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Question Number: 32262

Law 12 - Fouls and Misconduct 2/26/2018

RE: Youth to adult, comp and rec.

Barry Stewart of Chilliwack, BC Canada asks...

This question is a follow up to question 32259

Interesting situation there.

It is assumed that the substitute player has entered the field of play, yet there is a way that he could have prevented the ball totally going out, without entering the field of play.

Since the ball has to totally cross ALL of the end line, the substitute could have been totally outside the field of play - and only touched the part of the ball that was outside the plane of the end line.

A fine line, to be sure, but what do we do then?

I agree that substitutes and others should not be permitted to be so close anyway. Keeping them back would help avoid such situations.

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Barry
Prevention as we say is better than cure. Do not let substitutes warm up behind the goal if at all possible and if it is necessary cone off an area well back from the goal line and in the corner. Anyway if the ball was not out of play the substitute had to interfere with play. The amended Law also makes provision in other parts for interference from off the field of play which is punished by a DFK on the field of play. If the substitute though did not enter then Law 18 or doubtful and trifling may come into the mix.
I once recall being an AR in a game and I was on the technical side of the FOP. Second half started with some technical staff not in position and coming down the sideline. An assistant coach stopped the ball on the line that was certainly destined to leave the field of play. The ball was not fully out however. Now there was a shout from the opponents bench about it. My immediate reaction was to award the throw in and I believe that the coach, who was highly respected, stopped the ball in a well meaning way rather than for unsporting reasons. There was no great debate about it and play continued with a throw in.
Now under the new law the team gets a DFK on the line which is a significant advantage compared previously to a dropped ball which might have ended up with the ball being given back or kicked out for a throw in. That is not to say that the free kick might be kicked out anyway or given back under the spirit of fair play under the amended Law.
Sometimes the *best* decision for the game is not always the technical answer. Even the new Laws suggest that decisions will be based on the opinion of the referee who has the discretion to take appropriate action within the framework of the Laws of the Game. Referees according to IFAB are also expected to use common sense and to apply the 'spirit of the game' when applying the Laws. Common sense tells me that this particular situation does not merit or warrant a penalty kick. Other clearly unsporting deliberate actions will merit strong sanction.

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Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

HI Barry,
although I did hint at the possibility of invoking law 18 here I have to admit if the situation did occur and the referee granted a PK as the opposing player taking the PK I would likely pass it calmly to the keeper or kick it out of play as I would not be interested in scoring such a malignant goal.

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