I was working a tournament and the field that I was on had the temporary style goals. Because of the style of goals and the way the ground was the top right corner of the goal was leaning back from the field. We had a player come down the left side of the field and at about 5 feet off the end line took a shot. The ball crossed the opening of the goal and hit the inside of the upright near the top on the right side. Due to the angle of the shot the ball then bounced back toward the player that took the shot. With the amount that this corner was leaning back when the ball hit the inside of the post the ball had fully crossed the line. My A/R was right on the line and put his flag up. When I looked at him he sprinted up the field and I awarded the goal.

Some referees say this is a good goal and others say it was not. In your opinion did we call this correct?

USSF answer (June 23, 2008):
The Law requires that the ball cross the entire goal line, below the crossbar and between the goal posts. If that was the case in your game, then the goal was legal.

Your question brings up an important point regarding the pregame inspection: If the referee inspects the field and finds it meets the standards required by Law 1, when in fact it does not, then he or she places his or her authority and credibility in danger when a situation like this occurs. Lesson to be learned: Be certain that both teams know of the condition and how you will call goals. This, of course, violates our general instruction that referees not lecture the players or make “promises” as to what they will do, but this is the exception that proves the rule.

Even if the referee has inspected the field before the game, this sort of thing could happen if a player had run into the temporary goal just a moment before the situation you describe occurred. We believe that the whole of the ball crossing the whole of the goal line between where the goal posts SHOULD be is enough to call it a goal.

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