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Soccer Rules Changes 1580-2000

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Question Number: 32854

Law 13 - Free Kicks 10/28/2018

RE: Competitive Adult

Mark Suehrstedt of West Covina, Ca Usa asks...

Why dont fifa referees call failure to yield the distance?

Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

HI Mark.
hmmm if I had a nickel for ever time I was asked that I be ready to retire by now sigh.

At the Pro level perhaps we can point to the players as they seem to prefer that it not be a big deal hence neither teams makes it a big deal unless the action BLATANTLY affects the restart. You see them restarting with players of the opposition all around and generally little complaints. I think it bothers us as referees MORE than most but we try to abide by the fact we are told not to get too wound up in the things inconsequential to the game being waged by the players . They really do not want us to interfere if they are generally ok with what's occurring. It is more in their safety we look at as opposed to cautioning for technical violations. We are acutely aware that 2 cautions he expulsion and that most any player will tactically do something stupid to earn at least 1 yellow. So unless the player is BLATANTLY so stupid that we can not possibly ignore his stupidity we do not look to do so. They KICK the ball away boom out comes a card because THAT is STUPID! However, if they hang about the spot of the foul or move away slowly or cut across a passing lane after a foul is called to disrupt an easy through ball so no quick kick can release an attack is done almost as a courtesy to the defenders being allowed as the attackers know they will do so as well. Ten yards you be lucky if they retreat 6yds on their own. Plus dead ball specialists within scoring distance get pretty good at scoring from free kicks so the attacking team is most often Ok with not going quick. thus the referee tolerates their acceptance of circumstances as it is their game!
Now do I agree or like it? No I prefer that respect for ten yards and delaying restarts be raised as a definite standard of excellence in play with no more of this lets surround the referee or now draw pictures with their fingers of a TV screaming for review , or how unfair or delay, delay, delay . Unwilling on field officials to say enough is enough & actually apply the LOTG ! Unwilling off field supervisors of officials unwilling to support a crack down due to power, money, control , pressure to be or act in a certain manner or be barred from opportunity. Nationalism & pride & ego from players coaches & owners who think they are bigger than the game itself.
I wonder where are all those nickels are now?

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Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Mark
For the simple reason is that at the Pro level players rarely want it called.
At the Pro level possession is important so many free kicks end up being kicked back, sideways etc plus if you notice rarely to the kicks actually take place in these situations.
When they do happen referees enforce the Law fully which is a caution and a retake.
Here is one
Not many referees would send off here?

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Answer provided by Referee Peter Grove

Hi Mark,
I wouldn't say that top-level referees (including FIFA-badged referees) never call this offence but I would agree with anyone who thinks that they don't call it anywhere nearly as often as they should. I have to say I'm not quite sure why it isn't called more often. There is an element, as my colleagues have said, of pro level players not wanting or expecting this to be called but I think that there are times when the referee should not just referee to the players' wishes but should enforce the Laws more as they are written. For me, this is one of those areas where referees should be more strict but the unfortunate fact remains that they are not.

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