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Soccer Rules Changes 1580-2000

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Question Number: 27988

Law 13 - Free Kicks 11/9/2013

RE: Adult

Steve roberts of Perth, Wa Australia asks...

Does the defenders have to be 10 yards away from where the offense has occurred or can the attacking team move the ball back to increase distance from free kick and wall?

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Steve
The free kick is taken from where the offence took place. When the attacking team requests that the referee enforce the 10 yards distance, the ball must be placed and the referee measures 10 yards from where the ball is spotted. It is not acceptable for the kicker to move the ball back say 1 or 2 yards to then allow 11 or 12 yards from the wall.
I have seen it done and the referee should be alert to it. I recall watching this happen in a Pro game as a spectator involving Ronaldinho playing for Barcelona at the time. The free kick was on the side away from the assistant and close to the penalty area probably too close for a strong kick. After the referee began pacing Ronaldinho moved the ball back a yard or so away from goal. It benefitted the kick as the dip on the ball happened just under the crossbar. Two yards closer and it was a more difficult kick to get the ball up and down over the wall.
Now it also works the other way as well. Teams now tend to creep closer to the ball with very small movements that are difficult to discern. When the ball is kicked the wall may only be 9 yards from the ball which is also not acceptable.

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Answer provided by Referee Keith Contarino

The free kick is supposed to be taken from the spot of the infraction. Only exception is when the infraction takes place in the goal area. Once the ball has been placed, the kicker may not move it in any direction.

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