the sky if ...ANY PORTION... of the ball is wet, it is in play.
The top of the crossbar which is overtop the goal line is included in this analogy.

I have seen dual soccer/football/rugby goals that have more than the normal rectangular shape of a normal soccer goal if the ball hits the portion of the superstructure that is not considered part of the soccer goal bylaws are in place that state that ball has exited the FOP!

If this ball came in from say a corner kick it could have swerved out and back in before it hit the crossbar . While physics is an interesting science I suspect the idea of a ball dancing or spinning its way along the top of the goal is amusing and I have seen one case where it stayed up there for almost 20 seconds. If that ball was affected by the back or top spin or the wind and was clearly observed as off the field then play is dead from that moment. I suspect if the ball came down and your daughter scored there was a delay in transmitting the information, not that it was manufactured to take away her goal.

I would think if it was a mistake, if indeed the ball had not exited the FOP and she only thought it did, it was not a deliberate error . I do not like the implication of accusing the official of cheating! A referee or AR with integrity sees what they see even if we might disagree. I have officiated over 4000 matches never once did I consider doing so and I refereed my own home teams, teams I was coaching and my own kids quite often as they grew up. In many cases it is not practical in recreational football to dispel perceived bias as the reality is integrity is the gift of self respect we award ourselves. We are ALL accountable for the actions we undertake both physical and verbal. The finger point of blame is easily redirected by those who ...perceive... something different.

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Answer provided by Referee Dennis Wickham

While any part of the goal post or cross bar is in play and part of the field, some fields use a combo goal post next to a US football goal posts. When the ball touches the US football hardware, the ball is out of play.

I strongly doubt that the issue involved bias.

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