1. in a game played where corner flags were not available…if the ball goes out of play from an attacker’s foot and travels directly over where the corner flag would have been, is it restarted with a goal kick or a throw in?  Are corner flags required for a game? must they actually be a flag or can they be just a post (flag on one that was provided had torn off)?

2. keeper commits a passback violation that was not obvious to all players (or to the referee) but was to the two attacking strikers.  Immediately following the keeper picking up the ball but before the referee had blown his whistle, the striker pulled the ball out of the keeper’s hands (not unsportingly though), placed it on the ground, passed it backward to the other striker who taps it into the goal.  The referee agreed that it was a passback violation, but took a second or two to fully process it and decide that it was an infraction.  The whistle was never blown, even after the ball went into the net.

question…is the infraction enough for the foul to occur, or must the referee blow his whistle to award the foul? since the foul and misconduct situations do not require there to be a whistle, would this situation require one?  is this a goal?  What about less controversial the whistle the device that awards the foul or communicates it?

it goes without saying that the crew got in a lot of trouble (with the players) for allowing this to happen.

USSF answer (April 10, 2009):
1. Yes, corner flags and posts are required. However, if they are not available, the referee must make certain that he or she can judge where the corner is. The final decision in your question is up to the referee.

2. It’s difficult to determine in which instance the referee made himself look more foolish: (a) in missing the goalkeeper picking up the deliberate pass from his teammate (?!?!?!) or (b) in allowing the striker to pull the ball from the goalkeeper’s hands while the ball was still in play, at least in the eyes of the referee. Where was the assistant referee? Where was the referee? Neither one was anywhere near the field of play, right?

Fact 1: The players (through the IFAB) make the Laws of the Game, but it’s the referee who enforces them, not the players.

Fact 2: The whistle is needed to stop play for a free kick or penalty kick. (See Interpretations, use of the whistle.)

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