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Soccer Rules Changes 1580-2000

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Question Number: 30789

Law 13 - Free Kicks 9/19/2016

RE: Intermediate Under 14

Phil of Tarzana, CA United States asks...

This question is a follow up to question 30780

I'm surprised that most referees would consider a wobble to be movement after the change in the law. Physically, it's impossible to touch a ball without it moving...even a tiny amount. A wobble would mean that the ball would stay shake & then stay in place. And it happens so quickly that tapping with no apparent movement & tapping with a wobble doesn't seem fair that the defenders couldn't move in after the first touch. I certainly wouldn't think they were delaying a restart by rushing in after the first tap.

In my AYSO region, we have the opposite problem. Some referees are interpreting the word 'kick' to exclude rolling with the sole of the shoe, saying that's not a kicking motion. I maintain it is a kicking motion, with a different part of the shoe touching the ball. After all, if rolling the ball with the bottom of the shoe wasn't a kick, then a GK would be able to play the ball with his hands after a teammate rolled or stopped the ball with the sole of the shoe.

Answer provided by Referee Jason Wright

Has anything changed Phil?
The old laws state that the ball is in play when it is 'kicked and moves'. The new laws are 'kicked and clearly moves'.
What does clearly mean? I know a lot of referees have taken the interpretation that it's a redundant comment which doesn't mean anything. After all, if the referee can see movement, then isn't that 'clearly moves'?
The clarification under 8.3 (referring to the kickoff) states the change is to stop players from tapping the ball then pretending it hasn't been taken.
However, neither the LOTG nor FAQ really define what 'clearly moves' means.
Does it mean it needs to roll from the spot? If not, why not say that? If they have avoided saying that, then does that mean a wobble is acceptable - and if so, why pretend to make a change that doesn't change anything?
Unfortunately we're left in the position whether either interpretation is permissible. For me, nothing had changed. If I can see the ball wobble then it has 'clearly moved'. After all, if I was uncertain if it wobbled then the movement wouldn't be clear, would it?
As for the 'physics' arguments - we've only ever been concerned with perceptible movement.
As for other movements - previous iterations of the laws have stated that one can put the ball into play by rolling it into play or by lifting it up with both feet provided they're both used simultaneously!

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Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Phil
For those of us that play golf a ball is deemed to have *moved'* if it leaves its position and comes to rest in any other place. Moving the ball is a penalty stroke in golf. Using that analogy my take on moves is that if it leaves it original position and is clearly seen to do so. When it is tapped on top the ball does not move. Some players position the ball with the foot so that is not a kick.
Now the reason we have the law is to alert opponents and referee that the ball has been clearly put into play at a restart typically a free kick or corner. At an IDFK which is the most common problem area I look at the circumstances. I see feinting to kick the ball yet when the ball is touched with the foot with the intention of putting it into play then most if not all players who are alert take that cue as the ball being in play no matter how small the movement. Why interfere with that if the ball is kicked albeit slightly and the move is clearly seen.
In respect of the AYSO problem referees here are interpreting the law incorrectly. Once the foot is used to move the ball it is a kick and that can be a flick, foot roll etc. Sure if that is not the case how could a player as clearly quoted in the Laws take ** A free kick ... by lifting the ball with a foot or both feet simultaneously.** If lifting the ball with a foot is a kick. which IFAB says that it is then a foot roll is also a kick.
Have a look at this video
Clearly the ball was not touched on what was a DFK. Now IMO had the ball been even tapped / stood on / wobbled, / oscillated the referee would not have had to deal with the furore that ensued.
Notice the reaction of the two players in the defensive wall. Neither react to the lack of touch until the goal was scored. I suspect what happened was that the AR was looking for offside and the CR was busy looking for fouls in the penalty area and that coupled with Red 18 pursuing the scorer the referee assumed incorrectly that the ball was touched and moved.
As I said on another question. I have had plenty of appeals about the ball moving before a free kick. Never have I had an appeal on a tap, toe poke, touch as not putting the ball in play.

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Answer provided by Referee Peter Grove

Hi Phil,

I think that clearly (pun intended) the change in wording in the new laws was intended to alter how this particular aspect of play should be judged. The explanation given by the IFAB says: 'the ball must clearly move to stop the practice of a player just touching the ball and then unsportingly pretending the kick has not been taken.'

The whole idea of practices such as the infamous fake corner was to touch the ball in such an imperceptible way that the opponents did not realise what had happened and then try to take advantage of that fact.

Since the IFAB has opined that this is unsporting, it seems to me this means not only the referee but also (and perhaps more importantly) the opponents must be aware that the ball has moved. For me, this entails sufficient movement of the ball that it is obvious even to players who are at least 10 yards - and possibly even further, away from the ball. To my way of thinking, a slight wobble will not fulfil these new requirements so while it might have been sufficient under the old laws, it no longer is.

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Ask a Follow Up Question to Q# 30789
Read other Q & A regarding Law 13 - Free Kicks

The following questions were asked as a follow up to the above question...

See Question: 31639

See Question: 31705

See Question: 31797

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