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Soccer Rules Changes 1580-2000

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Question Number: 32539

Law 13 - Free Kicks 6/24/2018

RE: Premier Under 16

Stuart Lisk of Carnation, WA USA asks...

I had called an indirect free kick in the box for goalie picking up ball, dropping it, then picking it up again. The ball was at top of the 18 (so about 16/17 yards away from goal) The attacking team asked for 10. I counted it off. My indirect signal was clear, arm raised straight up. Prior to my whistle for restart, attacking player A, placed her foot on the ball. I blew the whistle for the restart. The player removed her foot, the ball did Not move. Prior to Attacker B kicking the ball,Defender A comes rushing in about 5-7 yards (only 3-4 yards away from ball placement), the attacking Player B kicks the ball which is blocked directly by Defender A.

I blew the whistle to restart for not respecting the required distance. Side note: The defending team was upset and wanted a discussion with me which i accommodated. I then forgot to issue the caution for the infraction.

Question: Was it correct for me to blow the whistle for the not respecting the distance, and do the restart of the indirect kick? Does the ball have to move, in any direction, to be considered back in play? Is an Attacking player allowed to have their foot on the ball, remove it, and then allow another player to kick it?

And of course, should i have issued the caution? uggh! I just simply forgot to issue it after the discussion.

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Stuart
A few points here to consider
1. The ball has to clearly move so placing a foot on top of the ball with no obvious movement does not put the ball in play
2. The defending team I suspect saw the movement of the foot away from the ball by Attacker A as putting the ball in play hence the defenders movement towards the ball. Perhaps if there was movement then we just let it slide.
3. There is discretion in the issuing of a caution in situations where there may be extenuating circumstances such as in this case a misread of the kick that put the ball in play.
4. I suspect the gripe from the defending team was that the ball was in play with the action of Player A.
Now my advice here would be to look at the mechanics of setting up the free kick. The player with his foot on the ball or beside the ball has to be told that the ball must be kicked and moved. If say the ball sailed into the goal the decision would have been to disallow the goal and restart with a goal kick. That will also cause problems for the game.
So I think that the fact that the caution was not given was not an issue per se in that the reason was the movement of the foot by Attacker A which gave an in incorrect *signal* that the ball was kicked and in play.
As to answer your questions
1. The action by Attacker A did not put the ball in play so a retake is technically correct
2. The ball has to clearly move in any direction for it to be put into play. How far is not defined just that it has to clearly move.
3. Putting a foot on the ball is acceptable as many players might do a foot roll to *kick* the ball.
4. The caution would normally be issued yet it is not mandatory. Given the circumstances here I could see why a player would think that Attacker A put the ball into play.
I think the best decision was a retake only with a clear instruction to Player A that the ball has to be kicked and moved. On another day in another game the referee may decide that the action by Player A put the ball in play and the outcome is accepted both ways.
Learning point is that on IDFKs in scoring positions it can be wise to tell the attackers beside the ball if there are two that the ball has to be kicked to be put into play. If it sets up like a short tap and shot then advise the attackers accordingly.

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Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

HI Staurt ,
you could try to tolerate what players accept as ok. The INDFK requires two DISCERNABLE Touches before a legal goal can be scored! The foot resting on the ball & taking it away just as another steps up to kick it DOES often wobble or bobble slightly but lets say in this instance it does not. If the attacking team thought it was ok and the defending team saw it as such why intervene at all?

In these cases a caution is harsh because it is quite likely both team are accepting the restart as ok. I very much dislike ambiguity on restart so a clear no nonsense get the ball into play motion is preferable but the ball only has to move slightly and you can kick it with any of part of the foot.h
Perhaps a retake and a warning to all concerned lets be sure the first kick is indeed a kick ok?


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Answer provided by Referee Ben Mueller

My colleagues already give you great answers. I would just add that I would not let the attacking team have their foot on the ball before you blow the whistle. That will lead to a whole can of worms about whether or not the player kick the ball after you signaled.

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