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Soccer Rules Changes 1580-2000

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Question Number: 29557

Law 8 - Start and Restart of Play 7/26/2015

RE: Select Adult

Peter of Ipswich, QLD Australia asks...

Is the defending team obligated to retrieve the ball for the attacking side

Answer provided by Referee Dennis Wickham

No. Indeed, on a restart, the kicking team is entitled and expected to get the ball. (Of course, at the highest levels, there are ball holders to reduce the time spent gathering the ball.)

The laws do not require sporting behavior. But, the referee should not ignore unsporting behavior that could anger the opponent. The referee has lots of tools. Adding time (and publicly announcing it) often resolves the issue. IMO, the referee can also persuade by praising and protecting sporting behavior. (If for example, the keeper gets the ball - using thinking the restart was a goal kick - the referee can publicly thank the keeper and hold up the corner kick until the keeper is ready.) When a player appear to the opponents to be a jerk (e.g., making no effort to stop a ball that is a foot away), the referee also needs also to watch for potential retaliation against that player. Wise referees alter their positioning to be near players who might get wacked by an angry opponent.

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Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Peter
The team who is restarting play has the responsibility of retrieving the ball. This though needs to be done in a timely manner with no time wasting. So a team that is behind could retrieve the ball quicker than its opponents in an attempt to speed up the restart.
As Referee Wickham notes referees need manage restart carefully to ensure that they are done in a way that there is no potential for unsporting behaviour. Player can take exception to the ball being held to prevent a quick restart or say a forward retrieving the ball after a goal to bring it back to the centre circle. The referee has to use his game management skills and the disciplinary powers to manage those situations properly.

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Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

Hi Peter,
no obligation. Whom ever restart it is are usually the team retrieving the ball. Fair play and courteousness if an opponent chases down a loose ball we grant out thanks and allow them, if part of the on field crew, to rejoin and get back into a decent playing position before allowing any restart. At times a team playing on the cusp of emotion and dwindling time constraints might feel inclined to grab the ball and get it to the restart location to continue play quickly. Sometimes it wise for the referee to intervene and take the ball themselves to defuse possible controversy or tensions. It is a simple premise but fraught with peril if you lose focus or forget the needs of the match will differ for either team based on score and remaining time!

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