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Question Number: 30682

Law 12 - Fouls and Misconduct 8/22/2016

RE: All Other

Jason of Wylie, Texas US asks...

This question is a follow up to question 30679

So the OP's question about the ball trapped in the corner and the answer that the opposing player could go around and poke it back to their team mate made me think. I've never given players leaving the field during normal play that much thought as it just seems natural.It's never happened to me, but doesn't a player have to be on the field to play the ball? If the ball is right in the corner, the opposing player can't go around a kick it from outside the touch/goal line can they?
I know when looking at goalie situations it's where the ball is and not the goalie's body. So for instance if the goalie's body is outside the penalty area, but their hand is on top of the ball inside the penalty area, then they legally have possession. So should this apply to field players also? If their body is off the field they can kick a ball that's on the field because at that point their foot is technically back on the field.?.

This is the reason I love this site. It always makes me think about situations I'm not used to.

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Jason
A player does not have to be on the field of play to play the ball. Once the play is part of a playing movement the player can be on or off the field of play. Examples include a player that runs along the touchline, just off the field to go around a defender and then plays the ball on the line from off the field is perfectly legal plus the defender who clears the ball off the goal line from behind the line. First video in this compilation is such an example. Player is clearly off the field of play and moves to play the ball on the FOP
If you think about it a restart such as a corner kick has to be played by a player coming from off the field of play.
The reason most players do not go around an attacker in the corner area scenario off the FOP is that most defenders want to stay goal side and they do not want to take the risk of a quick turn by the attacker with the ball leaving them 'wrong sided'

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Answer provided by Referee Joe Manjone

Jason, As Ref McHugh indicates, the player does not have to be on the field to play the ball. During a game, it is common for players to be off the field playing a ball that is still in play. Most often these instances occur on the touch line where a player will attempt to keep a ball in play.

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Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

Hi Jason,
we look at the reasonability of a players' action as they reflect their RIGHT to play the ball. To go outside the touchlines, say to avoid a collision or seek away to play a ball being shielded by an opponent by using the corner flag as an obstructive element to help protect the ball or use up time. As well as the need to recover loose balls that are played off the field for throw ins or free kicks
There is a difference in say an attacker who on the right side of goal runs around the netted area of the goal by exiting the goal line to arrive on the left side of goal and re entre would bother me as a referee for I see THAT as an issue of exiting without permission as opposed to a simple desire to resume or continue play by stepping out to avoid contact or to avoid an offside call or seek an avenue to play the ball fairly.

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