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Question Number: 29941

Law 13 - Free Kicks 11/22/2015

RE: Rec Under 17

Laura of :), VA USA asks...

I was playing in an All-Star tournament and received my first card for a call I really didn't think was right. About 15 minutes into the game there was a legit foul called against us right outside the 18. The player from the other team immediately took it without a whistle or time for us to set up (She missed). A couple games beforehand we'd had a goal called back because of that. I asked the ref politely why she had been allowed to kick it and he told me that it was because she hadn't asked for 10. My coach told me to stand right in front of the ball if there was another freekick so that they other team would have to ask for 10 and there would be a whistle before they could kick. So, later in the half, there was a foul called on me for not playing to ball. I don't think that call was right because the girl was fighting for the ball was had her arm around me and had actually dragged me into her. But I didn't say anything. I ran up to about a foot in front of the ball so they would have to ask for 10. The ref came over and immediately pulled out a yellow card; no warning. I didn't even know why until I asked him what the call was. The conversation went something like this after the card was pulled out:
Me: 'Ref, Sir, what's the call? She didn't ask for ten.'
Ref: 'You can't stand in front of the ball.'
Me: 'But she didn't ask for 10.'
Ref: 'I don't even let the boys do that!'
I'd understand a warning or just telling me to move back. I really don't think a card was the answer. I hadn't disrespected him in anyway throughout the game so I don't believe he had anything against me. I'd just really like to know if what happened was card worthy, especially since it was my first card.

Answer provided by Referee Jason Wright

Hi Laura,

Thanks for your question - and for your thorough description!

Under the laws of the game, players are always entitled to a quick free kick (ie take it as soon as they're ready). The only exception is when the referee is issuing a card, a substitution is occurring, a player is injured, or any other scenario where the referee needs to intervene. If you previously had a goal disallowed and were told to have the kick taken, it would be because something had occurred which required the referee to intervene, because one of your team had asked the referee to set up the wall - or perhaps because the ball was in the wrong spot or moving.

Having said that, I know that some referees incorrectly believe that every kick around the Penalty Area must be ceremonial (on the whistle).

Having said that, it's always the RESPONSIBILITY of the defenders to respect 10 yards. The referee doesn't have to move them, the attackers don't have to ask for it - the defenders MUST NOT run up to stand on top of the ball. This is stopping the quick free kick, and if you run up to stand in front of the ball to prevent a kick taken, you should be cautioned. Don't expect a warning. So, your coach is incorrect - but not surprising; a lot of people think the defenders don't have to stay back until told to be the referee. Again, this is wrong.

The referee was correct to caution you for that. A warning is unnecessary because it's a blatant offence and, even though you've been coached in an illegal manner here, the responsibility is on you to know and adhere to the laws (which is why you're making the effort to ask!). Not all offences will result in a warning - the blatant nature of this offence (and the fact that blocking the quick kick can have a huge effect on play) means that a caution is correct.

If, however, you just happened to be near where the foul occurred and you haven't yet had the chance to move back or you're moving back and the ball is kicked into you, then that's game on - tough luck to the attacking team. It's only a problem if you're refusing to move back or moving towards the ball (including, sticking a leg out before the ball is kicked).

So don't forget about the quick free kick - but if you're going to take one, make sure the ball is on the correct spot and not moving!

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Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Laura
The referee was 100% correct to caution in this instance. The issue here is not about disrespect yet rather a lack of knowledge of the Laws.
Law 13 requires that all opponents must be 10 yards from the free kick and that it is also a caution for delaying the restart of play should the player interfere with that restart. It is not up to the kicking team to ask for 10 yards and it is up to the defending team to retreat 10 yards without delay.
Now unfortunately what has happened over many years that the principle of the Law has been lost on the players due to the rise of the ceremonial free kick and referees not enforcing the QFK principle and cautioning players for standing in front of the free kick. It is also a now a coached tactic by teams that make players believe is acceptable to run in front of the ball and that the kicking team have to ask for yards. NOT SO. In a recent game a player who was already on a caution ran in front of the ball to prevent a QFK. Now the kick was not taken and while I would have been perfectly correct in cautioning for the second time I did not do so. the player was somewhat amazed that he was doing something wrong that could merit a second caution.
Now this is not unique to the US. It happens all over the world and in every game. In my game yesterday the defending team positioned players in front of the ball on most free kicks. Most times the kick was not taken so that I would enforce the 10 yards and move the players back either formally or informally. Now on one particular free kick the kicking team was prevented from taking the kick by a defending player running in front of the ball as the kick was being taken. I immediately cautioned that player.
So lets be clear about this
It is the kickings team free kick.
The defending team has no rights at a free kick other than if the referee intervenes it needs to be on the whistle.
The defending team needs to withdraw without delay 10 yards from the ball.
Now what may happen in the years ahead that the referees may be asked to reclaim the free in free kick. In other codes on a quick restart the defending team is sanctioned further when its players prevent that happening. In soccer that sanction has been somewhat limited to actual occasions when the kick has been physically stopped.

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Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

HI Laura,
Your COACH is full of MYTH and lacks of credibility on the part of the football associations that supposedly support and educate our youth. It is a painful to listen to such stories as yours, not because of your being unaware of your obligations or understanding of the LOTG. We appreciate questions to help foster the re education of the misinformed. It is obvious that the trend to ceremonial restarts, the introduction of foam, the lack of cautions being shown at the elite level, poorly trained referees and coaches has established the well worn MYTHS, fables and inaccuracies of the LOTG now entrenched in far too many young minds.

Mind you listening to you re-tell how a REFEREE tried to explain the LOTG just have me shaking my head as poor officiating is worse than poor coaching when it comes to misinformation.

FREE kicks, the optimal word is FREE! Free from what? Free from interference by the opposing team, who in the opinion of the referee, just cheated to have play stopped. The opposing team has but a SINGLE obligation once a team member fouls the other team. That is to retire to a minimum of ten yards from the restart position.
The team taking the free kick is NOT required to do or say ANYTHING except place the ball at the spot of the foul and take the free kick when THEY are ready!
In your past matches the team taking the quick kick had every right to take it quickly. You as the defenders have zero rights EXCEPT not to be unduly interfered with by the referee. The defending wall is a myth that it must be permitted.
The WALL is ONLY allowed time to be established if the referee has CLEAR reason to make the restart ceremonial and/or the opposing team has actually requested his intervention, where upon the referee announces and clearly signals,
Unless you see and hear a referee show and state this fact, the kick can occur at ANY moment!

Your claim you had a goal called off for scoring on a quick free kick reeks of misunderstanding the LOTG if a referee tried to say it was because you had not requested ten yards?
(1)To wave off the goal the reasoning's would be the ball was NOT on the correct spot or it was moving when it was kicked, or
(2)If it was an INDFK kick then the restart is a goal kick if it entered the goal without touching another player, or
(3)Finally if the referee has intervened in some way BEFORE the free kick which had disadvantaged or engaged the defenders he has made it into a ceremonial free kick.
In all cases a goal could not be permitted to stand.

I hope you realize your coach is not giving you the full deal on tactical responsibilities. To go and do as you did and stand directly in front of the ball is literally ASKING in fact begging the referee to please show you a yellow card. When coaching I try to explain that we play the referee as a match condition. If you are close to the restart and are thinking they want to play quickly and can clearly see it could result in a scoring option, perhaps exaggerate the getting up off the ground and in the direction of the restart, crouching down to tie a shoe, make it at least look as if you are NOT deliberately making an effort to be there. It is risky and a decent referee might just bring you up for trying to play him and while I hope you miss the caution but in no way do you complain if it comes your way. We are RESPONSIBLE and ACCOUNTABLE for every action we undertake.

You should now know that you are obligated to respect the 10 yard distance and NOT delay the restart. But then you also know you are not supposed to foul but you do so on occasion tactically to slow down the attack! You accept that when it occurs you are possibly cautioned or sent off depending on the how and where . Once the restart is established, you can once again choose to interfere, just as you fouled the opponent to stop the attack or try and win the ball back but if you do, you can once again be sanctioned for doing so.

Your being cautioned and shown the yellow card was 100% correct! I am willing to go out on a limb here and suggest that was the only one required, so no one from your team or even your opponents thought of trying to do it again in that match? Boys or girls the sex of a player plays no part in the application of the LOTG. You fail to respect the distance you delay the restart of play you pay with yellow plastic being shown your way.


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