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Question Number: 34207

Law 8 - The Start and Restart of Play 4/26/2021

RE: u12 Under 13

Jason C of Lacrosse, WI USA asks...

If a goal is scored, but not noticed by the referee, how much time can elapse before the goal can no longer be given, if the goal subsequently comes to the referee's attention?

I had a U12 game where the ball was caught by the keeper while she was standing in her goal. I did not call a goal and the AR either didn't signal, or I missed his signal. The ball was then distributed by the keeper. It bounced around in the field of play for 15 seconds or so, and then was kicked out of bounds. At that point the AR got my attention and told me the ball went into the goal. Would you have counted the goal at this point, or not?

Also, does a restart, like a throw-in eliminate the possibility of the ref going back and revisiting a call that happened prior to the restart?


Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Jason
Thanks for the question.
Once the referee allows ANY restart and the ball is put back into play there is NO possibility of going back to anything previous. It is over and done with and the restart eliminates the possibility. If the restart has been taken without the referees permission / signal it is still possible to go back.
As to your example as play had not restarted it was possible to go back to the goal award based on the advice from the AR. There is no time limit for that to happen.
As to the mechanics the AR should have been *shouting* to get your attention if in fact you missed the flag. I suspect though that in a possible hairline goal situation many referees would immediately look to the AR to get confirmation that it was either goal or no goal. Goal appeals by players and coaches would also assist the referee in focussing on an AR for assistance.
I hope it was not on second thoughts type decision by the AR or based on pressure from the sideline.
Yes we have all missed flags yet on a hairline goal it is not a flag to miss and an AR should be doing all that he can to get the referees attention. My advice is without buzzers flags or mikes is to advise AR o use a loud shout using the referees first name and for the trail AR to mirror the flag to get the referees attention.
I once recall a situation where in a game a shot was taken, it hit the underside of the crossbar, entered the goal and hit fence behind the net. The goalkeeper had by this time turned around and the ball had bounced out and ended up in his arms. He tried to trick the referee that it did not enter the goal as the referee was directly face on so his view was somewhat obscured. I was the trail AR at half way and I could see it clearly. It was so obvious that the lead AR assumed the CR had to have seen it so he did not bother to signal for a goal. The ball was punted and I immediately shouted to the CR who then realised that the AR had moved waiting for the kick off.

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Answer provided by Referee Jason Wright

Hi Jason,
Thanks for the question.

This is covered under Law 5 - and we're talking about changing a decision here (the initial decision was 'no goal').
You have until a restart of play to change the decision - that is, to allow the goal.
If play doesn't restart but the half or match ends, then you can change a decision until the referee has signalled the end of half/match and left the field of play.

So if the ball stays in play for a minute - and then you notice the flag - you can still allow the goal.

And for something as critical as a goal, your AR should be trying to get your attention, no matter how long it takes. For something like this, I would want the AR to be calling out to try get your attention as well. Especially if the ball goes out and you haven't noticed - the AR needs to be doing everything they can possibly think of to prevent that occurring.

In my area, we were taught the benefit of ARs mirroring signals in these sorts of situations - if I was an AR, and I saw the other AR make a signal that was clearly missed by the referee, and continue that signal, then I would also try to get the referee's attention - even raise my flag myself but point to the other AR as soon as I'm noticed. Alternatively, I could even call the ref's name myself and point to the other AR if I have their attention. It'sthe t

Non-conventional, but it has been useful a few times. Not to be overdone, and I have to be careful to ensure that the other AR isn't simply holding a flag for an offside offence or foul that no longer needs to be called due to play continuing.

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Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

Hi Jason,
a goal is a big deal so if you are 100% sure one was scored, as an AR you get that flag up and, if you have no other communication device, call out to the referee. If the CR was there looking & missed the signal keep signaling! If he acknowledges your flag/signal with eye contact but gives you the put-it-down hand signal that is what you do as he has indicated he already ruled against awarding the goal, even if you were certain it was. You should try to get the CR attention at the next stoppage and have a quiet personal chat just to be sure. As the play has NOT restarted awarding a goal, be it problematic from a management status, is still possible. You should not argue your case in front of the teams though if the CR made a decision and disregards your input that is their choice. .

I had a CR foolishly wave my flag down for a very deliberate punched handling violation to which they took possession and scored about 45 seconds later after relentless pressure. The CR had waved my flag off, I was shocked! How could he view that as accidental, my flag was a raised wiggling one indicating a DFK foul? I mouthed foul and even made a punching motion but he had turned away to follow the play. The issue was he did not see the punch but I did and so did the team manager and several dozen spectators right there with me. The moment the goal was scored I stood there on the goal line and waved him over. I was adamant that the goal should not stand because the team that scored had violated the LOTG just prior so I needed to clarify with the CR. I was adamant that no kick-off should be allowed but if he was going to say he did not consider it deliberate handling, we simply agree to disagree but that I was so puzzled by his on-field reaction for how he ignored my flag. As it turned out the misinformation was the CR thought I was indicating offside, (yeah I was eyebrow raised there too) so a DFK out was STILL the correct decision in law as a foul had been committed which the CR had NOT seen or was aware of! The CR argued that while he had waved off my initial flag by mistake, too much time had elapsed. So he went with the goal & kick-off. The team manager was fit to be tied and I felt it was a huge mistake but I did remain quiet. His match his decision his reputation! Just to confirm a throw-in is a stoppage/restart and would be the reason to not award the goal after. This is why you ALWAYS make sure you get the attention of the referee to ensure all that was unknown is made known.

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Answer provided by Referee Peter Grove

Hi Jason,
When a goal is scored in a scenario such as you describe, it's not a question of how much time has elapsed, it's a question of whether play has stopped and then restarted since the goal was scored.

So long as play has not stopped and restarted, then upon learning that a goal was scored, the referee should award it.

As my colleagues have pointed out, the AR(s) should do their level best to ensure that not too much time elapses, by attracting the referee's attention as soon as possible.

Once the referee has been apprised of the situation, the goal should be awarded no matter how long has elapsed - again provided that play has not stopped and restarted in the meantime.

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