There was a karate kick to the lower back of player in a Premiership game recently (Liverpool vs Chelsea). Transfer that scenario to USSF territory in our minds so you can comment on the happenings. The refs missed the kick, oops. The Liverpool player was holding the corner flag before the kick. Isn’t that not allowed to hold the flag? Could this assault possibly be avoided by penalizing the Liverpool player for holding onto the corner flag? What level of play would that call be considered trifling?
USSF answer (February 7, 2009):
The referee in this game was most likely unable to see the play, but it occurred directly in front of the assistant referee. We need to remember that, just like the goalposts, the corner flagposts are considered to be part of the field. Players routinely make contact with both the goalposts and the flagposts. Doing so is not an infringement of the Laws. If you need a reference, see the USSF publication “Advice to Referees on the Laws of the Game,” which says:
1.8 DEALING WITH APPURTENANCES TO THE FIELD AND OUTSIDE AGENTS
(a) Required appurtenances
These are the goals, corner flags, and flagposts required by Law 1. Contact between these appurtenances and the ball or players is a normal part of play and requires no special consideration in determining the restart.//rest snipped//
We cannot comment on the apparent foul and misconduct by the Chelsea player; however, we would agree with you that making contact with the corner flag for nefarious purposes would be just as illegal, say, as throwing a rock, and for the same reasons and judged on the same standards. But the thought of punishing the sort of actual contact with the post in this case, a means of forestalling being charged by one opponent and kicked by another opponent, is just plain weird.