You have probably seen the NCAA game that ended with KFTM, where a shot was saved by the GK and rebounded high in the air out near the 12 yard line and landed with backspin. The ball slowly rolled back into the goal as it was ignored by the GK. Neither the CR nor AR initially realized the goal should count, but the opposing GK (teammate of the shooter) vociferously pointed it out to the AR, and eventually the goal counted.

After hearing a lot of comments from referees on what they would do if this happened in a USSF game, I’d appreciate your comments. Some of these experienced referees have stated they would not count the goal (despite what seems to me to be clear in the Laws), stating things such as:
– “If there ever was a time when a referee should declare a penalty kick to be over before it technically must be declared over, this would be that time. Neither the goalkeeper nor the kicker entertained the possibility that a goal might still be scored.”
– “If this happened in most of our games, I suspect very few of us would award a goal. And I don’t think we SHOULD. . . If I’m the referee and a ball bounces off the crossbar and is 10 yards away from the goal line, in my opinion the kick has been completed.”
– “Besides being correct in what I feel is the spirit of the game or common sense, I believe a no-goal ruling also is correct by the letter of the law, as clarified by the ATR.”
– “That is very easy to defend: It is not a misapplication of the LOTG. It is a fact of play and the referee’s decision reigns supreme.”

I will go out on a limb and say that goal/no goal decisions are always in the category of “facts of play” (not protestable) and never “misapplications.”
– “You may want to re-read the relevant portion of the ATR again. The first time I read it, I missed the part about the ball needing to be in contact with post/bar/GK/ground AND still moving. Those criteria were NOT met on this particular kick. At least, at one point they were not and it seems completely valid for a referee to rule that the kick was completed — way before it came 10 yards back toward the goal line and crossed the line.”
– “Lets go directly to Law 5: The decisions of the referee regarding facts connected with play, including whether or not a goal is scored and the result of the match, are final. That is about as explicit as you can get. If the referee says it’s a goal then it’s a goal. If the referee says it’s not a goal then it’s not a goal. The decision is final. That means it cannot be protested.”

– – – – –

Based on the above statements by experienced referees, here are my questions, assuming this was a USSF game:

1. Under FIFA/USSF rules, should this goal count?

2. Assume the goal was not allowed and there was a protest.

Assuming the CR and AR accurately state that the ball spun back over the goal line but say that they believe the kick was over because it rebounded so far from the goal, would this be considered a misapplication of the LOTG (and thus protestable) or a factual situation that cannot be protested?

Thanks for your help. I think a lot of referees could use it in this situation.

USSF answer (December 8, 2009):
The first paragraph of Advice 14.13 is pretty clear; it also follows word for word the instructions from FIFA on when the kick has been completed. However, we might suggest that skeptics use their common sense and read the phrase “any combination of the ground, crossbar, goalposts, and goalkeeper, a goal can still be scored” to mean in sequence or combination of those things. If the ball remains in motion after it has rebounded or deflected from any of those things and remains in the field, it is still in play. A referee would not stop play for such a thing during the game and there is no reason to stop it during penalty kicks or kicks from the penalty mark.

Answers: 1. Score the goal. 2. That situation would be counter to the Laws and tradition.

The penalty kick or kick from the penalty mark is completed only when the referee declares it so, and the referee should not declare the kick to be completed if there is any possibility that the ball is still in play. In other words: So long as the ball is in motion and contacting any combination of the ground, crossbar, goalposts, and goalkeeper, a goal can still be scored.

//rest deleted as non-pertinent//

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