Ladies and Gentlemen of NISOA, greetings from the Emerald City – Seattle – where the sun has been shining for more than seven days this summer. (Summer was on a Tuesday last year!) Unfortunately, I haven’t been there much to enjoy it. But I have enjoyed getting to know an ever-expanding number of you as I have traveled near and far to meet with various chapters and regions. In addition, I have been encouraged by the developments taking place within the administrative sectors of NISOA particularly the massive undertaking by Todd Abraham, our Director of Instruction, Legal Counsel – and soon-to-be NCAA Men’s and Women’s Secretary-Rules Editor, Ken Andres and President Manny Ortiz. These three, together with Don Wilbur, NCAA National Assignor Coordinator, have been setting a rapid pace in the restructuring of NISOA, the preparation and posting of the refresher test and further consolidation of our relationship with ArbiterSports. More about that in future blogs. But, for now, the primary message is the one you most might like to hear.
The 2011 collegiate soccer season is upon us and many of you have already had initial assignments in preseason games. Hundreds of you have logged on to Arbiter and taken the refresher test the results, of which, I won’t address at this time other than to say that some of the questions seem to be posing the greatest challenges. One, in particular, albeit now removed from the test, has to do with the restart after play has been suspended in the goal area. The specific rule in question is Rule 2.3. Oddly, the section is entitled Defective Ball. The restart, for which, is a drop ball. Even more oddly, is the Exception which calls for an Indirect Free Kick by his or her team IF the goalkeeper has possession. ENTER RULE 9.3.2. and A.R.9.3.2.a.
The ruling and decision in this situation is clear and there should not be any confusion. What will be changed and crystal clear in the 2012-13 Rules and Interpretations book IS NOT SO CLEAR IN THE CURRENT 2010-11 edition which determines what happens when the injury occurs to players other than the goalkeeper.
I hasten to say that when a rule is not clear, the applicable rule is provided by Secretary-Rules Editors on behalf of the rules committee for each sport. To wit, the interpretation for this situation is as follows:
The restart, for all injuries in the penalty area, is an INDIRECT FREE KICK by the goalkeeper’s team IF THE GOALKEEPER HAS POSSESSION!!!
Further comment: When the rule was written, the committee felt that injuries to a goalkeeper – more vulnerable than others – should not result in even further disadvantage such as a drop ball in close proximity to the goal – hence, the IFK. Since the rule has been in effect, incidences of fake injuries – to gain advantage, led the committee to apply the same rule regardless of who sustained the injury as long as the goalkeeper has POSSESSION!
Hopefully, this will clear up any further confusion. Have a great year!