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Question Number: 29841

Law 9 - The Ball in and out of Play 10/22/2015

RE: High School

Brian K of Brooklyn, NY USA asks...

Hello Gents,

What a great resource you collectively are-many thanks!

My scenario and question...

Ball goes into touch,linesman calls it but ref doesn't see his raised flag.Play continues and a goal is scored before ref either sees the raised flag or hears his linesman's calls.Needless to say one coach is a little bent-out-of-shape and objects to the awarding of a goal.

What is the correct restart please?

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Brian
As the ball was out of play the restart is a throw in, goal kick or corner kick as appropriate. A goal cannot be awarded. The only time a goal could be awarded is if play was stopped for another reason and restarted again. Now the referee in the case of a neutral assistant will most definitely accept the flag and disallow the goal. In the case of a linesman the referee if he felt that the flag was incorrect could decide to overrule it. That though should only happen if the referee is 110% certain that the flag was in error.
In a recent game a linesman raised the flag for the ball going out of play. It was immediately disputed by the opponents and it did look like a tight call. I gave the throw in. The opponents then questioned the integrity of the linesman who was a club member of the benefitting team which I dealt with. From that point on any tight calls were questioned. Due to my positioning I could not say for certain if he was correct or not so I went with his flags.

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Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

Hi Brian,
The correct decision? Hmmm it will be whatever the CR decides as his match, his decision, his reputation is now on display!

If in the opinion of the AR or linesman the ball has gone into touch , the flag should go up and STAY up until the referee acknowledges it! The reason is IF the ball is out of play then play must be restarted via why it occurred. Throw in , corner or goal kick.

The CR can choose to disregard the flag if he believes the ball did not go out of play. The CR could wave off the flag if indeed he believed this the case. But to do so he has to see it and see why it was done as a fact of play! What is important to remember for players is the flag is a signal to the referee by the AR or linesman of something they believe the referee needs to know to make a decision. It is NOT repeat NOT the same as a whistle to STOP play!

If the CR has failed to SEE the flag and only after the goal is it brought to his attention we have a mess to clean up! The LOTG permit a referee to go back to a decision if it occurred out of his sight and the AR witnessed it provided he has not restarted play. With the goal, the restart is a kick off, he has up until that kick off occurs to change his mind based on the NEW information of the flag and for why it was raised

There is a difference between linesman and AR. A linesman is a non neutral person who collectively help out with the game in a limited fashion. The AR is in fact another referee who has much greater impact as he is a neutral official

It is unfortunate that eye contact and communication between CR or AR or linesman is not always top notch due to it not ingrained as procedure. Like all good habits they need to be practised and done correctly over time!

Now in my opinion if the flag was missed and it was an AR,. If I do not know 101% that the flag was incorrect I will not think to dispute it! I definitely take away the goal , apologise and restart with what the restart my AR has claimed as correct. I expect nothing less of neutrality to tell me the truth. Pay closer attention to not miss future flags! sigh

Now if it is a linesman , be it a fan, a parent or team official you are in a bit of a pickle! To say they are incorrect is to say they are less than honest in trying to get a goal taken away! Unless it was the goal scoring teams parent/ official linesman taking away their own goal. Certainly not objecting to a team supporter taking away their own goal by a flag that was missed.

So do you not support the other linesman flag with equal integrity? It might have been a very tight call.

I have had club linesman that were not always on the ball so to speak. It is why I always make sure at the start of their responsibilities to be sure they are aware the ball must be completely off the line to be in touch. I also tell them if I over rule them not to be upset as I take responsibility for the call and its ramifications. I prefer to think those accept the flag responsibility are credible and if flag goes up ahead of the goal, if those around see it was so, if others are commenting or yelling while the goal gets scored. Unless as CR we personally saw that ball along the touchline or goal line as inside the FOP 101% it was so taking away the goal is likely your best option! If you can not trust those helping take the flag away and operate as a single official!

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Answer provided by Referee Joe Manjone


The AR should hold the flag up unless waved down by the referee. Hopefully, the referee will see the flag and confer with the AR. If the referee agrees with the AR, the restart would be a throw-in for the defensive team. If the referee does not agree with the AR, the restart would be a kick-off.

If the referee is not made aware of the AR's call prior to the kick-off, then the goal would stand and play would continue as a high school call or action made by an official cannot be changed once play is restarted.

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