Dropped Ball Participants

Mike, a U13 – U19 referee, asks:

In regards to Law 8 Dropped Ball restarts, the rules says no minimum or maximum players. Isn’t it usually 1 from each team? Can a team send more than 1 player to participate in the drop ball restart?

Answer

Under the Laws of the Game, regardless of “tradition,” as many as every player from each or either team or as few as no player from each or either team may participate in a dropped ball restart. Note that, for those officiating in the US, NFHS high school rules limit participation in a dropped ball to one and only one player from each team).  Who participates in a dropped ball is entirely up to the players themselves and the referee plays no part in any such decision.  Nor may the referee alter the prescribed method of performing the drop to favor either team regardless of the circumstances.  On the other hand, the referee is not obliged to delay unnecessarily the taking of a dropped ball in order to wait for any particular player to arrive at the restart location.

Occasionally, we hear of referees touting this “tradition” but doing anything concrete about it is both unprofessional and not allowed by Law.  Only the players themselves are involved in participating or not.  The referee’s sole authority is limited to actually dropping the ball (as well, of course, as deciding if it made contact with the ground before making contact with any player).