This is a field equipment and out-of-play question. The field where I was AR at had portable goals with retractable wheels attached outside bottom side bar. During the course of the game, an on-the-ground shot was taken that hit the front of the wheel and rebounded back into play. I was well positioned to observe that the entire ball did not pass over the goal line, so I not raise my flag.
At half time, the center and I, both agreed that the wheel had prevented the ball from going out of play but neither of us were sure if the correct decision was for play to have continued. Comments?
USSF answer (July 17, 2008):
The answer is that the referee should not have allowed the goal to be used in the first place. However, once accepted by the referee, the wheel becomes part of the goal post and thus is part of the field, a pre-existing condition that does not benefit one team over the other. This makes it different from the football crossbar, which is easily seen as not part of the soccer goal structure. Therefore, because the wheel was part of the goal structure and the referee and the players were all aware that the wheel was there (and thus aware of the possible problems that might occur), then it was correct to allow play to continue.