To the chagrin of attack,
The ref has the law at his back.
The goal does not count,
And the score does not mount.
So drop ball restart will be his tack.
Once the kicks from the mark do start,
The team of eleven can’t depart.
Should a player be injured,
The team will be hindered,
And one of the ten will play the part.
Bland though it may be for the crowd,
Passing the like this is allowed.
Persist, the game does,
Until the end of game buzz.
The referee report will call this out loud.
This unofficial form of clearance
Is deemed ‘outside interference’!
The only true call
Is for a drop-ball:
Six yards, for the sake of appearance.
If he’s dead, or hurting a bit
It’s not within your remit
To make a decision
On his inhibition.
The final word? You don’t have it!
Whatever is going on here,
You’re refusing to interfere.
These footballing bores
Have broken no laws
Intervening would be queer.
Keith Hackett’s verdict
1) This is a grim situation for you to be put in, but you have to be consistent on “outside agents” – even when it means you are effectively penalising an innocent party. So, as is always the case when the ball strikes an outside agent, stop play and restart with a dropped ball. As for the implications of your decision: you need to put your faith in the stadium security staff, and, after the game, in the competition’s authorities to react appropriately to what took place. Thanks to Richard Moore.
2) You are not a doctor: you cannot make a decision about whether or not he is faking the injury. So apply the laws: a goalkeeper who is injured during a shoot-out can be replaced by a named substitute, provided the team has not used the maximum number of subs permitted.
Andrew Mayne wins the shirt.
3) Sadly, the two sides are not infringing any laws: passing the ball and losing possession is all part of the game, and passing to each other does not count as time-wasting as the ball is in live play. So, however wrong it feels, let the game come to its conclusion and include everything that happened in your report. This is another one for the competition organisers to consider. Thanks to Andy Riley.