My question has to do with the use of an undersized ball for the taking of a penalty kick. In a BU-13 match (which matches under our league rules require the use of a Size 5 ball), a PK was awarded in the final two minutes of play. The center referee did not inspect the ball and grabbed a Size 4 ball for the PK. (The use of the other team’s Size 4 ball for the PK marked the second time that undersized ball was in play). As the ball was set, the coaches for the defending team immediately complained about the ball size prior to the PK being taken. The sideline AR noticed this and raised his flag. The center referee ignored the protest and let the kick occur. The kick was partially blocked by the keeper but rolled in the goal off the keepers hands. After the PK conversion and before play resumed, the sideline AR had the center ref inspect the ball, and they confirmed the use of the Size 4 ball for the successful PK. But the center referee refused to have the PK redone at the request of the defending team’s coach, and instead simply removed the ball again from play. The game ended in a 1-0 result. After the match the center referee told the defending team’s coaches that he did not inspect the ball and that he was responsible to do so. But when requested by the defending team’s coaches to note in writing on the match report that an improper Size 4 ball was used for the converted PK, the center referee refused to, noting only in writing that “a Size 4 Ball was used during the match” (at the suggestion of the other sideline AR than the one who had seen the error and raised his flag.) Were the center referee’s actions proper?
USSF answer (October 15, 2008):
Law 5 tells us that the referee “ensures that any ball used meets the requirements of Law 2.” By implication, that means that the balls used in any game must meet the requirements set down by the competition authority. In the case of your scenario, the referee did not follow the Law: He did not properly inspect the ball and thus did not follow the specific requirement of Law 5 that the ball had to meet the standards.
Therefore, the use of an illegal ball (in accordance with the rules of competition) which resulted in a goal (regardless of whether this was during play, during a penalty kick, or during kicks from the penalty mark) requires that the goal be canceled if the problem is discovered prior to the restart. This must be included in the match report if not discovered until after the restart.