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Question Number: 29891

Law 16 - Goal Kick 11/4/2015

RE: Rec Adult

Steve Quinn of Perth, WA Australia asks...

I have found this site to be invaluable as a means of honing my understanding of the finer details of the Laws. I think I have a reasonable grasp of the basic laws of the game, but I am very interested in the more uncommon situations, which by the very fact that they occur less frequently could cause hesitation in dealing with them in a match scenario.

For instance: the defence decides to take a goal kick very quickly while the ref is still in the PA. The ball hits the ref in the area, and deflects straight to an attacker outside it who runs in and scores. Now I fully understand that the ball hitting the referee is still in play (Law 9)but it was suggested on another site that this only applies to a ball ALREADY IN PLAY - and the wording of the Law certainly suggests this - and that in this case, as the goal kick has not gone DIRECTLY into play by leaving the area, the kick, as per Law 16, must be retaken. It may be an unlikely event, but we have a serious difference between retake or goal.

A similar situation would be a dropped ball that hit the referee's knee or foot before hitting the ground and shot off at an angle. Would that be a call of 'play on' when it hits the ground, or whistle play dead and drop again?

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Steve
For Laws to work correctly they must do so across all scenarios. The Laws tells us that the ball is in play at all other times, including when:
# it rebounds off a goalpost, crossbar or corner flagpost and remains in the field of play
# it rebounds off either the referee or an assistant referee when they are on the field of play
So the referee is treated the same as a goal post, cross bar, corner flag, etc and if the ball hits him it changes nothing other than the direction of the ball and how far it will travel.
In this case the ball hitting the referee makes no difference in Law. Some argue that the ball has hit the referee before it was in play therefore Law 9 does not count.
Let me ask this question. Say a goalkeeper taking a goal kick and tries to kick it across the goal area to a defender stood close to the corner flag outside the penalty area and he miskicks it off the goalpost and it continues outside the penalty area to the player or elsewhere would the referee stop play? The ball was kicked and it left the penalty area.
Now in these unusual situation say caused by the referee many like to get a *legal* out-clause so as to sort out the mess. No referee wants to award a goal here so inventive referees will come up with reasons such as in this case that it happened before the ball was in play. The point though is that the ball does make it into play legally.
I think the easier reason is to find a breach of Law 16 such as the ball was moving or not kicked from inside the goal area etc or a forward was inside the penalty area (there is every chance if the referee was in there too) etc. He could also simply say that he was not ready and ask for the kick to taken again. If asked all he has to say is that he did not see the kick being taken correctly.
On the dropped ball the same would apply. Technically it is play on. However if I was the referee I would stop play and redo the dropped ball with an apology for getting in the way.
As I always say prevention is better than cure. When it does not arise the decision does not have to be made.

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Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

Hi Steve,
there is a saying no need to look for trouble, it will find you when you are not ready! So by getting ready here and now hopefully no sneak attacks will occur . On a goal kick out bound from a defenders PA the ball must completely exit the PA into the FOP to be in play !

The referee is for all intents and purposes, a moving goal post, and if a ball was to strike him inside the PA on its way out, this is no different then if the ball was kicked against the goal post or crossbar and rebounded out into the FOP outside the PA!

As for a drop ball stand with feet together, extend arm, turn over hand never seen a ball get near my feet nor have I been hit with the ball off a free kick. On a drop ball play restarts when the ball touches the ground so if it DID hit the referee it does not change the restart.

I have certainly been struck during active play in ping pong fast moving type situations. When we talk about situational awareness, solid positioning, good anticipation it is to AVOID these very entanglements so we do not influence the outcome! A referee who is hit by the ball can stop play due to... ahem... injury! Restart a drop ball. This might be a contested drop as opposed to a fair play one depending on circumstances

Two lesser known facts on ANY free kick outgoing from inside a team's own penalty area ! The ball must FIRST completely exit the PA into the FOP to be in play before a team mate or an opponent could play it!
SECONDLY if an opponent enters into the PA and say cuts across the corner of the PA to pursue the ball or close down a defender ...BEFORE... the ball clears the PA, it is a retake UNLESS you feel his illegal entry had no effect on the subsequent play apply advantage and continue. Both are retakes NOT INDFKS as the ball was NOT in play.

A referee can often find a way to push the match into fair play territory, but, getting hit by the ball, is not something we want to be doing and or correcting. Try answering this months You Call It Pk questions if you are looking for unusual situations. There are some very strange you call its to testify to the fact people really do know how to mess up the game at times.


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