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Question Number: 31498

Law 18 - Common Sense 4/29/2017

RE: Rec Under 13

Rand Skelton of Gilbert, AZ United States asks...

In today's game, a ball was kicked by opposing team and going out but hit a water bottle that was real close to the sideline before it completely crossed the line. One of our players picked it up for a throw in and the ref whistled the game stopped. He said that the ball was still in play and our player should not have picked it up. He awarded the other team a throw in.

I know that balls that hit refs and flags can be considered still in play but this struck me as odd and I cannot find the rule on it (that the ref insisted existed.The fact that he called it right away makes me think there may be a rule but so far my investigative skills have yielded nothing more than

The ball is in play at all other times, including when it rebounds off a match
official, goalpost, crossbar or corner flagpost and remains in the field of play

Answer provided by Referee Jason Wright

Hi Rand,
Unfortunately the ref got this one wrong. As the ball hit a foreign object while still in play, this constitutes outside interference and technically he should have awarded a drop ball.

Of course, some referees in this scenario may simply say 'Well, I'm sure it was already out'.... ;-)

This is different to hitting the corner flag (part of the field equipment), or hitting one of the referees where it is play on - as you've found.

If the ball was still considered to be in play and picked up by a player, the restart would be a direct free kick to the opposition.

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Answer provided by Referee Peter Grove

Hi Rand,
The law says that if there is ''an extra ball, other object or animal'' on the field and it interferes with play, the referee must ''stop play (and restart with a dropped ball) ...''

So as Ref Wright says, the referee in this case was in error.

I don't quite understand how a referee could say that the ball was still in play and then award a throw-in. Even if he did, on the basis that the ball was going out anyway, I don't see why, if the ball had been kicked by your opponents, he would give it to your opponents to take.

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Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

Hi Rand ,
given what the referee said then did
you are spot odd in thinking the referee was playing a different game!
If the ball was still in play, the restart is a DFK for handing the ball deliberately.
If the ball did not exit the FOP BECAUSE it hit the water bottle then it is a drop ball for outside interference.
If he was going to ignore he fact the water bottle made no difference, in perhaps thinking the ball WAS going out he could have gone with that option & awarded the throw in to your team if indeed the opposition last touched the ball. Perhaps you player used his foot on the ball before using his hands as it exited and the referee felt it was last played by your team? That is the only rational I could see for awarding the throw in to the opposition? > Cheers

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Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Rand
A few thoughts here.
The referee should have seen that the water bottle as outside interference and as it affected play then play should have been stopped and the restart was a dropped ball.
Now there might have been other options depending on the circumstances.
The referee if he had no independant opinion could have decided that the ball was out of play and restart with a throw in against the team that last touched the ball.
The referee might have also decided that the ball was still in play and that the ball was picked up while still in play which is deliberate handling.
I recall a number of seasons ago when just after half time a member if the technical staff while walking to the technical area stopped a ball on the line to be helpful of retrieving the ball. I was on the line as an assstant and I simply flagged for a throw in. There was not much debate about the decision as it was seen as a Law 18 call. The ball was going out, the person did what he did for helpful reasons and without the intervention it would have been a throw in. That is what most accepted as would have happened. The technical answer now is a direct free kick on the touchline against the member of the technical staffs team.
As a final word it shows how important say that water bottles should not be allowed inside the post on the goal line. The incident in that position can prevent a goal from being awarded which is an all together more significant decision.

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