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The Back of the Net = No Goal

It’s World Cup time! It’s one of my favorite times: consecutive high-level soccer (or football for most of the rest of the word) every day for more weeks — and then come the knockout rounds.

So far, this has been a high-scoring tournament. But speaking of scoring …

Listen to the English announcers long enough and you’ll probably hear someone say something about putting the ball “in the back of the net.” It’s a common saying; I even found myself using it when I researched old newspaper articles I wrote from 1990-2002.

There’s just one problem: It the ball hits the back of the net, it’s out of bounds.

The correct term is back of the goal. Under Law 1 of the International Football Federation (FIFA) Laws of the Game (yes, they’re laws, not rules), the goal has as opening of 8 yards wide by eight feet high. Behind and to the side is the net. Therefore, if the ball goes into the goal, the ball goes into net that’s facing the goal: the front of the net. The back of the net is out of play.

Incidentally, nowhere in the Laws of the Game or the Interpretations of the Laws of the Game and Guidelines for Referees does it mention a net.

John Alexander Brodie, a British civil engineer, invented the goal net in 1889.

Until next time! Use the right words!


June 16, 2014 - Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , ,

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