During a match between the Harkemase Boys and HSV Hoek in the Netherlands, the Harkemase Boys’ defense were scrambling to stop the Hoek offense from scoring inside the penalty box.
One of the defenders tried to clear the ball away from the goal but kicked it right at the referee and the ball bounced back into the goal.
After a second, the referee signaled that the goal counted much to the dismay of Harkemase players.
Unfortunately for the Harkemase Boys, the referee made the correct call. FIFA considers referees to be part of the field of play, so balls that touch them are still in play.
The official wording from FIFA is: “If, when the ball is in play, it touches the referee … play continues because the referee and the assistant referees are part of the match.”
Given this rule, it’s up to the player to avoid the ref even if the ref is way closer to the goal and action than he probably should be.
This won’t be the rule for long, though. It’s changing on Saturday, June 1 — one week after this incident — so that if a referee interferes with the ball like this, it will result in a dropped ball, according to ESPN’s Dale Johnson.
Luckily for the Harkemase Boys, the team still walked away with a victory.