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Question Number: 32432

Law 12 - Fouls and Misconduct 5/7/2018

RE: Competitive Under 19

Salvador Flores of Indianapolis, IN USA asks...

This is a scenario. If ball is in play and another ball is accidentally thrown onto the field, player from team A has the ball in possession and a player from team B kicks the other ball and hits the ball that was being played on purpose, what is the correct restart? Could the correct restart be a direct free kick for team A and caution the player who kicked it? It says in law 12 that if a player throws an object including another ball at the ball that is being use to play with it is considered a direct free kick.

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Salvador
Interesting question and one that has tested us on the correct decision
Well the first part is that an extra ball that interferes with play results in the game being stopped and a dropped ball restart. The law also tells us that an object that is thrown which hits the ball is deliberate handling.
In this instance the referee has to decide if the extra ball was interfering with play or if it was a deliberate act by a player with an extra ball. Circumstances of how the ball got there, the actions of the player will have a bearing on the decision.
My take on it is that the fact that a second ball can be kicked by a player close to the match ball reads to me that it could be interference by a second ball and perhaps an unintentional consequence by the player and the game should be stopped and the restart is a dropped ball.

I can also envisage a situation where a player carried the ball for some distance or failed to kick the extra ball away and then using it deliberately for an illegal act. The referee would be justified in cautioning the player for unsporting behaviour and an IDFK restart for an offence not covered in the Laws
Have a look at this video
The referee opined that the player instead of getting rid of the extra ball, held it and then used it in an unsporting way. Was he trying to make the point that the game should have been stopped as there cannot be two balls in play? Anyway the referee cautioned the player and the restart should have been a penalty kick for throwing the extra ball hitting the match ball. I believe it may have been an IDFK restart?
Here is another video
There is a second ball on the FOP and the referee opines that it is not interfering with play so he ignores it as do the players close to it. It does cause a furore with the conceding team although it is clearly an effort to have a legitimate goal chalked off for a reason no longer applicable under the LotG. Say a defender came on the ball and kicked it which then hits the match ball unintentionally could it be opined that it was interference rather than an illegal act?
Now if a substitute or team official, player while standing off the field of play kicks a ball or another object to interfere with play that is a direct free kick from where the offence took place on the field of play and the substitute, player off the FOP is cautioned and the team official removed.
It is not going to test very many referees although we have seen examples on the web.

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Answer provided by Referee Peter Grove

Hi Salvador,
This is a situation that is not covered in the Laws and so it's difficult to give a definitive answer as to what the correct decision should be.

I have to admit that I'm not sure about exactly how this offence should be treated. For me, this is not quite like the case of a second ball interfering with play as would normally happen, where it distracts a player or players by causing them to react to it. In that kind of second ball scenario I think it is clear that it would be a dropped ball as no player has done anything wrong - in fact that player(s) have been, if anything, adversely affected.

Instead, here we have a situation where a player has deliberately chosen to use an object to adversely and unfairly affect play and/or an opponent. As this is a situation that is not covered in the Laws, we have to make a decision based on the spirit of the law and for me, while it is not exactly the same, this is closer in nature to a player actively throwing an object at the ball than it is to a passive, second ball situation. Then there's also the fact, as mentioned by ref McHugh that if a substitute, team official or substituted player off the field did what is essentially the same thing, it would be a DFK offence.

So all in all I would be inclined to see this as a DFK rather than an IDFK offence - plus a caution for USB. That is only my opinion however, and I think the alternative of stopping play for unsporting behaviour, cautioning the player and restarting with an indirect free kick could also be seen as a valid decision.

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