Soccer Referee Resources
Ask a Question
Recent Questions

RSS FEED Subscribe Now!

Q&A Quick Search
The Field of Play
The Ball
The Players
The Players Equipment
The Referee
The Other Match Officials
The Duration of the Match
The Start and Restart of Play
The Ball In and Out of Play
Fouls and Misconduct
Free Kicks
Penalty kick
Throw In
Goal Kick
Corner Kick

Common Sense
Kicks - Penalty Mark
The Technical Area
The Fourth Official
Attitude and Control
League Specific
High School

Common Acronyms
Meet The Ref
Contact AskTheRef
Help Wanted
About AskTheRef
Panel Login

Question Number: 33264

Law 8 - The Start and Restart of Play 4/23/2019

RE: Adult

S of Syd, Nsw Aus asks...


Regarding the new rules changes 2019/20 did I read right that there will be a change to the rule if the ball hits the referee it will be a drop ball to the team who had the ball last?

Answer provided by Referee Peter Grove

There is indeed a change in this regard in the upcoming laws edition but it is not exactly as you characterise it. When the ball hits a match official it only results in a dropped ball if specific conditions are met. The new wording is as follows:

''The ball is out of play when:
- ()
- it touches a match official, remains on the field of play and:
- a team starts a promising attack or
- the ball goes directly into the goal or
- the team in possession of the ball changes

In all these cases, play is restarted with a dropped ball.''

Also, under the new laws, not all dropped balls will go to the team that had possession, only when the ball was outside the penalty area. Inside the penalty area, the ball goes to the goalkeeper. Again, the actual wording:

''The ball is dropped for the defending team goalkeeper in their penalty area if, when play was stopped:
- the ball was in the penalty area or
- the last touch of the ball was in the penalty area
- In all other cases, the referee drops the ball for one player of the team that last touched the ball at the position where it last touched a player, an outside agent or, as outlined in Law 9.1, a match official.''

Read other questions answered by Referee Peter Grove

View Referee Peter Grove profile

Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

It appears the unfairness of a poorly positioned referee has somehow created a need within the game to alter the play on aspect that has always considered a referee as part of the playing field! . It is true, under the newly revised LOTG that a drop ball can be awarded under certain conditions when a referee alters the flow of play if he is struck by the ball but also with other considerations, including dropping to a single player or just the keeper inside the PA area . It might be best to stay out of the line of fire so as to NOT compromise play by some astute anticipation and reading of the game yet there will situations when things just go sideways for no other reason then they can. Personally I thought it unnecessary and it seems rather unfair if a shot at goal is prevented by a wrongly situated referee in the PA but the defending keeper gets the control ? Time will tell how necessarily or effective this new law direction will be!

Read other questions answered by Referee Richard Dawson

View Referee Richard Dawson profile

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

It is not a blanket dropped ball restart just in certain situations where it is deemed that it would be unfair to allow play to continue. Referee Grove has outlined the three instances where play has to be stopped.
I guess in addition to the one mentioned by Referee Dawson another tricky one will be where the ball hits the referee just outside the penalty area and the ball deflects to an opponent. In that instance the DB will be to an attacker with the closest defender being 4.5 yards away from the ball at it is dropped from where the attacker last touched the ball.
We have seen an odd outlier one in the game that needed to be dealt with where it was clearly unfair yet sometimes those can make for poor law.

Read other questions answered by Referee Joe McHugh

View Referee Joe McHugh profile

Ask a Follow Up Question to Q# 33264
Read other Q & A regarding Law 8 - The Start and Restart of Play

Soccer Referee Extras

Did you Ask the Ref? Find your answer here.

Enter Question Number

If you received a response regarding a submitted question enter your question number above to find the answer

Offside Question?

Offside Explained by Chuck Fleischer & Richard Dawson, Former & Current Editor of AskTheRef

This web site and the answers to these questions are not sanctioned by or affiliated with any governing body of soccer. The opinions expressed on this site should not be considered official interpretations of the Laws of the Game and are merely opinions of AskTheRef and our panel members. If you need an official ruling you should contact your state or local representative through your club or league. On AskTheRef your questions are answered by a panel of licensed referees. See Meet The Ref for details about our panel members.