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Question Number: 29903

Law 13 - Free Kicks 11/9/2015

RE: Club Under 12

Derek of Cary, IL USA asks...

What is the proper signal for an IFK? USSF's videos show you should signal the direction of the kick first, then raise the same hand straight up. But if I watch 10 referees, I'm going to see 10 different IFK signals.
I'm also unsure how long I should wait until I put my hand straight up to signal the indirect part.

Reason being, I stopped play for impeding. The defender purposely slowed down in front of the attacker, allowing a teammate to gather the ball. I accidentally yelled 'holding,' but didn't correct myself. I put my arm straight up once the ball was placed but before it was kicked. Before I realized what I said, they kicked the ball, and the ball directly entered the goal. I awarded a goal kick. There were protests since I yelled 'holding' first, and I corrected myself saying it was for impeding.
What can I do to make sure it is clear that it is an IFK, not DFK?

Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

Hi Derek,
raise the left arm immediately, say INDFK, point to the spot /direction with the other hand! Ten different signals? How different is a left hand held straight up into the air?
If you shout out incorrect information then you will get incorrect assumptions and will have to own up to the consequences. . If you stated holding only I would retake as a matter of fair play. If you stated holding but corrected yourself stating, sorry I meant impeding then displayed an appropriate arm signal I would have added this is an INDFK NOT a DFK.
You have an obligation to ensure you do not compromise either team on any restart. The defenders have no rights on free kicks except not to be interfered with by the referee. The attackers well they are supposed to rely on the referee to give them a fair shot at the free kick not confuse them which free kick it is!

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Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Derek
Impeding is now a very rare offence. I don't think I have seen one IDFK in the last 3/4 years for impeding as most if not all impeding ends up in contact which is then a holding, charging foul with a direct free kick restart. Seen a few for PIADM and goalkeeper handling on the deliberate kick and those are well understood to be indirect particularly if inside the penalty area.
Anyway if the IDFK is awarded it is important to let the players know that it is indirect. I call out verbally to the kicker/s that is it indirect and I also inform the goalkeeper. So the players hear me shouting INDIRECT. I then raise the arm for the indirect signal and signal the restart with the whistle. Even if the arm signal is not seen or is a *different* raised arm the verbal confirmation sorts its.
Had you shouted INDIRECT would there have been any complaint even if the explanation for the foul was incorrect such as saying holding when it was impeding. I doubt it and even if there were would they have any justification?

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Answer provided by Referee Dennis Wickham

Impeding is not a foul that is apparent to everyone. So, the first signal after the whistle is direction needs to be direction- the team needs to know whether to defend or attack on the quick free kick. Some IFK restarts are obvious - offside, goal keeper handles ball deliberately kicked or throw-in by teammate. The direction is clear, the IFK arm signal alone will suffice.

IMO, whenever the referee has done something that could confuse the players as to the restart - pointing in the wrong direction; saying holding vs impeding; initially putting the arm up when the restart is a direct kick, etc, the best course of action for the referee to hold up the kick. Announce that the kick is now 'on the whistle' and correct the mistake. Then, whistle for the restart.

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