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Soccer Rules Changes 1580-2000

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Question Number: 33442

Law 1- The Field 6/12/2019

RE: Youth Club Under 16

Mike of Ontario, CA USA asks...

Background: Soccer game on a multi-use field (football/soccer). Soccer crossbar is directly (one foot) under the football crossbar.

Attacker's shot is deflected by GK and the ball hits the football crossbar and the ball bounces down and the attacker's teammate taps the ball in for a goal.

The ball never left the playing field, but it did hit the football crossbar not the soccer goal crossbar.

The referees called it a goal but only because they thought the ball hit the soccer crossbar. Video replay viewed after the game showed it hit the football crossbar.

Just seems like a poor way to setup the field. Should've pushed the soccer goals and goal line out three yards.

How is this handled? Goal or corner kick?

Answer provided by Referee Jason Wright

Hi Mike,
These are tricky scenarios. I find the most typical approach is that the moment it touches the non-soccer portion of the posts, consider it out. Yes, that does mean that a ball travelling down the line may hit the football post and be considered out when it wasn't going to leave the field, but that's just the consequence of playing on such a field. It can get a little tricky when hitting the soccer post at the point where the football post meets it - I'd usually call that out anyway.

I normally explain this to the players before the game - and I consider it either a GK or CK depending on which team last touched it.

Unfortunately there's nothing specific in the laws - technically, the goalposts don't conform with the laws, but this is just the reality of grassroots football.

Different local areas may also have their own local approaches to this issue.

Ultimately, your argument boils down to the referees thought they saw one thing which you state is incorrect. So, no matter what the typical approach is, if the referees thought it was going to hit the soccer post, the outcome will be the same as it's based on what they saw at the time. It can be extremely difficult, sometimes, to tell what the ball has deflected off - especially when looking directly down the path of the ball's flight it can be extremely difficult to tell at what point the ball changes direction and returns.

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Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Mike
Some fields of play have what is called a *pre existing condition* not described or allowed for in Law 1.
An example would be high overhanging electricity wires, tree branches on the side line and in some countries other structures such as cameras, media. At the highest level grounds like the Commerzbank Arena in Germany has a monitor set high above the playing surface. These are pre existing conditions and the referee should advise both teams how he is treating contact of the ball on same.
In a ground that we play there is a electricity cable running high across midfield. I always told teams that if the ball should hit the wire that I was stopping play for a dropped ball. It actually happened once on a punt which would have been very advantageous to the attacking team I immediately stopped play for a DB and the ball was given back to the GK.
Now particularly in the US and Canada there are non-regulation appurtenances of uprights or crossbar superstructures. These are generally dealt with through a local competition rule which usually states that the ball it is ruled out of play even if the contact results in the ball remaining on the field. The restart then is the reason the ball would have left the field of play.
On the pre-existing condition such as an overhanging tree limb, wires the referee can deem that the ball remains in play even if there is contact, as long as the ball itself remains on the field. However as I did a referee can also treat it like outside interference and stop play, restarting with a dropped ball. Personally I think that is the more equitable situation
I recall in the WC in Germany the England goalkeeper hit the monitor in the Commerzbank Arena with an extremely high punt and the referee stopped play and restarted with a dropped ball under the monitor location.
In your instance I suspect there may be a local rule here which says that it is either a goal kick or a corner kick depending on who touched the ball last. In the absence of a local rule then equity suggests a dropped ball on the six yard line as a goal is unfair in my opinion.
If the referee thought the ball hit the regular crossbar then all that can be done is the matter reported / appealed and the competition organisers rule on it.
As to how it can be handled in the future then the best solution can be to ensure it is not there in the first place. Permanent field marking may mean that the goals cannot be moved nor the other structure.

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Answer provided by Referee Peter Grove

Hi Mike,
As far as I can tell, in the US and Canada where this sort of scenario is relatively common, the decision would normally be as ref McHugh states.

It actually used to be included in the old USSF Advice to Referees (ATR) document. Although the ATR has since been discontinued, It may well have been used as the basis for some of the local competition rules my colleague mentions. It stated as follows:

'' Non-regulation appurtenances
These include superfluous items attached to the goal frame (such as the uprights on combination soccer/football goals) and not generally subject to movement. If the ball contacts these items, it is deemed to be automatically out of play and the restart is in accordance with the Law, based on which team last played the ball.''

Of course, if there's a local competition rule that states otherwise, then that would take precedence.

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