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Question Number: 29508

Law 17 - Corner Kick 6/29/2015

RE: U17 competitive High School

Matt of Malta, NY United States asks...

I have a question involving the proper restart of a corner kick. Team wins a corner. 2 players walk out to the ball. One quickly steps on the ball and runs away towards the goal. Player 2 waits about 10 seconds and then starts dribbling the ball towards the goal. As the AR, I flagged team for an improper restart. The ball literally did not move at all, it was simply stepped on by the first player.

After the flag, the team complained a great deal that what they did was legal.

The center was a grade 4 and did a great job of backing my decision, but did say he thought simply stepping on the ball would be sufficient for a proper restart in the future and this rule had recently changed. I was under the impression the ball had to (at least) slightly move.

Can you clarify what the ROTG state on this. Thanks.

Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

HI Matt,
I am unaware of a FIFA /IFAB law change? The ball must be placed within the arc and kicked into play. Perhaps HIGHSCHOOL rules have changed?
You were not convinced the ball was kicked into play , the opposition was not convinced! If the referee WAS convinced he could have waved you off, assuming he was aware of why you flagged but perhaps if he was ok with the tap he should have explained his position in the pregame then you could have kept the flag down knowing the CR sees the ball as in play if a foot makes contact with the ball once it is set in place with the hands.

The trick corner where the ball is supposedly secretly put into play without the other team aware then dribbled out of the corner. No official should have to guess if a ball is put into play! It must discernibly move from here to there, simply stepping on the ball MAY not indicate it is being played even if it is compressed slightly because players often rest a foot on the ball or roll it into place using their feet. It is true the ball does not have to move far, in fact it does not have to move out of the arc, which in my opinion would be a logical addendum to corner kicks if you ask me. Still in my opinion to be kicked into play it should not be in the same spot it starts at. I should see the foot move to the ball and the ball should move as a result. In these cases the attackers believe because the defence does not charge they are unaware that step set the ball in play yet if an astute defender were to charge they try to claim foul as the ball is ahem, not in play.

Now it is not against the LOTG to try to quickly take a corner kick but it has become customary in recent times for a referee to whistle in the corner kick due to the intervention of separating the players in the PA. I would be more inclined in a whistled restart to take a stomp /wobble as putting the ball in play on a free kick particularly an INDFK rather than a DFK.

IF the LOTG were changed to say a ball must be hand placed at the spot and if a foot makes contact with the ball that ball is in play. No more confusion of a step on, roll or repositioning gesture now is there!


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Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

NFHS opines that there are no major difference on corner kicks between NFHS and USSF.
Rule 17 states that the ball shall be kicked from the ground within the quarter circle, including on the lines, nearest where the ball left the field of play. The ball is in play when it is kicked and moves. Failure to kick the ball as specified shall result in a rekick.
Now in this situation stepping on the ball has not put the ball into play so you were correct to signal this to the CR. I am not aware of any rule change that suggests that touching the ball without it moving is legal. In the season 2013 / 2014 NFHS defined in Rule 18-1-1n that on a free kick the ball has not been properly kicked into play when a player merely taps or steps on the top of the ball with his/her foot. The ball must also move. So the same principle would apply to any kicked restart which includes a corner kick.
You do not mention what restart was decided on. In a FIFA game the referee can decide that due to the fact that the ball was not put into play by the first player plus if the ball was still inside the corner quadrant that can be determined as a double touch infraction by the 2nd player which requires an IDFK restart. If the ball was outside the quadrant then one could assume that it was kicked and moved after being played by the first player. The kick can be retaken if the referee is unsure what happened and that is what generally happens.

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