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Soccer Rules Changes 1580-2000

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Question Number: 33157

Law 13 - Free Kicks 3/18/2019

RE: Select High School

Richard Jones of RICHMOND, TX US asks...

Why did they make the rule that the ball has to leave the penalty area on a free kick or the kick has to be retaken?

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Richard
In the same way as for a goal kick and it has been that way for a very long time. Some thought that the rule only applied to goal kicks.
The principle behind it in my opinion was to clear players out of a congested area. The lawmakers knew that once players grouped in numbers in an area that it had the potential to cause problem for the game.
Somewhat the same on a throw in where the law tries to keep players a distance away from the throw.

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Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

Hi Richard,
it is not uncommon that many were unaware that WAS a restart condition within the LOTG prior as it was often missed in application. Now that they have REMOVED this restriction it does allow for a bit faster restart although I remind you the opposition players are mandated by LAW to withdraw outside the PA as well as a minimum of ten yards . They are permitted back inside ONLY once the ball is kicked into play. If I read the new version correctly they do not have to wait until the ball is completely outside

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Answer provided by Referee Peter Grove

Hi Richard,
Looking at the minutes of the IFAB meetings around the time this was introduced, it seems to me that the reason was to prevent the ball being passed directly to the goalkeeper who would then pick the ball up (there was no 'back-pass rule' at the time) and kick it downfield.

Prior to the introduction of this amendment in 1936, the ball did not have to leave the penalty area and opponents merely had to be ten yards away - same as a free kick. In that year, By an IFAB decision to law 7 (as then was) it was decreed that, ''It is not permissible for the goalkeeper to receive the ball into his hands from a goal kick by another player in order that he may thereafter kick it into play; the ball must be kicked direct from the goal area into play and if not kicked beyond the penalty area, the kick shall be retaken.''

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