Blog,  case study

Water bottle goal: correct or not?

Water bottle goal: correct or not? You might think: a what? Here’s the match situation that happened recently in the game between Twente and Zwolle.

Jason Cabral, a FC Twente player, receives the ball on the right side. He dribbles to the edge of the penalty area and curves the ball towards the goal. In the picture below you see the moment he’s going the shoot. Watch the circle right before the goal-line.

Cabral shoots on goal

Yes, it’s a water bottle from the goalie. How would you try to avoid externa materials being on the football pitch? A water bottle lying low on the ground would be difficult to spot by the assistant referee.

But what if the ball touches the object on the pitch? That’s how this situation continues. Cabral’s shot bumps via the water bottle into the goal. Is that allowed?

In the football rules the so-called outside agent is only mentioned as a person: “Anyone not indicated on the team list as a player, substitute or team official is deemed to be an outside agent, as is a player who has been sent off.”

But is that all there is about such situations? No, reading the “Powers and duties” of the referee gives the solution: “If an extra ball, other object or animal enters the field of play during the match, the referee must stop the match only if it interferes with play. Play must be restarted by a dropped ball from the position of the match ball when play was stopped, unless play was stopped inside the goal area, in which case the referee drops the ball on the goal area line parallel to the goal line at the point
nearest to where the ball was located when play was stopped.”

Below you’ll see a screenshot of that. The video was not embeddable, but you can see it on Fox Sports NL.

Water bottle goal: correct or not?

So every referee needs to whistle if an object does interfere with play according to the Laws of the Game.

But given the fact the ball would have gone in anyway and there was no protest whatsoever from any player, wouldn’t it be smarter to use some common sense and allow the goal to stand? The referee of the game did allow the goal, but I don’t know if that is because he has not seen it or if he uses “Law 18”, some common sense.

What would you decide if you spotted the ball touched the water battle? Would you allow the water bottle goal?


  • David

    I think in this case Law 18 prevails however, technically speaking, the water bottle does in fact interfere as the ball actually hits the bottle and therefore, in theory, play should be stopped and restarted with a dropped ball.

    Let’s look at this from the opposite point of view – what if, in this exact same scenario, the ball hit the bottle and did not enter the goal? Goal kick or dropped ball?

    Something to think about!

    • Jan ter Harmsel

      That’s a good question.

      I think the mistake of the bottle is made by the goalie, so he should not gain any advantage (so no goal kick; then a dropped ball). Would be nice to know what others think of it.

  • David

    The more I think about it, the more I lean to no goal, dropped ball, and if the keeper put the bottle there….caution the GK (USB).

    We can’t assume anything and also can’t call it one way if a goal is scored, and another way if it’s not. Either the bottle interferes (ball makes contact) or it doesn’t.

  • suraj

    i have que…

    if a any player delibreatly left the field of without permission of referee….the player cautioned by referee……

    goal net is not part of playing area…..
    most of time the goal keeper take a bottle inside the goal post

    and delibreatly going to drink the water…..that’s means gk leave the felild of play….so why goalkeeper not caution by referee……pl answer it

    • Jan ter Harmsel

      As referee you don’t want water bottles placed on the field of play, so it’s fine to put them next to the goal.

      Plus: you can’t card anyone for something that you did not judge. From the footage you can’t see if the goalkeeper put the bottle there by accident – or even on purpose – or that a fan did throw it.

      You can manage things beforehand by saying to goalkeepers that they should put their bottles not in the goal area, but on the side.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.