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Question Number: 31828

Law 5 - The Referee 9/26/2017

RE: Adult

Nick of Lewis Lake, Nova Scotia Canada asks...

This question is a follow up to question 31776

Thank you all for your reassurance regarding my previous question. I was almost certain it was correct, too, but the apoplectic reaction from the Red team's coach on the day and the responses on social media had me bewildered - surely they (the coach especially) knew this was outlawed two decades ago!

To my next question: I'm having a difficult time parsing the meaning of the following line in the Laws. Under Law 5, Section 3, Outside Interference:

'The referee stops... the match.. for outside interference e.g. if / an extra ball... enters the field during the match, the referee must / stop play (and restart with a dropped ball) only if it enters the field of play unless the ball is going into the goal and the interference does not prevent a defending player playing the ball, the goal is awarded if the ball enters the goal (even if contact was made with the ball) unless the ball enters the opponents' goal'.

I understand the main idea, but what does the part 'unless the ball enters the opponents' goal' imply? The Law here refers to interference by neutral agents and inanimate objects, so it is not clear to me which team the word 'opponents' refers to or even why the extra stipulation is necessary.

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Nick
What is new about coaches, players going apoplectic when a goal has been denied when they opine that no law has been broken. Coaches, players believe what is in their best interests when it comes to outlier events. Sure they would just say that their player did NOTHING other than stand there. I guarantee you next week they would complain about the exact same call if it was made again, even if they were told differently.
Anyway back to this question and the chances of this ever occurring are highly unlikely that in my opinion it should not have even been written in the Laws due to the potential for confusion.
The Law makers wanted to cover the eventuality of a goal being scored in the other goal in such circumstance. Essentially it means that if play is allowed to continue it should not disadvantage the team that is trying to score by scoring on themselves. I personally can never see this happening as the ball has to travel the full length of the field!!

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Answer provided by Referee Peter Grove

Hi NIck,
I understand your feelings but as ref McHugh says it is hardly uncommon for coaches, players etc to go apoplectic when decisions go against them. As for social media comments, well the amount of absolute and total guff that is spouted on Facebook, Twitter and so on as regards the Laws of the Game means that you should set zero store by such comments, as far as I am concerned.

On the wording about outside interference, you are right that when we are talking about interference by a 'non-team-associated entity' it makes no sense to talk about the opponents' goal. I think the problem here is that the wording has just been adopted wholesale from the wording for the almost identical situation involving a person associated with a team (subsitute, team official etc) where, although it is still confusing, it does make a little more sense.

The most common scenario here is where the interference is close to one team's goal, the ball is heading into that goal and still enters that same goal despite the interference. In this situation, and so long as a defender were not prevented from playing the ball, the goal should stand.

However, what if the interference were to occur on an extremely hard-hit shot which then rebounds the length of the field (maybe influenced by a strong wind) and enters the goal at the opposite end from where the interference occurred? I think this is what is meant by the ball entering the opponent's goal and although it would be an almost impossible occurrence, they included the wording just to cover that most unlikely of times when it might happen.

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Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

HI Nick,
we appreciate the kind words! The amount of incorrect or confusing information as TRUMPIANS would say, fake news is outrageous. Whatever else people might think about social or political commentary we know the truth and facts are but a small part of the cycle! Perception and opinion seems to hold greater value as a moral truth than an absolute truth
Within the LOTG they try to make the laws pertinent to what could arise. Yet there are always the most unfathomable events that crop up and cause us to go What in thunderation, did that just happen? What do we do?
Basically the LOTG have tried to make it plain.
A TEAM that cheats can not be rewarded .
A Team who does not cheat should not reward the opposition with accidental misadventure.

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