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Question Number: 33810

Law 16 - The Goal Kick 12/19/2019

RE: AYSO Regional -- just need evaluation for Intermed Under 15

Philip Weissman of Brooklyn, NY USA asks...

My question is about interpretation of the rules regarding the field and the areas of the field. Law 1 is clear that the field is a rectangle and that the areas (penalty, goal, corner) are parts of this rectangle. This pretty much makes sense relative to goal kicks.

Law 16 makes no mention of the ball being on the ground. The ball needs to be 'within the goal area'. A ball cannot be 'within' a rectangle but that's probably not important. As long as the goal area is the part of the ground we're ok.

But then we get to fouls and misconduct where being inside or outside the penalty area is important. Here we need to assume that the penalty area includes the space above the field although this is in contrast to Law 1. IMHO it seems that Law 1 needs to be fixed.

Since we need to assume that the penalty area includes the air above then it's natural to assume that the goal and corner areas do also. With this interpretation, it would be totally fine to for anyone to hold the ball above the field and kick it out of their hands, as long as they are in the goal area.

I know that this is not how the rules are interpreted but am I right about the vagueness of the LOTG? Why can't a the ball be held in the air for a goal kick?


Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Phil
Law 16 states that ** The ball must be stationary and is kicked from any point within the goal area by a player of the defending team**
For that procedure to be met the ball could clearly not be punted as it would not be stationary whatever about a point within the goal area.
In addition there is a strong element of tacit knowledge in the Laws. Try to allow a punt on a goal kick and it will attract howls of derision and disbelief which could not be explained away through a literal explanation of Law 16.
It is that tacit knowledge that reduces the LoTG to roughly 100 pages say 18,000 words. In essence it is not a legal document and not intended to be yet rather a framework by which the game is played. In some ways the simplicity of the document is one of it positives.
So whether we think there is some loophole in the Law that can be exploited the game is not a court of law where arguments are tested for veracity and soundness. We simply expect that a goal kicked is placed on a point on the ground in the goal area and it is in play when it kicks and moves. Simples

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Answer provided by Referee Peter Grove

Hi Phil,
At a goal kick, just as at a free kick, corner kick, penalty kick or kick off, the ball must be on the ground.

Not every single detail of every single aspect of every law needs to be specified. Some things, such as this, are simply tacit knowledge that everyone who has ever played or watched the game, is aware of.

If you wanted to look for some kind of reasoning within the law (not that it is needed, in my opinion) you could point to the fact that law 16 says that the ball must be stationary. In your scenario of someone holding the ball in their hands to kick it, no matter what technique is used, the ball has to be released from the hands before being kicked, meaning it would not be stationary.

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