Are players who go or fall into the net area considered out of the field?
If I strike or impede someone from coming into the field of play, what action can the referee take?
USSF answer (March 17, 2011):
A player who prevents an opponent who has left the field in the course of play from re-entering the field of play has committed at least misconduct (unsporting behavior), for which he must be cautioned.
If, in the opinion of the referee, any part of the player committing the act is on the field, then the act (foul and/or misconduct) has been committed on the field of play. If the action of the player involves physical contact with the opponent, then the act has been committed on the field of play of any part of either the player or the opponent is on the field. The act has occurred off the field only if no part of the player committing the act is on the field or, where the act involves physical contact, no part of either the player or the opponent is on the field.
Full details of possible restarts in this situation are included here in this excerpt from the Interpretation of the Laws of the Game and Guidelines for Referees (2010/2011):
Restart of play:
• If the ball is out of play, play is restarted according to the previous decision.
• If the ball is in play and the offense occurred outside the field of play:
– if the player is already off the field of play and commits the offense play is restarted with a dropped ball• from the position in which the ball was located when play was stopped, unless play was stopped inside the goal area, in which case the referee drops the ball on the goal area line parallel to the goal line at the point nearest to where the ball was when play was stopped
– if the player leaves the field of play to commit the offense, play is restarted with an indirect free kick from the position in which the ball was located when play was stopped (see Law 13 — Position of Free Kick)
• If the ball is in play and a player commits an the offense inside the field of play
– against an opponent, play is restarted with a direct free kick from the position where the offense occurred (see Law 13 — Position of Free Kick) or a penalty kick (if inside the offending player’s own penalty area)
//rest deleted as not germane//