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Question Number: 6807

Law 12 - Fouls and Misconduct

Doug Cavanagh of Winnipeg, MB Canada asks...

Dear referees,..I've got a question that I have to admit has never been an issue, either in my years of playing competitively, or my time as a referee, which unfortunately, ended a couple of years ago due to lack of time. Anyway.....I had a coach when I was young tell us to shoot whenever we got close to the penalty area, because, among the more logical reasons, if a ball kicked by the attacking team strikes the referee while the referee is standing inside the penalty area, the attacking team is awarded a penalty. ..That statement, though worded to get across to 11 year olds, has stuck with me ever since, and neither through my training as a CSA Level 3 referee nor as a player have I ever come across that scenario, either in reality or in hypotheticals. Browsing the site today it just brought it off the back burner, so to speak...So, poor positioning of the CR aside, as he basically shouldn't be caught dead in the penalty area during an attack, is this legit?..Thanks in advance for the response...Doug, Winnipeg, MB, Canada

Answer provided by Referee Chuck Fleischer

Doug your coach has done the kids a disservice by teaching incorrectly. He did not know for a foul there are three requirements: the ball in play, on the field and an opponent involved. ..As we see, in the case of the ball hitting the referee, there is no opponent involved; there can be no foul and, therefore, no penalty. ..The referee and his assistants are part of the Game and are treated as part of the field; just as the players are, the cross bar is, the goal posts are and the corner flags are. The ball hitting the referee or his assistants, should they be on the field of play is just good or bad luck, depending. ..Regards,

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Answer provided by Referee Victor Matheson

Absolutely correct. There is no penalty for hitting the referee with the ball. Play simply continues. Mind you, the ball hitting the referee in the penalty area may lead to a dangerous situation, so the referee should position himself in such a way that he is close to play but out of the way, especially near the penalty area.

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Answer provided by Referee Keith Contarino

Ahhh coaches. Gotta love em when they pontificate as to the Laws of the Game. The referee is part of the field. You kick him with the ball and play continues. There's no foul and certainly no penalty kick. We do try to keep away from the goal whenevr possible but sometimes get caught there regardless.

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