Ruling It In

The match ball, and specifically what happens to it in a couple of unusual circumstances, is at the centre of our latest feature answering your questions about the intricate rules and regulations involved in football.

First up, Martin Hii Chun Yeong from Malaysia asks the following:

If two (or more) players have scored hat-tricks in a match, who gets to keep the match ball?

Well Martin, there is no official ruling on this, but historically the convention would be that the player who completed his hat-trick first would be the one to get the ball afterwards.

However, as multiple balls are used at matches now it is more likely that each hat-trick hero would get a ball each. This happened last year when Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez struck trebles in a game against Valencia. 

Our next question comes from Joshua Block, who writes:

We sometimes see footballs punctured by a particularly hefty 50/50 challenge or a powerful shot. What would be the ruling if a player fizzed in an effort on goal and the ball flew in past the goalkeeper due to its movement being affected by the puncture? Would the referee allow the goal, or bring play back for a drop ball?

Interesting question Joshua! Well, Law Two of the FA’s Laws of the Game stipulates the following:

‘If the ball becomes defective:

-          play is stopped and

-          restarted by dropping the replacement ball where the original ball became defective

If the ball becomes defective at a kick-off, goal kick, corner kick, free kick, penalty kick or throw-in play the restart is re-taken.

If the ball becomes defective during a penalty kick or kicks from the penalty mark as it moves forward and before it touches a player, crossbar or goalposts the penalty kick is retaken.’

So as long as the referee or one of the assistants spot that the ball becomes defective in mid-air and changes direction because of that, then a drop ball will take place. We hope that answers your question Joshua!

If you have any more queries about anything at all to do with the rules of the game don't hesitate to send them in using the form below!