[Law] Pitch Markings

FatherFlipper


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Hello, Happy New Year y'all.

Right, today's "what on earth do I do here?" questions are related to pitch markings.

I've had two games in consecutive weekends at the start of December with massively heavy pitches. Ones where you lose boots, players can't roll away, the ref is caked in mud etc. Both of them had, shall we say, differing approaches to marking pitches.

1) for those that know it, Egham Hollowegians. Got there, and the away team were warming up, so took the chance to do the brief then. Went through everything, and asked any questions.

"yes sir, which touchline are we using"?

Right, I'll be honest, I am not expecting this. So the captain took me over to the far touchline. I really wish I'd taken a photo of it, but I'll describe as best I can. The touch line from goal line to 22 at both ends was slide-rule straight. From 22 to 22, a drunken dog had been dipped in white paint and told "off you go Shep". There was two lines painted, starting at each 22 - one drifted infield by about a metre and slurred its way up to the opposite 22. So pleased were they with this one, they decided to mirror this with a wobbly line going out a metre from where a normal touchline would have been).

After discussion with both captains (and much shaking of heads/giggling), we decided to use the inside touchscribble as that was a least connected to halfway/ten metres etc. Both bored looking touch judges were advised as such, which they acknowledged when they looked up from their phones and sort of grunted/nodded.

2) Over at Horley. Pitch was heavy with looooong grass. No standing water/puddles (despite the heavy rain) as that would have been dried off by Hurricane Bloodyhell that was sweeping across the pitch. The lines however, were absolutely perfect - painted fresh that morning, and all pointing in the directions they should have been. With the grass being so long, it made them a little difficult to see, but I reasoned if I was up with play, then I'd have a good chance of seeing all the lines. With the exception of the 15 metre marks. As there weren't any. I walked the pitch about three times, just in case I'd missed them, or they'd got lost in the undergrowth, but nope - no markings.

Again, spoke to both captains, agreed we'd just work on their judgements on the back of the line-outs, and if we had to come in 15 at all, I'd call it as best I could. As it is, with the hurricane, there was no chance of them kicking it 15 let alone throwing it that far.

So - whilst I know that the pitches should be marked out in accordance with the laws, what is the experienced view on them two scenarios? Both were level 13 (I think), so the chances of having a groundsman come in and rectify the matters before kick-off were zero. Should I have mentioned either of them in post-match reports/briefings? Any help for future reference greatly appreciated :smile: (and apologies for the length of post - I'm back at work today, and bored witless already).
 

ianh5979


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For me you used common sense and took a decision, I would probably have done the same
 

crossref


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For me you used common sense and took a decision, I would probably have done the same

agree

i refereed a game with all the lines so faint they were hardly visible at all. the pitch really was not fit to play on.

but it was perfectly safe to play on and no other pitch was available so, just as you did, I had a discussion with the captains and we agreed we'd play on, as best we could, they promised that
1) the TJs would be always paying close attention (doesn't always happen!)
2) no moaning about any type of line call that went against them :)

and we played. it was fine.
 

Dixie


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In scenarios such as these, where any decision is as good as any other, try to get agreement to your suggestion while being open to alternatives. As long as everyone agrees on something safe, you are good to go.

By the sound of it, you handled both unexpected situations very well. The one that will really challenge you is when you turn up and see something that looks dangerous - a manhole cover within 1m of the pitch, a protruding metal flag holder for some other sport, or a crossbar that looks like it might come unhinged during the game - and the players tell you it's been like that for 10 years and all refs have been comfortable with it. I suspect that it'/s only been that way for 10 years (if true) because all the refs have been as worried as you, but none dared to do what law requires - which is to refuse to start the game.

[LAWS]Law 1.6(b) The referee will attempt to resolve the issues but must not start a match if any part of the ground is considered to be dangerous.[/LAWS]

When a player comes a cropper as a result of such issues, the ref will be at fault along with the club concerned. Do everyone a favour and have the courage to walk away from such games, reporting the matter to the relevant Society (which should support you to the hilt).
 

ChrisR

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a manhole cover within 1m of the pitch,


OB may remember the pitch next to the Treasury builing in Washingon that had a manhole cover in the FOP. When the pitch was first in use it also had a baseball pitcher's mound. That was more dangerous than the manhole cover.
 

Taffy


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Your actions sound good to me FF. It does make me laugh when these situations occur (and they will continue to do so). A year ago we were stuffing rabbit holes on the FOP with grass although when I got home and told the family my wife suggested next time I take half a Pound of carrots in my kit bag to tempt them out first........
 

Lee Lifeson-Peart


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I have choreographed a 30 man Morris dance on an infestation of molehills before now.

I had a pitch recently with no white lines, just grooves filled with leaves. That would have been ok had the rest of the pitch not been covered in leaves too.

It was only Shitensians II v Old Tosspotians III so we muddled through.
 

OB..


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a manhole cover within 1m of the pitch,


OB may remember the pitch next to the Treasury builing in Washingon that had a manhole cover in the FOP. When the pitch was first in use it also had a baseball pitcher's mound. That was more dangerous than the manhole cover.
I remember hearing about it but never had the pleasure of playing there. However I did play on a college pitch that had a large concrete block in the corner of the "end zone" with a big foam mattress on top of it that didn't stay in place very long.

When I came across the double touchline phenomenon a while back, we did as you did - agreed with both captains which line would count. I did make one of the club committee aware of the problem afterwards, and these days the lines are fine.

Last Saturday the pitch initially looked pretty good, but very quickly turned into a sea of mud with no lines. It was a cup match with ARs so they took care of touch decisions, and the referee used his judgement for all the others. I only remember one close call being mildly queried, more in hope than expectation.
 

chrismtl


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I'm used to regularly refereeing on pitches with no proper rugby lines. All of our university matches are played on Canadian football fields and while most will have soccer markings, many have no rugby lines. So we use 10 yards from center for the 10m line as it's a double line across the field, the 25 yard line for a 22 (can be really confusing sometimes with solid lines every 5 yards), 5 yard line for the 5m line, we usually pace out each lineout to get 5m if the players are pushing it (they tend to line up about 3m from touch) and guess for 15, although it's rare that they throw the ball that far.

It sounds like a pain, but in the game it's really not that bad.
 

Taff


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We had an Youth game a season or two ago where some of the lines were so feint, you struggled to see them unless you were standing in a direct line and could just about make them out. The groundsman moaned that it had been so wet that he couldn't mark the pitch before the season started.

We decided that the try lines were the most important ones (TJs agreed to keep a close eye on the touch lines and if the ball was played back into the 22) so we borrowed one of the teams floppy plastic cones and spaced them out every 5m along the try lines. There were no safety issues (even if someone fell on a cone, they are so pliable that they just collapse) and both teams preferred to have cones than nothing. In fact it worked surprisingly well.

I have no idea what an assessor would have said, but it seemed a common sense solution to me.
 

Ciaran Trainor


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Refereed quite a few games over the years on rugby league marked pitches. Not really a problem just tell both teams my decision is final and crack on.
I had a Colts game earlier this season where a player sustained an injury and couldn't be moved and ambulance would be nearly and hour.
We decided with agreement of both coaches and players to move to the adjacent football pitch.
Centre circle was the 10 m line, goal area the 22 and the rest I just guessed, even the dead ball line. With the aid of posts.
Kicks at goal were ok but my decision again was final and we did have one that was marginal that the touch judge wasn't certain of so I disallowed it.
 

didds

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a manhole cover within 1m of the pitch,


OB may remember the pitch next to the Treasury builing in Washingon that had a manhole cover in the FOP. When the pitch was first in use it also had a baseball pitcher's mound. That was more dangerous than the manhole cover.

As in D.C. ? I played on that pitch in 1990 for P.A.C. as a guest! I can;t say i noticed a manhole cover - maybe it had gone by then!

didds
 

didds

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I have choreographed a 30 man Morris dance on an infestation of molehills before now.

I had a pitch recently with no white lines, just grooves filled with leaves. .


Many moons ago Shirley Wanderers played on some pitches on common ground, the opposite of Kent gate way form the clubhouse... the lines there were marked in creosote which killed the grass along the lines and lasted longer than whiteliner - you just got used to playing with brown lines!

didds
 

OB..


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1862[LAWS]. From each goal a line is cut, called the line of goal, to the edge of the field; all the part behind this line is in goal, the part between the goals being the field of action. The sides are marked off by lines similar to the lines of goal, and all the edge of the field outside them is said to be in touch.[/LAWS]
1908[LAWS]The lines defining the boundary of the field-of-play shall be suitably marked.[/LAWS]
 

Jarrod Burton


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Our grand final day last year on the cow paddock that the TRU call the home of rugby in Tasmania had some crazy angles marked in, with the 22 at one end changing directions not one or twice but three times! At either end of the line it was about 22m and 19m from the goal line and looking at it made your head spin. The best stuff up of the day was the goal line at the other end where the posts were about 2m in front of the goal line intersection with the touchlines (but these were at least even!). One of the matches had a penalty called on a defender who was standing in goal but in front of the hindmost foot (which wasn't on the goal line!), the ref apologised and called a 5m scrum.

Still, at least it was marked, the year before I turned up to the elimination final as the President of one of the visiting clubs and had to paint the lines myself!
 
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Phil E


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...the lines there were marked in creosote which killed the grass along the lines and lasted longer than whiteliner - you just got used to playing with brown lines!

It's now against the law to use lime and creosote to mark lines with.

It's from Health and Safety At Work act and the The Control of Substances Hazardous to Health
Regulations 1994 (COSHH)

To quote from the FA booklet on pitch dimensions:

Powders
There are various non-toxic whiting powders available which are based on ground natural calcium carbonate and can he used wet or dry. They are safe to use
provided COSHH principles are applied. Under COSHH the user would be required to wear gloves and eye protection and to wash off any contact with the skin as a precautionary measure. Most powders are supplied in a fine form.
Hydrated Lime (calcium hydroxide) should never be used for line marking. It is toxic and can give rise to chemical skin burns and irritations. It can cause
serious damage to eyes and skin on contact in both its dry or wet form. Its use is not recommended under any circumstances.
Creosote is another compound used in the past to mark and reinforce line markings but it is not approved for use on sports turf under HSE – Control of Pesticide Regulations.
Its use is therefore not recommended under any circumstances.

The use of Hydrated Lime, herbicide additives and creosote can also result in serious injury to players as it leads to an uneven playing surface. This can ultimately lead to actions against both clubs or individuals.
 

crossref


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Still, at least it was marked, the year before I turned up to the elimination final as the President of one of the visiting clubs and had to paint the lines myself!

I once painted the lines myself -- I had forgotten to tell our groundsman that the our team has changed fixtures and were playing at home, so when we arrived on a sunday morning, no lines. I fetched the machine and painted them ... it's harder than you'd think!
 

Andrew1974


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Reffereed a few times on Football or Rugby League pitches, plenty of nice straigth lines just all in the wrong place, I've also reffed on pitches with variosu lines missign, no 10m lines for example.

Everyone just got on with and all was fine...and most importantly a game of rugby was palyed and shoppign was avoided!
 

Lee Lifeson-Peart


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Refereed on a 3G(4G) - not sure of the difference I assume the 4G one has a better phone signal - pitch on Saturday. Never been on one before.

Pros

~ Nice to run about on.

~ Nice distinct lines - colours not withstanding (see below)

Cons.

~ No flags in corners etc (they were provided but were on little 300mm diameter bases so blew over).

~ Poor lighting (not the pitch's fault)

~ Not roped off. Unless everyone goes outside the surrounding fence there are instances of spectators/coaches etc getting a bit close - needs managing.

~Other lines from different sports (they were different colours) which take a bit of getting used to although they are useful as a "scrum mark". NB one team scored a pushover "try" (remember those?) and No. 8 picked up a dived over the wrong goal line about 2m short of the real one - play on!

~ Can't make a mark in it so have to use other landmarks/lines see above.

~ Bits of black rubber finding their way into the most unlikely of orifices as well as all over the kitchen.

Interesting experience.

Because it was at a Uni Sports Field there was no beer/food after so never got a chance to gauge the players' take on it all.
 
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