I had a question on what constitutes “superfluous items” on a goal post. I was officiating a game the other weekend when the ball bounced off the wheels attached to the goalposts (these are the movable goals), and in the subsequent play the attacker scored a goal. The defenders said that the ball had hit the wheel (that was attached to the goalpost) and came back unto the field of play. I talked to the AR and after the discussion allowed the goal to stand. At half time we went over to the goal post and put the ball down in front of the wheel and noticed that the wheel was placed in such a way that the ball never left the field of play, that part of the ball was on the goal line.
However, I was just reading the ATR and noticed that 1.7.b noted those items that were “non-regulation apparatus” and if the ball touched these items that the ball should be considered out of play, regardless of the ball rebounding back into the field of play.
The question I have is should I have consider the wheel attached to the goalpost to have been a “non-regulation” apparatus and therefore have waved off the goal?
USSF answer (March 25, 2011):
This answer repeats what we have replied in three earlier answers and in the USSF publication “Advice to Referees on the Laws of the Game”:
The referee should not have allowed the goal to be used in the first place. An appropriate pregame inspection would have prevented such a thing. Wheeled goals fall under the same category as standard U. S. football goalposts. This is covered in the USSF publication “Advice to Referees on the Laws of the Game”:
(b) Non-regulation appurtenances (see 1.7)
These include superfluous items attached to the goal frame (such as the uprights on combination soccer/football goals) and not generally subject to movement. If the ball contacts these items, it is deemed to be automatically out of play and the restart is in accordance with the Law, based on which team last played the ball.
The intelligent referee will either not permit equipment that is not in accordance with the Law or be prepared to face the problems that occur. Full details should be included in the match report.
This question emphasizes the importance of a thorough pregame inspection. However, if the referee has inspected the field and determined that the goals or other appurtenances meet the requirements of the Law, then he or she cannot later rule that the equipment is no longer acceptable–unless something has happened that changes the state of the equipment. In that case, the wheels are still regarded as unofficial superstructure and if the ball is affected by them, the ball is dead and play stops, with an appropriate restart in accordance with the Law (corner kick or goal kick, depending on who last played the ball for a ball that left the field, and a dropped ball if the ball remained on the field).