It was a game they’d thought they’d won.
After a hard-fought 3-1 victory against Lexington FC in the semifinals of the U12 Kentucky Eurosport Challenge Cup, Javanon girls — featuring four of the area’s players —were told they were going to have to play the last 21 minutes all over again.
The reason? With the score at 2-0 to Javanon, a penalty kick was awarded to Lexington. Although they scored, one of their players encroached into the penalty box.
According to the Laws of the Game, the kick should have been retaken, but instead the referee awarded a free kick to Javanon, which has on its team locals Erin O’Farrell, Reagan O’Farrell, Katelyn Crane and Samantha Fell.
After a protest, the teams took to the field again that evening, with the game restarting with a penalty kick at 2-0 and 21 minutes remaining on the clock.
Lexington managed a comeback and tied the game at 2-2. They went on to win it in an exciting penalty shootout, which finished 5-4. The following day, they won the final against Nelson Elite in overtime.
Many have asked was this the correct way to deal with the matter. Because it was a misapplication of the Laws of the Game — and not a judgment call — action was necessary.
It has happened before and it has been dealt with in a couple of ways.
Gary Voshel, one of the experienced referees who answer questions on the soccer rules site AsktheRef.com, said the correct move — absent of any specific tournament rules — is usually to have the entire game replayed.
This is what happened in a World Cup qualifying game between Uzbekistan and Bahrain in 2005, shortly after the penalty kick law had been changed.
“The referee got the change wrong and gave an indirect free kick instead of a retake,” he said.
“Unfortunately, when Uzbekistan protested that game, IFAB agreed with them that the ref had erred, and then said the game had to be replayed, even though they had won the game. In the replay, Bahrain won and advanced.”
Kris Zander, Kentucky Youth Soccer Association executive director, said he has heard of it being done both ways — either a replay or a restart from when the incident occurred.
“In 2008 at the national championships this happened and it was replayed from the penalty kick,” he said.
Jim Cosgrove of U.S. Youth Soccer confirmed it happened at the national championship finals but said he is not aware of a standard procedure to address such situations.
“The determination on a misapplication of the Laws of the Game is generally left to the competition authority,” he said.