Over this last weekend there was an incident in England’s premiership where the referee and assistant referee awarded a goal when in fact there had been none. The referee facing the goal saw the ball zoom forward and get knocked away to the side. The assistant referee believed the ball had fully entered the goal and then been knocked away. The replay shows the ball never reached the goal.

The English FA ruled the awarded goal must stand because they have no authority under the laws to overrule a referee’s decision. This must mean that a referee may award a goal to a team and it cannot be undone as long as the referee stands by that decision. This is obviously absurd when you think of all the crazy things that can happen as a consequence of upholding a referee’s decision.

There is a limit to everyone’s power. Besides not assigning an errant referee to another game, what practical thing can a federation do to set aside a nefarious decision by a referee?

USSF answer (September 24, 2008):
Law 5 says it all:

Decisions of the Referee
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.

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