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I'm seeing a lot of comments saying Messi gave an assist because an opposing Nantes player changed the direction of a ball kicked by Messi, and this action lead to a goal against Nantes. I've even heard this in the media.

I dont know if they are saying this sarcastically or does a situation like this counts as indeed an assist for Messi.

Does being the player who kicked the ball, when the opponent scores an own goal, count as an assist?

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    Comments and media where? None of the score and stats-tracking sites that I have checked give anything except Appiah (o.g.) for this event.
    – Nij
    Nov 20 at 23:29
  • Here assist is with quotation marks, but I've seen in other media without them, I can't find them now infobae.com/america/deportes/espn/2021/11/20/… . And comments in many youtube videos, you can see some here for example (one in English) youtube.com/watch?v=VCcLwU14C88
    – Pablo
    Nov 20 at 23:49
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    Ah, so comments from the general public, rather than credible reporters. I would as a matter of principle ignore what they say unless they can point to official competition regulations or endorsed statistics sources that allow an assistal for own goals; there are competitions which define assists as not possible with an o.g. and others which never define them at all (or not in public, anyway).
    – Nij
    Nov 20 at 23:53
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This will likely depend on which statistics organisation you ask - but the current de facto organisation for sporting stats is probably Opta.

According to Opta, an assist is not awarded when an own goal is scored. This is described in their Event Definitions:

Goal Assist

The final touch (pass, pass-cum-shot or any other touch) leading to the recipient of the ball scoring a goal. If the final touch (as defined in bold) is deflected by an opposition player, the initiator is only given a goal assist if the receiving player was likely to receive the ball without the deflection having taken place. Own goals, directly taken free kicks, direct corner goals and penalties do not get an assist awarded.


As an aside, it may be a point of discussion if the conversation is relating to fantasy football leagues. For example, in FPL (Fantasy Premier League) an assist is awarded if the shot (or pass to a would-be goalscorer) is deflected into the goal and an own goal is given. Though this may not be the case in other Fantasy leagues.

As a concrete example - during Chelsea's 7-0 win over Norwich in the 2021/22 season, Callum Hudson-Odoi was awarded (in FPL) an assist and the 2 fantasy points for the cross he made into the box, which was ultimately deflected into the goal and given as a Max Aarons own goal.

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