A ball touches match official and goes out of play. A referee in Mexican football accidentally blocks a goal-bound shot and then it crosses the goal line, but not between the goalposts. In this case study you’ll get the solution according to the Laws of the Game. Plus there’s an update with a Copa America 2021 situation where a goal is scored shortly after a touch by the referee.
Video of the incident
But firstly, I’d love to show you the video and watch the complete situation. Please make your own decision first, before you scroll down to the explanation. As a referee you have to make the right decision in a split-second, so some great practice with this video.
Laws of the Game
The Laws of the Game are clear when the ball is out of play. The law says that the ball is out of play “when it touches a match official, remains on the field of play and:
- a team starts a promising attack or
- the ball goes directly into the goal or
- the team in possession of the ball changes
“In all these cases, play is restarted with a dropped ball.”
Criteria when a ball touches match official
So does this situation meet the criteria? There’s no promising attack after the touch, the ball does not go into the goal and the ball possession does not change. There’s three NO’s there.
And that’s because these things don’t happen when the ball goes out of play, but not into the goal. The first sentence says it only applies when the ball “remains on the field of play” in combination with one of the other criteria.
That means that the correct restart is a goal kick in this situation.
Creating a promising attack?
An incident from the 2021 Copa América where referee Néstor Pitana touches the match ball. Conmebol released the communication between VAR and referee. The outcome is that the touch by the referee did not directly create a promising attack, which therefore means that play should continue.
My question to you: how would you handle? How would you manage this situation?