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Soccer Rules Changes 1580-2000

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Question Number: 27605

Law 17 - Corner Kick 7/16/2013

RE: Grade 8 Under 17

Eric Schrepel of Antioch, Ca USA asks...

During a corner kick, can the attacking team place themselves inside the Goal Area box, including on or over the goal line (ie. inside the net)? I've seen teams use this as a tactic to crowd the goalkeeper, and even pin down/trap the keeper's arms from being able to raise above his/her head to block or catch the kick.
I would call this unsporting behavior, but technically speaking, I haven't seen a ruling in the Laws of the Game that would give me grounds to tell the players to 'get outta there' before the kick is made.

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Eric
There is nothing wrong with a player positioning himself inside the goal area on the field of play at a corner kick. It is not legal however for a player to position himself over the goal line off the field in this manner or to leave the field of play around the goal area. If momentum carries a player over the line or he simply goes around a player as part of play then that is acceptable.
So the referee is perfectly entitled to 'instruct' the player to stay on the field of play and if the advice is not heeded to caution the player for 'deliberately leaving the field of play without the referee's permission'. That probably would be the last resort and the referee should be proactive here.
Also you mention that the player attempts to impede or interfere with the goalkeeper. When that happens the moment the ball is kicked the referee should call the offence and award the free kick to the defending team inside the penalty area.

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Answer provided by Referee Jason Wright

Hi Eric,

The goal area is only relevant when positioning the ball at a goal kick or free kick (defensive free kick, or attacking indirect free kick). Apart from those situations, it may as well not be there.

So players can stand wherever they like. These can be difficult situations for the referee to manage. I'm having a hard time picturing what you mean by pinning the keeper's arms down, but if a player goes out of his way to block the path of an opponent (standing directly in front of the keeper is fine. Continuing to step in front of him as he tries to go around is not) that's a foul. There's often a bit of jostling at a corner kick - most referees will let a little go, but any more than that should be pulled up. If it occurs before the ball is in play the referee should hold up the corner kick to speak to the players (potentially show a card, but generally not) - he cannot award a free kick if the ball is not yet in play.

The players cannot leave the field without good reason (and the area inside the goal net is not actually part of the field). This should be proactively managed before the ball is put into play, but the referee could issue a caution here for 'leaving the field of play without the permission of the referee'.

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