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Question Number: 29839

Law 16 - Goal Kick 10/21/2015

RE: Youth to adult, comp and rec.

Barry Stewart of Chilliwack, BC Canada asks...

This question is a follow up to question 29835

I was just thinking about corner kick and goal kick restarts -- or even defensive free kicks from the PA -- and how rarely an opposition player would dare infringe the 10-yard zone, yet it's a common occurrence on most other free kicks.

A player sees it's a goal kick or a corner kick and they back off. They see it's a free kick and all of a sudden, it's a snail-slow retreat, if at all... or retreating to 6-7 yards, to get an appeal for the ref to measure 10.

Your thoughts?

Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

Hi Barry,
the move to the foam was an admission by FIFA and the IFAB that free kicks are no longer considered to be free! They have decided since the elite level is so adamant to delay these restarts they are ok with anything within goal scoring distance to be ceremonial!
The goal kick they have to be outside the PA so its a no brainer. The corner kick usually there is a 10 yd indicating mark on the goal line at the elite level.

There are issues with the restart location given the attackers try to creep up. Defenders will knowing retreat slightly but point yards back from where the ball might be as an improper restart location. They can not do that on the designated start points of corner or goal kick or for that matter PK kicks. Given over time the elite have decided this is how they wish to play the powers that be have decided to adjust so as not forced to send off or caution for such infractions. I think it goes against every fibre of my being but at the recreational level I do not use foam and I do caution for such violations if they significantly interrupt the flow of the match. As I tell all those who tell me well I saw it on TV . I say great when you get on TV you go ahead!

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Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Barry
Over the years coaching players to get in front of the ball at free kicks has become widespread and it is now accepted practise. Pacing 10 yards is now common place for referees. All that has created the problem which is now omnipresent and it is not going away soon.
Now individual referees should not go on a crusade to retrieve the situation. FIFA introduced spray to prevent encroaching rather then enforce what was already there so until the game gets to grip with the challenge of giving back free in kick referees just have to deal with each situation as presented.
In a recent game a player already on a caution ran in front of the ball at a free kick to prevent the free kick. It was not taken nor attempted. The player had no concept of a possible caution and subsequent dismissal for what he was doing and he fully expected me to pace the 10 yards. The same player would pull out of challenges, not handle the ball or do anything untoward where a caution was possible. Says it all for me really.

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Answer provided by Referee Gary Voshol

'What you reward, you will get more of.' Teams infringe to stop a quick free kick because it helps them out, and it has become allowed practice. Why would refs need the 'magic spray' if players didn't try to encroach? And why should the ref need to take the time to use it? In addition, in some soccer cultures it is pretty much expected that all free kicks, at least those in attacking range, are automatically ceremonial.

As noted by my colleague, we can only enforce things at the level at which we ref. I like the line, 'OK, when you're on TV, you can do it too.'

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