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Soccer Rules Changes 1580-2000

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Question Number: 29056

Law 8 - Start and Restart of Play 12/16/2014

RE: Rec. Other

George of Sacratomato, Parangarecutirimicuaro US asks...

I have been an AR for two games with similar 'infractions' and both referees made a different call.

Game 1: Referee blows whistle to start game, an offensive player is standing by the touchline crosses the midfield line and sprints at the whistle before his teammates have chance to start the game by kicking the ball. Referee blows the whistle and orders a re-kick after instructing player he is not to cross the line before the pass to start the game.

Game 2: Referee blows whistle to signal start of game. A defender sprints towards an offensive player standing just outside the circle. The offensives players had not yet passed the ball to start the game and Coach went berserk. Referee clarified there was nothing in the rule book to prevent a defender from crossing the line once the whistle was blown, so long as the defender does not enter the circle.

My question is, are players allowed to cross the midfield line after the whistle but prior to ball being kicked to start the game so long as they don't cross into the circle?

Answer provided by Referee Dennis Wickham

All players must be in their own half at a kickoff when the ball is put into play. The whistle is permission to begin the kickoff, but the ball is not in play until it is kicked and move forward.

The referee always has the power to ignore a trifling infringement on a kickoff, but sprinting at an opponent would rarely be trifling.

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Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

Hi George,
funny how a wee bit turns into a wee bit more whenever we relax the requirements for a restart.
Until the ball is actually kicked and moved forward play has not yet begun! Hurray for referee 1. Boo for referee 2. His match his decision his reputation will be different than referee 1 !

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Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi George
Both teams must remain in their respective halves until the ball is kicked and moved forward. The defending team must also remain 10 yards away outside the centre circle until the ball is put into play.
Is it rigorously enforced every time and game? It is not as referees can see it as trifling maybe doubtful if it has no impact on the game or the timing of the movement is debateable.
However referees should know the Law in this regard and referee 2 clearly did not know Law 8 which I quote
# all players must be in their own half of the field of play
# the opponents of the team taking the kick-off are at least 10 yds from the ball until it is in play.
Perhaps referee 2 is one of those literal readers of the wording and when it is not explicitly spelt out in the points above, interprets them as he wishes. Tacit knowledge tells us that both teams must be in the respective half until the ball is kicked and moved. Would he allow a forward to say run 30 yards into the opposing half before the kick off? If his answer to that is no then it is the same for 3 or 30 inches. On the latter he can see it as trifling.

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