A referee asks:
|Situation 1: There is no ‘double touch’ rule applicable to a dropped ball, right? Only to all other restarts? Because the moment it touches the ground, even if simultaneously touched by a player, it is in play….& double touch rule doesn’t apply to the ground (which is what put it in play).
Situation 2: The player who is the first to touch the ball…if he/she pulls it away or pushes it away & dribbles it, can that player shoot on goal? What if, with his/her first touch, the player passes it to his/her other foot, which means the other foot or the one that first touched the ball = can be used for a shot on goal + a successful shot on goal can be allowed, as it is not a ‘direct kick on goal’ from a dropped ball?
Answer — Situation 1
It is correct that there is no “double touch” (also known as a “2nd touch”) violation possible on a dropped ball, but not for the reason you suggest. It is not “the ground” that started the sequence of events which led to the ball being in play, it was the referee. All second touch violations are based on and apply only to the person who performs the restart and only if that person is a player. Touching the ground is merely a requirement for the ball to be in play, the same as the ball leaving the penalty area is one of the requirements for the ball to be in play on a goal kick.
Answer — Situation 2
Three people are important in understanding a dropped ball restart: the referee (who does it), the first player to make contact with the ball (who gains possession), and all other players on the field regardless of which team they are on. The referee initiates the restart. If there is no “first player who contacts,” this means that the ball left the field directly from the drop and the Law requires that the ball be retrieved and dropped again at the same location. Once you have a “first person who contacts,” a different dynamic takes over. The referee goes back to officiating and this “first contact player” (let’s make this easy and say A12) takes center stage. A12, in all respects but one, can play the ball in any way permitted by the Law. This means, of course, that A12 can move the ball anywhere on the field by dribbling it (either or both feet), by heading the ball, by passing it to a teammate (or an opponent), and so forth. The single thing A12 cannot do is score a goal (against either team!).
Notice, we didn’t say can’t “shoot on goal” because, in fact, that is something A12 could certainly do — it’s just that, if A12 did so and the ball went into either goal, the goal cannot be counted. Using the left foot and then the right foot while dribbling makes no difference because it stays the same person and the rule applies to the person, not to one or the other of his/her feet. Nor does it make any difference if A12 pushes the ball into space, then runs to the ball and continues moving it by any lawful means. And it also makes no difference if A12 kicks the ball such that it deflects off the referee (or a crossbar or goalpost) and goes back to A12, who proceeds to continue moving the ball — A12 remains the “first contact player.”
So where do all players other than A12 come into this thing? Once any of the “other” players (regardless of team) makes legal contact with the ball, the special identity of being the “first contact player” totally disappears — even to the point of A12 passing the ball to A43 who then passes it back to A12 who then shoots on goal … and scores (legally). The moment A43 made contact with the ball, A12 is no longer the “first contact player”and now, along with any other player, can score legally.
By the way, if A12 did put the ball into the net without any other player making contact with the ball, the restart would be a goal kick if it was the opponent’s net but a corner kick if it was A12’s own net.