The Professional Referees Organization (PRO) has issued a statement following a bizarre drop ball in the Houston Dynamo v Real Salt Lake match on Saturday. On Wednesday PRO clarified the situation explaining the actual laws for the drop ball.
In the 92nd minute, a deflated ball saw referee Silviu Petrescu call for a new ball, and thus call a drop ball. He ordered Andrew Wenger to take the dropped ball and send it to the goalkeeper, and Wenger proceeds to kick the ball out of play for a Real Salt Lake throw-in. Petrescu ordered a second dropped ball, this time demanding Collen Warner take it, he played it to Eric Alexander who kicked the ball out, which saw Petrescu give Alexander a yellow card.
PRO has stated that Petrescu’s decision making went against the laws of the game, specifically law eight, ”the start and restart of play”. That law states that “the referee cannot decide who may or may not take part in a dropped ball.”
That is not an uncommon mistake made by referees globally, it was seen at Toyota Field in a USL match this year. But the second part of Petrescu’s error is what really made this such a big issue, a referee cannot determine how a player can play the ball once it has touched the ground, with the yellow card issued adding to the referee’s error.
All up the whole incident added 1:12 to the match, according to PRO, but had the procedure have been followed correctly, the whole process would have taken five seconds. While the decision had no effect on the match the yellow card has not been reversed despite PRO admitting the error.