I was center at a game today where both goals were set up (and securely anchored) about 2-3 inches behind the goal line. There was no way to correct the situation, as the anchors were deep in the ground and no one had proper tools available.

In theory I should probably have refused to start the game. But that is simply not a realistic option, especially if one team has traveled to the game from a significant distance.

My question is this: we are normally taught to call the game “as the lines are drawn,” that is, even if the lines are crooked or the areas measured incorrectly (one exception would seem to be an incorrectly marked penalty spot). How should this case be handled? I would assume that a goal could still only be scored if the ball had entered the goal and fully crossed the “imaginary” line between the goal posts. Correct?

Answer (September 12, 2007):
In a non-competitive atmosphere, it MIGHT be all right to play this game “as the lines are drawn,” but if this is a competitive league or tournament, then the requirements of Law 1 must be applied strictly.

In a non-competitive game, the “line” that counts is that which runs between the goal posts, not the marked line.

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