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Soccer Rules Changes 1580-2000

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Question Number: 34413

Law 1- The Field 11/11/2021

RE: Youth-Adult rec and competitive

Barry Stewart of Chilliwack, BC Canada asks...

In a game a few weeks ago, the corner flags on an artificial turf field were constantly getting blown over despite their heavy rubber bases.

I came up with an idea to tape down the flags a bit, to reduce the size of the 'sail.'

It worked very effectively. Any legal problem with that? If not: I recommend it! Rubber bands or hair ties would also do the job.

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Barry
Thanks for the example which may be helpful to some referees.

As you know the corner flag post is to delineate the location between the touchline and goal line. A flag is not required as it is only to assist the referee in easy dentification of where the post is. I have played games where flags have been missing from the post either lost or damaged and it made no difference. The important part was for the post to be in place to assist in deciding if its a throw in or goal kick / corner kick. I have played the odd game where the flagposts were not available as they were locked up by the groundsman who was not available.

So no issue whatsoever in tying up the sail like flags that were pulling the flag posts over. Obviously it worked so well done in figuring out a solution to that problem on the hoof as they say.
In fact they could have been removed all together and if they continued to fall over the game could go ahead without them as the Law Book states and I quote
** For example, unless there are safety issues, the referee should allow a game to start/continue if:
# one or more corner flags is missing....**

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Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

Hi Barry,
good on the improvisation. No issues that I can see
I have actually refused to use flags that were either too whippy or had metal fixtures in the ground that were too dangerous if they were slid into. Well-meaning craftsmen looking to help but unfortunately just not safe! As noted the corner flags assist the referee with ball in or out over touch or goal line but they are not essential to play. I actually watched a player be red carded and sent off for holding a whippy flag then letting it snap back into the opposing player. Kind of like a bicycle flag on that spring load. Flapping flags can be annoying in high wind situations depending on the direction as they irritate the corner kicker lol

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Answer provided by Referee Peter Grove

Hi Barry,
As the quote from the laws document given by ref McHugh shows, a game does not need to be stopped even if a corner flag is missing, so tying up the flag would certainly be permissible, if the referee deems it necessary.

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