The limitation on scoring directly from a drop ball. Can you clarify the meaning of directly in this situation. Thanks.

My confusion arises because in other free kicks (corner, IFK, DFK, GK, PK) the kicker is not able to play the ball twice. e.g. they must kick it, and they cannot dribble the ball (e.g. kick or play it twice in a row without an intervention from another player).

However, in the drop ball, a player can in fact take possesion of the ball (usually by foot since the ball must touch the ground to in play), dribble some distance, and kick the ball, without the intervention of another player without comitting a violation of the laws.

Hence, I’m trying to understand what “directly” means in the new Law 8 (Start and Restart) text for drop balls. The new law says, “If the ball enters the goal: * if a dropped ball is kicked directly into the opponents’ goal, goal kick is awarded” (Similar for own goal with a corner kick.

Is “directly” in this case ONLY the first touch or play of the ball, or is directly meant to include all initial play by a player, until the ball has been touched or play by any other player?

Thanks for clarifying the situation for me. I am a referee and a coach. Recently, as a coach, this situation nearly happened to one of my players. In her case she missed the shot wide, so the ball did not enter the goal. However, had she made the shot (off a pull back move at the drop, two quick dribbes to open space in the penalty area, and a shot with no touch from any other player), I realized that I was unsure if the goal would have counted or not had she made the shot.

As a referee, and realized I should come to understand the correct call in this case should I come to see it again. This is a new law change, and I haven’t seen any guidance in this situation.

Answer (January 8, 2013):
This year’s Law 8 on the dropped ball:

If the ball enters the goal:
• if a dropped ball is kicked directly into the opponents’ goal, a goal kick is awarded
• if a dropped ball is kicked directly into the team’s own goal, a corner kick is awarded to the opposing team

Yes, it is indeed a change in the Law, likely not noted by many people. It is an unusual change and is probably more confusing to referees, coaches, and players than necessary. Thank you for asking, and we are pleased to present the reason, straight from the International Football Association Board, as published for the IFAB by FIFA. And yes, it applies only to the first touch after the ball is in play.

FIFA Circular 1302, 31 May 2012: Amendments to the Laws of the Game — 2012/2013:

There have been a number of occasions where goals have been scored from “uncontested” dropped balls. This has put a great deal of pressure on the referee as he has to allow the goal to stand. We then have the unseemly situation where the opposition allows the team to score from the kick-off without any players trying to stop them in order to rebalance the game.

Just for the clarification of others, the dropped ball is NOT a free kick.