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Question Number: 32881

Law 13 - Free Kicks 11/15/2018

RE: Adult

Luis Rodrigues of Waadt, Switzerland asks...

A player of team A is still inside the penalty area during a goal kick. The ball exits the penalty area correctly but an other player of team A takes the ball and pass it to the the player who was inside the penalty area who scores a goal.

Is the player inside the penalty area 'gaining an advantage' ? The LOTG says that the goal quick must be retaken if 'the player touches or challenge the ball before it has touched another player'.

What is correct ?

Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

HI Luis ,
a good question !
It really is a matter of degree! There is no gaining an advantage here as it only applies to offside, not goal kicks, which are exempt anyway. There is a possibility of "playing advantage" in that the illegal action COULD Be ignored if it turns out well for the defenders.

What is at ODDS is the right to take a free kick quickly versus obeying the LOTG directives that opponents must be a minimum 10 yards away & or not within the penalty area when the kick occurs.

If there are opponents within the PA the general assumption is to wait until the have all moved out before beginning saves on these what ifs.

That said, if the outgoing free kick be it a goal kick or in another form, ALL of the ball must travel outside the PA boundary lines to be in play.

IF either an opponent or defender were to play the ball BEFORE it completely exited the PA it would be retaken. NO if & or buts .though a Yellow Card/caution might depend on the who & why. Keep in mind on outgoing free kicks only the OPPONENTS have to leave the confines of the PA, the defenders' can stay in the area but neither team can play the ball until it exits.

If an opponent outside the PA was to intercept the ball from a goal or outgoing free kick there can be no offside as it was last touched by the defenders. Each touch of that ball by our interceptor will be the base line for offside position of his TEAM MATE who is or was inside the PA, albeit technically he should not be there, however, the official could have chosen to see his being there as trifling or doubtful. The team taking the free kick since it was their choice must suffer if it turns out poorly due to their own incompetence not the fact the opposing team was not quite where they needed to be.

Then again if the goal kick was taken and the only reason the guy WAS inside the PA is because he came BACK inside , ahead of the ball exiting or chased the ball while inside the PA or had stayed off the FOP and tried to come in via the goal line rather then the touchline say & perhaps contributed somehow? IE cut off a defender who might have got to the ball. So now when this intercepting team mate does indeed slip him the ball back into the penalty area within a second or so & IF he is NOT in an offside position at the time of the last touch of that ball by his team mate while you could allow play to continue I would think his illegal actions ahead of the free kick could be considered and thus you retake based on where he was when the kick occurred as much as what he did added to it.

Where as for example if he was a tired player, who say was exiting the PA over near the right side and the ball was delivered out over on the left, given he simply turned around to see a ball whistling in from a cross after the ball had first exited the PA, I say play on! , Provided he is of course still onside? The same thing, if the defenders had got the ball out successfully and cleared it down the FOP. Nothing the opposition did really affected the free kick.

If you see a potential for trouble try to head it off. If you have allowed the free kick to get to the point where the ball HAS exited the PA and NOT thought the attacker inside was a consideration to retake you should have anticipated the result based on the situation of how that kick is occurring. Perhaps the ball flight out was not obvious it was going to the attacking team? To allow for play outside and THEN try to retake based on how lucky the attacking player inside the PA was still there upon receiving a pass ,assuming not offside, is not really defensible in my opinion, if the defending team chose to go early and the attacker inside was in point of fact retreating or not doing anything to affect the free kick.

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Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Luis
He might be benefitting from his position yet he has not committed any offence.
The LotG tells us that ** If an opponent who is in the penalty area when the goal kick is taken, or enters the penalty area before the ball is in play, touches or challenges for the ball before it has touched another player, the goal kick is retaken.** Same applies to a feee kick.
In your example the ball has been touched by another player legally outside the penalty area so the ball is in play and play continues.
There can also be the potential here for offside as the player inside the penalty area is ahead of the ball and I assume the 2nd last opponent. So there has to be movement of the ball or opponents to put the scorer back in an onside position?
Generally on a quick goal kick the defending team weighs up the options / benefits of putting the ball in play with opponents still inside the penalty area. If the ball is intercepted by an oppponent outside the penalty area the position of others players has to be accepted and we get on with play.
In reality once the ball comes out of the penalty area and is played by a player outside the area there will be no appeal for a retake as it will be viewed that the ball is in play. Indeed it will probably require an explanation for a retake if the player inside the penalty area at the time of the kick is the first to play the ball outside the penalty area. Very few will know that part of the Law. It rarely if ever happens and I personally have never seen it.

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Answer provided by Referee Peter Grove

Hi Luis,
While the referee could theoretically have stopped play immediately after the goal kick was taken and had it retaken because there was an opponent inside the penalty area, that doesn't normally happen unless (as the law says) the player actually touches the ball or challenges for it before any other player has touched it. However, seeing as the referee didn't stop play earlier on (so that opportunity to intervene had already passed) then the law as it pertains to the later scenario you describe, only requires the kick to be retaken if the player carries out any of the mentioned actions before the ball has touched another player. As in this case another player has already touched the ball, there is no offence as far as I am concerned.

Incidentally, as ref Dawson points out, the player is not 'gaining an advantage' in terms of law since this phrase only applies to offside offences.

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