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Soccer Rules Changes 1580-2000

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Question Number: 28344

Law 1- The Field 4/15/2014

RE: Rec Under 14

Will of Corona, California USA asks...

In Law One (Field of Play) it says a player must be cautioned if he or she makes an unauthorized mark on the field of play with his/her foot.

Do I caution a player who removes the flag post, or pushes the corner flag post to the side making it tilt, in order for him to kick a corner kick?

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Will
Referees should not caution for this. The way to deal with this is to halt the game and ensure that the corner flag is properly positioned. A word with the player is suffice
The reason this happens is generally due to damage or poor corner flags. When I go to some fields I see flags bent over due to damaged springs at the base or missing bases which causes the flags to lay in the way. I make a point before games begin to examine the corner flags to ensure that they do not cause a problem at corner kicks or during play.
Only intervene with a caution if a player fails to take heed of advice or repeats the removal after being told not to.

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Answer provided by Referee Dennis Wickham

A strong warning will usually be enough to keep a player from removing or tilting a properly placed corner flag. A caution is necessary only if the player ignores a prior warning.

Note: the players often (correctly) move a flag that is on the ground or is tilted so that it is placed in an upright position. That's being helpful, not an infringement.

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Answer provided by Referee Jason Wright

Hi Will,

Usually when a player moves a flag it's only because it's leaning. If so, then the flag could be preventing the player taking a corner kick - it's reasonable to allow the player to adjust the direction it's leaning in.

Removing the flag entirely is definitely unacceptable. However, particularly when youth players are involved, referees should utilise their discretion where possible. If it simply appears that the player doesn't realise what is acceptable and he doesn't seem to be trying anything unsporting, then a stern warning may suffice (given that there's no immediate effect upon play, as opposed to other breaches that typically occur).

If, however, the player pulls the post out of the ground in frustration then it's a different case - same if players are continuing to do this after you've made it clear the flags are not to be removed.

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