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Question Number: 31980

Law 12 - Fouls and Misconduct 11/2/2017

RE: Competitive High School

Iain Doleman of Las vegas, NV USS asks...

Attacker inside the PA and in an onside position chips ball over goalkeeper defender deliberately handles the ball which enters the goal mouth, referee blows whistle for a goal, gives defender a red card.
However, the whistle was blown prior to the ball crossing the goal line.
Question: what should the decision have been?

Answer provided by Referee Jason Wright

Hi Iain,

This is a classic case of a whistle blown too soon.

What should have happened is that the referee holds the whistle for a few more moments, awards the goal and cautions the defender.

Given the referee didn't wait, unfortunately because the whistle was blown before the ball entered the goal, the goal absolutely cannot be awarded. Even if it was bouncing into an open goal.

So the correct decision is to send off the defender and award a penalty kick.

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Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

HI Ian,

this decision to award the goal AND send the player off for a goal that apparently he DID NOT DENY is AGAINST the LOTG and I believe a protest COULD be lodged successfully.

The referee in this case has erred in his decision making process. The referee CAN NOT award the goal then send the defender off. He can pretend the ball entered the goal BEFORE the whistle, caution the defender restart with a kick off. Chances are the team with the goal will be happy and the defender will NOT be a man down unless of course that would be a 2nd yellow card.

AS long as those in charge of monitoring, mentoring, assessing or assigning matches were not overly critical of the sweeping under the table that ONCE a whistle occurs play is DEAD. The goal should NOT have counted and the defender would indeed be shown a red card & sent off reducing his team by a player. The PK/freekick would then occur assuming the handling occurs inside the PA? You did say goal mouth?


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Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Iain
The decision rests on the timing of the whistle. If the whistle is blown before the goal was scored then under the Rules the decision is to send off the defender for denying a goal and restart with a penalty kick.
If the goal was awarded then nothing is denied so it cannot be a red card?
Many years ago I had a similar situation and I blew the whistle a fraction before the ball was kicked into the goal from close range. It was a bang bang situation where the goalkeeper fouled an attacker inside the goal area, ball stopped and as I blew another attacker kicked the ball into the goal. It was early in the game. Now I decided to go with the goal and to not send the GK off. The captain of the conceding team approached me and I said to him that the I could send off the GK for denying an obvious goal scoring opportunity and restart with a penalty kick or I can just accept that the whistle as the ball entered the goal made no difference to the play and award the goal with a caution for the GK. He accepted the latter and everyone was content. It was an easy enough sell although I suspect there may have been one or two who would have been happy with the dismissal and a penalty kick.
It was not the correct decision in law yet it was the best decision for all concerned given the low level of the game.
At higher levels that would not happen. Have a look at this video which I refer to in such circumstances.

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Answer provided by Referee Peter Grove

Hi Iain,
As I see it there are two possible decisions here - award the penalty and dismiss the player or award the goal and caution the defender. What it can't be is a goal and a sending-off for a denying a goal, since in that scenario the goal has been scored.

The deciding factor is when exactly the whistle sounded - you say that the ''referee blows whistle for a goal'' but then that ''the whistle was blown prior to the ball crossing the goal line.'' Again, those two statements are at odds - the referee was either whistling for a goal (which can't be done until the ball crosses the line) or for the offence. If you are sure that the whistle sounded before the ball completely crossed the line then technically the goal should not be awarded. However in some such cases a referee might decide to go with a slight 'legal fiction' and decide that if the whistle and the ball crossing the line came very, very close together (perhaps even overlapped slightly) and everyone involved would probably be happy with a goal and no sending-off, that is a decision they all could live with. Technically wrong of course, but some people might find it acceptable in the circumstances. If the whistle had come long enough before the ball crossed the line it could be a 'difficult sell' however.

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