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Question Number: 34501

Law 1- The Field 2/7/2022

RE: Competive High School

william t Stoneman of Fairfield, California USA asks...

Goal lines are 5" wide but goal post is just 2" in depth. where does it go? Even with the front of the line. Or even with the back of the line?

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi William
Law 1 tells us that
" The goalposts and the crossbar must be white and have the same width and depth, which must not exceed 12 cm (5 ins) "
It also states that the position of the goalposts in relation to the goal line must be in accordance with the graphics shown. The graphics show post and lines as equal in size.

So if the goal posts are two inches in depth the lines should also be two inches not five inches. It makes sense that if the ball is fully past the post that it is also fully over the goal line.

If faced with a choice the line should be marked that the back of the line is level with the back of the post with 3 inches protruding forward. That means that when the ball is fully over the line it is also over the plane of the goal posts.

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Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

Hi Will,
hard to add any value to to my Colleague's succient answer.
Just to reaffirm there has to be a CLEAR UNDERSTANDING of when the ball is fully across the goal line & INSIDE the netted area fully past & between the posts and under the crossbar to award a goal. . So the back edge of the posts must be the same as the very back edge of the goal line.

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Answer provided by Referee Jason Wright

Hi William,

Echoing Ref McHugh, the posts and crossbar are supposed to be the same width as the goal line.

If the goalposts are 2 inches, then the goal lines should be 2 inches. Of course, I know that doesn't always work at grassroots where you're stuck with the equipment you're given.
So, I started to write an answer that got a bit out of hand, and initially I argued that the goalpost should be towards the 'front' of the line, then as my comment grew a mind of it's own I eventually found the argument that proves it should be at the back.

The Penalty Area is 18 yards from Goal Line to PA line. Because lines are part of the area they enclose, that means 18 yards from the OUTSIDE of those lines. To put it another way, from the 'back' of the GL to the 'front' of the PA line.

So, if you actually took 3" off the GL, you're taking it off the FRONT anyway. Therefore, if the goal post is placed at the BACK of the line, it's in the exact same position it would be if the lines were correctly marked at 2 inches.

Sure, you might have some weird situations where the ball is travelling along the line and not glancing off the post or going past it - but remember, the outside of the line is the part we care about. We actually don't care about the inside of the line at all. The line could be a foot thick (well, not allowed to be, but I'm demonstrating a point) and it actually wouldn't change anything around the field dimensions or PA.

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