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LAW 1 – THE FIELD OF PLAY

LAW 2 – THE BALL

LAW 3 – THE NUMBER OF PLAYERS

LAW 4 – THE PLAYER’S EQUIPMENT

LAW 5 – THE REFEREE

LAW 6 – THE ASSISTANT REFEREES

LAW 7 – THE DURATION OF THE MATCH

LAW 8 – THE START & RESTART OF PLAY

LAW 9 – THE BALL IN & OUT OF PLAY

LAW 10 – THE METHOD OF SCORING

LAW 11 - OFFSIDE

LAW 12 – FOULS AND MISCONDUCT

LAW 13 – FREE KICKS

LAW 14 – THE PENALTY KICK

LAW 15 – THE THROW-IN

LAW 16 – THE GOAL KICK

LAW 17 – THE CORNER KICK
Official Publications Related to Law 17

ADMINISTRATIVE GUIDANCE

PROCEDURES TO DETERMINE THE WINNER OF A MATCH

THE FOURTH OFFICIAL

THE TECHNICAL AREA

Law 10 - The Method of Scoring

Official Publications Related to Law 10

Goal or No Goal

Law 10 – Method of Scoring, provides guidance relative to the scoring of goals. Law 10 states:

“A goal is scored when the whole of the ball passes over the goal line, between the goalposts and under the crossbar, provided that no infringement of the Laws of the Game has been committed previously by the team scoring the goal.”

The diagram above shows an example of a valid goal – a case when the entire ball has crossed the goal line under the crossbar and between the goalposts.

Referees and assistant referees (ARs) must ensure that the entire ball meets the requirements of the Law prior to awarding a goal. If there is any doubt, the referee team cannot award a goal.

The game is played at high speed and the ball will usually travel faster than any referee or AR. Because of the speed of the ball and play, it is vital that ARs be able to effectively sprint and accelerate. The ability to sprint and accelerate allows the AR to get to the end point (the goal line) and maintain the best possible position (offside line) given the situation. ARs should be able to go from a standing position (often times with their shoulders square to the field) or from moving laterally to a sprinting position running to the goal line in a split second. This is a skill that must be practiced.

Although it is difficult for ARs to beat a long distance shot to the goal line, the AR must use his sprinting capability to get to the goal line as quickly as possible. In any event, the AR must run all the way to the end line prior to making a decision. This effort helps to sell any decision and gives the AR a chance to review the decision in his mind prior to making the goal or no goal decision. The ability of an AR to “read” play and anticipate the upcoming shot can also play a positive role in helping the AR get into an optimum position to make the decision.

According to U.S. Soccer procedures, when an AR is signaling a goal (when the ball has fully crossed the goal line and then returns to the field of play), the AR must raise his flag from the corner flag to signal to the referee that the ball has gone out of play. Once the referee acknowledges the flag with a whistle, the AR then drops the flag and runs up the touchline to signal that a goal has been scored.

It is important to note, that goals should not be awarded unless the match officials are 100 percent certain that the ball has fully crossed the goal line. This decision must be aided by the positioning of the AR. Even if an AR is in an advantageous position, he should not signal a goal unless he is absolutely certain all the requirements of the Law have been met. Decisions, like this, stress the need for ARs to concentrate and focus so that they can make split second decisions.

2010 (Click to view/hide)
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2009 (Click to view/hide)
  • Video Clip: Houston at Seattle (31:26)
    In this clip, the camera angle does not give a clear view of whether a goal has been scored according to the Laws of the Game. But, ARs should not signal a goal unless they are 100 percent certain that a goal has been scored. This play has build-up and is not as fast as others yet it is difficult for ARs to maintain proper position. Hence, the need for acceleration and sprinting.

    The AR is only a couple of yards from the goal line at the time the ball is played by the defender out of the goal mouth. Given this position, the AR must be certain that the ball has fully crossed the line prior to following U.S. Soccer guidelines relative to signaling a goal that has crossed the goal line and then come out. If the AR feels a goal has not been scored, the AR should just continue with the correct offside line position. Key: Goals should only be awarded when the decision is clear and definitive.
2008 (Click to view/hide)
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