Ball Contacts the Referee (Law 8)

Russ, a U13 – U19 referee, asks:

The Law change and/or clarification dealing with the ball deflecting off the Referee or AR specifically applies to the ball remaining on the field…
My question is what is the restart if the ball, after making contact with the Referee, goes out of play?
Blue defender attempts a clearing pass which strikes the Ref and goes off the field across the touch line.  Is the restart a throw in for Red team or a drop ball for the Blue defender where he or she last touched the ball.  I’m told there is a clarification to Law 8 on this subject that was published separately.


The answer is that play restarts with a throw-in for the Red team and, yes, there was a Circular from the International Board that explained what the referee is supposed to do if the scenario you described should happen.  The explanation was needed because Law 8 simply says that the restart in such a case follows the usual requirement.

This is where “” can be useful because we understand British soccer language.  If the ball makes contact with the referee (or another game official at least partly within the field) and stays on the field, play is restarted with a dropped ball.  The Circular answers the question about what happens if the ball instead leaves the field and it makes the perfectly reasonable position that, in such a case, the restart is what it would have been if the ball had not made contact with the official.

This clarification means that the referee must remember which team last made contact with the ball prior to the ball contacting the referee and which line did the ball cross while leaving the field?  The restart would follow the usual rules — in this case, a throw-in for Red because the ball crossed the touch line last played by Blue.