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Soccer Rules Changes 1580-2000

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Question Number: 33244

Law 13 - Free Kicks 4/14/2019

RE: Under 14

paul of albuquerque, nm usa asks...

On a free kick (in this case it was offside), kick taker doesn't ask for 10 yards. Defender stands about 5-6 yards away (so not close enough to tell the defender to back up) and when the attacker kicks the ball, defender stays at the same distance but reaches his leg out sideways to block the ball going past him. I gave the defender a caution for FRD and of course players got upset because I didn't say anything about needing 10 yards and I had the attacker rekick.

It's my understanding that while obviously a team doesn't need to ask for 10 yards, if a defender is clearly within the range and does something like my situation, you still issue a caution even if you didn't have to mark off the 10 yards. Am i incorrect

Answer provided by Referee Peter Grove

Hi Paul,
I'm not sure where this myth about the kick taker having to ask for the 10 yards, came from. There is no requirement for them to do this. The opponents on the other hand absolutely have the responsibility to retire the required distance. I also don't agree that being 5-6 yards away is not close enough to tell the defender to back up. Any time an opponent is not the full ten yards away, the referee has the authority (and I would argue, the duty) to enforce the law. Now, if the opponent has not had enough time to retreat the full distance before a quick free kick is taken, but is trying to do so, the referee need not intervene but if (as in this case) they are not even trying to respect the distance, I would definitely be telling them to do so.

Firstly, it is the right thing to do and secondly (as you have discovered) it will make it easier to 'sell' the caution if you end up having to give it.

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Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Paul
Always a tricky one
The Laws tell us that if a player takes a free kick quickly and an opponent who is less than 10 yds from the ball intercepts it, the referee allows play to continue. However, an opponent who deliberately prevents a free kick being taken quickly must be cautioned for delaying the restart of play.
The decision then is to determine what is an interception or not. I would say sideways reaching out a leg can be an interception particularly if the player was already backing up. Each situation will be different based on location on the field, location of players before and after the offence etc.
Have a look at this video
8.40 onwards covers interceptions.
Players do not need to request 10 yards at a free kick. Now unfortunately the ceremonial free kick has become omnipresent in the game. Most teams coach that a player positions themselves in front of the ball to prevent the quick free kick. Many times the kicking team do not want to take the kick quickly so the action is mute. However there is no need to request the 10 yards every time yet player believe that it is now part of the game. I always speak sternly with the players that have been instructed to stand in front of the ball to advise them that it is not their free kick and to move away and they must respect the 10 yards. In attacking situations I make it ceremonial unless the QFK has been taken.
Referees should also be mindful of aimless kicking of the ball by the attacking team at an opponent who just want to draw a caution on that opponent close to the ball.
Sometimes on the questionable ones of interception or interference I just go with a retake without the caution for FRD or DTROP

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