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Question Number: 30650

Law 8 - Start and Restart of Play 8/6/2016

RE: Competitive Under 16

Matt Noah of Fargo, ND USA asks...

This references a kick-off. The video of the kick-off can be viewed at starting at around the 35:45 mark.

The team in white clearly is not in their half of the field for the kick-off. After the referee blows his whistle, the player 'kicking' the ball barely moves it with a pullback move. First, is that allowed, i.e. can the player be on the opponent's half of the field on a kick-off?

Second, the player in the #11 jersey is clearly past the half line but the center referee had his back to #11. The AR could have noticed it. Was the referee positioned incorrectly for the kick-off?

What is the proper call, re-kick, free kick for the green team, no call?

Answer provided by Referee James Sowa


I see nothing wrong with this kickoff. The player who initially kicks the ball is straddling the half line. This can be viewed as trifling. The ball was rolled/kicked and clearly moves. White number 11 did not cross the half way line until after the kick. So the only potential infraction would be on the initial kicker. As Referee McHugh points out, the players seem to accept this so let's play on. If the referee were compelled to call anything, it would be a retake of the kick off here.

The better question would be why the substitution was performed incorrectly prior to the kickoff.

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Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Matt
Over the years some referee have become *laxed* in the kick off conditions. Many see some of restart conditions as trifling and in this video the White player stood partly in the opponents half at the ball would be seen quite regularly at a kick off. I also suspect that the kick by White to put the ball into play was a foot roll and it moved the ball forward which is acceptable for kicked and moves. You will note that a Green opponent accepts that action of the ball movement as having being kicked and put into play with his movement into the White half at that time. White 11 was also in his own half when the ball was *kicked* (foot rolled) by the first player and then he was entitled to run forward for the long punt into the corner, as was the other White player.
So really the only questionable part here is the White player that has stood at the ball with his foot on the ball and over the line. I would see that as trifling as would many referees.
The referee could ask the player to move back over the line. All that could happen here is a retake of the kick off so as there is no clear benefit to the kicking team many times it is just let slide.
With the new kick off Law which states that the ball can be kicked backwards at the kick the only way that can be done is that the kicker has to have his leg over the line to kick the ball backwards. One could take that as tacit approval that some part of the payer can be in the opponents half to do that.
As regards referee positioning the referee is in the recommended restart position. He does though get out of position almost immediately on this particular restart with a lack of sprint and perhaps lack of anticipation. He then has to rely totally on his AR which works okay as the ball goes to that side.

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