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Question Number: 29931

Law 12 - Fouls and Misconduct 11/17/2015

RE: Club Under 12

Derek of Cary, IL USA asks...

This question is a follow up to question 29903

What defines impeding? In other words, what makes impeding different from holding (or any other penal foul)? Can you hold someone with your body, or only with your arms and hands?

Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

Hi Derek,
Players are not permitted opponent rather than the ball.
Impeding is blocking the opposing player's movement pattern by mirroring the run or movement path of the opponent who is trying to go around you and rather than you follow the ball you run/ move with him while the ball is not within playing distance . Committing the foul of impeding an opponent there is no contact . Like PIADM the opponent affected is disadvantaged by having to stop playing for fear or contact.

Often impeding occurs prior to a restart particularly on corner kicks where positions to block the keeper are utilized. This is misconduct , if you wish to stop it and caution or award an INDFK out as soon as the corner kick occurs if it is the attackers impeding the keeper.

The majority of videos on the internet that try to show impeding fail miserably as they are all holding, pushing or charging fouls due to contact. I offer a challenge for anyone to find me a good impeding INDFK foul video! lol

Shielding which I guess we can call legal impeding is where the ball is within playing distance and the player basically obstructs the opponent from access. There will be shoulder to shoulder when sideways and often a wide out arm spread stance as they pivot around the ball where in essence the guy behind is pushing and the guy in front is holding. Where I draw a line to fair and foul is of course an opinion but if the player in front actually BACKs up away from the ball with arms wide to allow time for a ball to say roll out of play I consider that a foul! If the player behind shoves in the back forcing the front player to stumble and kick the ball out! I see it as a foul rather than goal corner or throw in.


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Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Derek
Impeding is now a very rare called offence in the modern game.
Impeding the progress of an opponent means moving into the path of the opponent to obstruct, block, slow down or force a change of direction by an opponent when the ball is not within playing distance of either player.
Over the past 4/5 years I cant recall seeing one impeding foul. Most times the impeding gets escalated into contact which is then a more serious offence of holding, charging, pushing etc. So yes an opponent can be held by a players body not just his arms.
Prior to 1997 it was called obstruction and then it was a much more common offence happening regularly in games where players just moved into the path of an opponent and obstructed progress. That is not longer the case and it is now a penal foul on contact.
Now I have looked for some time on the net to show examples of impeding and I really cannot find any or at least what is true impeding.
Now one would ask why it is not called. The answer lies in the fact that shielding is allowed and once the ball is within playing distance the ball may be legally shielded. We see a defender move into the path of a forward to prevent him getting to the ball as it goes over the goal line or back to the goalkeeper. Is that legal shielding or is it impeding or holding. The decision rests on how far the ball is away to be within playing distance. Players don't expect the foul here so it is ignored as an offence and most times seen as shielding.

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