Soccer Referee Resources
Ask a Question
Recent Questions

Previous You-Call-It's

VAR (Video Assistant Referee)

Q&A Quick Search
The Field of Play
The Ball
The Players
The Players Equipment
The Referee
The Other Match Officials
The Duration of the Match
The Start and Restart of Play
The Ball In and Out of Play
Determining the Outcome of a Match
Fouls and Misconduct
Free Kicks
Penalty kick
Throw In
Goal Kick
Corner Kick

Common Sense
Kicks - Penalty Mark
The Technical Area
The Fourth Official
Attitude and Control
League Specific
High School

Common Acronyms
Meet The Ref
Contact AskTheRef
Help Wanted
About AskTheRef

Soccer Rules Changes 1580-2000

Panel Login

Question Number: 27774

Law 17 - Corner Kick 9/16/2013

RE: Rep/developmental Under 14

Gabriella of Chilliwack, BC Canada asks...

During a recent game against a tough team, the opposition took corners in a way that we thought was illegal. The ref didn't seem to care. What they did was they would have to players about five feet apart the player taking the kick would do a short pass slightly back field to the waiting player, that player would then quickly see what our reaction was (seeing as we are not allowed within ten yards of the ball) and then, on almost every occasion as a defender moved towards them, pass the ball back to the original player who took the corner, then run
passed them across the goal/off line around behind the corner post behind the player who took the corner who now has the ball again and then run onto the field a little way down the touch line (almost having run in a circle) to receive the ball back to make a pass across to the goal.
Can a player deliberately leave the field of play and then come back on (in a different position) to play the ball as they were doing? Thanks. Gabriella

Answer provided by Referee Dennis Wickham

On a corner kick, only one player should be off the field of play - - the kicker. The other players should be on the field. While players often temporarily leave the field during the normal run of play, running off the field as a tactic is misconduct and should not be permitted.

A common tactic on a short kick, however, is to pass the ball back to the original kicker (who is now on the field near the goal line). If the defenders have stepped up, the kicker will be offside. But, if the defenders are still on the post, the original kicker is eligible to dribble the ball toward the goal because the ball has been touched by another player after the corner kick.

Read other questions answered by Referee Dennis Wickham

View Referee Dennis Wickham profile

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Gabriella
The kicker may leave the field of play to take a corner kick, free kick, goal kick etc. A player may also leave the field of play to go around an opponent but must return immediately when past the opponent.
This tactic can easily be achieved without a player leaving the field of play and unless what you described confused the opponents I see little merit in it and it is easily defended.
Some short corner routines like this has the original kicker making the run to the position achieved by the team with less running and no requirement to leave the field of play. That probably is why the referee did not bother too much about it.

Read other questions answered by Referee Joe McHugh

View Referee Joe McHugh profile

Answer provided by Referee Jason Wright

Hi Gabriella,

Generally speaking it's accepted for players to briefly leave the field as part of regular play (eg to run around a defender as they're running the ball just inside the touch line). Players aren't allowed to deliberately leave the field as part of deception, or for tactical advantage (for instance, it would be illegal for an attacker at a corner kick to, run around the back of the goals to appear at the other side unmarked).

This situation seems to fall somewhere in between. Given that the player with the ball is close to the corner flag, I'd imagine that the player would have to leave the field to run around the back of the player.

Given that this tactic doesn't give the team any unfair advantage (as running around behind the goal would), I see no reason for the referee to be concerned about it.

I can't imagine why they're doing this tactic, but I can't see anything unsporting in it.

Read other questions answered by Referee Jason Wright

View Referee Jason Wright profile

Ask a Follow Up Question to Q# 27774
Read other Q & A regarding Law 17 - Corner Kick

Soccer Referee Extras

Did you Ask the Ref? Find your answer here.

Enter Question Number

If you received a response regarding a submitted question enter your question number above to find the answer

Offside Question?

Offside Explained by Chuck Fleischer & Richard Dawson, Former & Current Editor of AskTheRef

This web site and the answers to these questions are not sanctioned by or affiliated with any governing body of soccer. The free opinions expressed on this site should not be considered official interpretations of the Laws of the Game and are merely opinions of AskTheRef and our panel members. If you need an official ruling you should contact your state or local representative through your club or league. On AskTheRef your questions are answered by a panel of licensed referees. See Meet The Ref for details about our panel members. While there is no charge for asking the questions, donation to maintain the site are welcomed! <>